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People tend to think that because they live in the city they can’t homestead or embrace the homesteading lifestyle. I am here to tell you that if you really want to, you can. We lived in an apartment for a year and we dehydrated food, made wine, shopped at the farmer’s market, foraged for wild blackberries, and had planter boxes on our balcony. We tried a small aquaponics system, but we didn’t have the extra money to really invest and make it work properly. While we embraced the lifestyle a little bit, we definitely could have tried more of these options.
1. Learn to live with less.
This is one of the ways that minimalism, homesteading, and zero waste all tie in together. Saving money and learning to use what you have is a piece of all three lifestyles. It is best to shop with intention. When grocery shopping, make sure to have a meal plan and a list. If you need a clothing item first check your closet, then the thrift store before purchasing new. You only purchase what you need. The less time you can spend in stores, the less money you can spend on unnecessary items.
2. Declutter your belongings.
Again, this ties in with minimalism and zero waste. Do you have a lot of clutter around your apartment? Are there items you could sell or donate? Getting rid of a piece of unnecessary furniture may open up room for growing plants.
3. Start a garden.
Even in an apartment it is possible to have a garden. You can grow veggies in pots on your balcony or patio. In our apartment we had hanging planter boxes off of our patio. I could have put herbs, but I planted flowers for fun. If your apartment gets enough sunlight you could even have your herb garden indoors. Microgreens and sprouts are super easy to start and are perfect for salads, sandwiches, and stir frys.
4. Give “alternative” gardening a try.
Have you ever been out riding around and saw a “You pick” sign? Next time stop and see what they have. Some people require you to purchase what you pick and others are just trying not to waste a crop. Foraging for food in the wild is an option, but PLEASE do extensive research and if there is something you just aren’t sure about, don’t eat it. You can also check your area for a community garden. You may have to help out a little bit, but it’s a great way to get fresh vegetables.
5. Shop at the farmer’s market.
If gardening truly isn’t an option for you, you can purchase locally grown fruits and veggies at the farmer’s market. You can sometimes find homemade bread, soaps, and sweets as well.
6. Cook from scratch.
Cooking from scratch is a vital role in the homestead. You are using all of those veggies you’ve purchased at the farmer’s market (or grew yourself) and you are getting a healthier diet.
7. Bake your own bread.
Baking your own bread can be very easy. If you use one loaf a week, you could choose one day of the month to make your dough and then freeze it, or bake the loaves and then freeze them.
8. Preserve your own food.
Whether it’s canning, freezing, dehydrating, curing meat, fermentation, or brewing you can preserve the fresh fruits and veggies you get from the farmer’s market (or grew yourself) to eat or drink at a later time. There are TONS of options with food preservation, and it is most definitely important to homesteading.
9. Be conscious of waste.
Part of being a homesteader is not wanting to waste time, money, resources, energy, etc. Can you take shorter showers? Wash clothes less? Can you hang your clothes to dry with an indoor clothes line or on the balcony? Stay home and eat leftovers to avoid food waste and spending money? These are just a few ways to be conscious of waste.
10. Learn to sew.
Hand sewing is a simple task to learn and it can be very helpful. You could repair your damaged clothes instead of throwing them away and buying new ones.
11. Make your own cleaners.
By making your own cleaners you have control over what chemicals are brought into your home. Not to mention, when you run out you can make more. Most homemade cleaners include the same ingredients.
Believe it or not, composting is possible in an apartment. There are indoor composters you can purchase or you can make your own. You could ask friends if they have a compost that you can dump your scraps in once a week or so. The compost can be used for your house plants, vegetables, or you could give it to a friend who has a garden.
For things that can’t be composted, try to recycle. Recycling isn’t always the best option, but it’s better than throwing it in the landfill.
14. Barter, trade, or borrow.
If there is an item that you need for a task ask yourself, “Is this for one project? Will I ever use this again? Is there anyone I might be able to borrow this from? Could I rent this?” Bartering and trading are great ways to get what you need without spending much money, and borrowing is even better.
15. Make what you can.
Instead of buying soap from the store or even the farmer’s market try making a batch yourself. You could make your own deodorant, lotion, or lip balm as well. Try making yogurt from milk instead of buying the little cups or try to make your own cheese. One quick internet search can bring up plenty of things to make yourself at home.