Guest Post: 5 Ways to Begin a More Self-Sufficient Lifestyle, Part One

[photo: Kendra's pear preserves...yum!]

~ Precious mamas, my family is off on an adventure this week, and the very talented Kendra from New Life On a Homestead has graciously agreed to share her thoughts with you here today.  This is Part One of "5 Ways to Begin a More Self-Sufficient Lifestyle."  Be sure to check back on Friday for Part Two.  I'll return next week and will share some exciting news! ~

The idea of learning to do more for your family and depend less on others to survive can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? Some people imagine the self-sufficient life to mean hauling water from a nearby creek in a bucket and using the bathroom outdoors. Doing more on your own doesn’t have to begin so dramatically (although, I think being prepared for off-grid living is a worthy goal!). Starting slowly is the best way to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed and burning out quickly.

Here are five easy ways anyone can begin living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and learn to survive without having to depend on others for the most basic necessities:

1.  FOOD

The most important thing you can ever learn is to do is to grow your own food. You don’t have to have a huge yard to have a garden, either. Container gardening can be just as productive, and even more productive, than a traditional garden plot in the yard.

If you are new to gardening, and a little intimidated by the idea, start off by purchasing a few of your favorite vegetable plants from a local nursery. Don’t go crazy and buy a bunch of stuff though; you don’t want to overwhelm yourself! Ask the nursery worker for advice on planting your seedlings at home, borrow a few gardening books from your library or look up info online, and get those beautiful veggies in some soil!


Another most basic necessity you’ll need to learn is how to harvest water. Even if you are on city water and don’t think you’ll ever need to worry about finding it for yourself, it’s an extremely important skill to have under your belt. You don’t have to use it every day, but knowing that if you had to, you could provide clean water for your family, will definitely be a comfort to you and your loved ones.

If you are on a private well, consider installing a hand pump on it, if you can afford to do so. Or, you can learn to make a small emergency well bucket, like this one, to have on hand, so that you can access your well water when power isn’t available.

Installing rain barrels is another important step toward self-sufficient living. Not only can you water your plants and animals with this precious resource, you could also wash your clothing, dishes, and filter it for drinking water, if you had to. If you’re planning on collecting water from either the rain or from a stream, you’ll need to filter it before it’s safe to drink. You can make a homemade Berkey style water filter for a fraction of the price of the real thing.


Learning to sew your own clothing is a huge step toward becoming more self-sufficient. Think of all of the money our culture spends on fashion! If you could learn to make simple clothing items for you and your children, what a blessing that knowledge would be to have. If you are new to sewing, start off small by learning to hem, mend, and attach buttons.

...to be continued in Part Two this Friday!  Be sure to subscribe for free email updates of new posts so you don't miss it!

Kendra is a full time, homeschooling stay-at-home mom to three little ones, with a fourth on the way! Her and her husband moved to the country two years ago and have been working hard at learning how to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

You can follow the ups and downs of their journey at New Life On A Homestead.


 {also shared at Simple Lives ThursdayRaising Homemakers and WFMW}
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  1. We are on a private well, and I really liked the idea of installing a hand pump, thank you so much for this helpful article!!!

  2. I'm reading a book (of course I can't remember the exact title as I type this) about being completely self-sufficient off of 1/4 acre of land. It's basically "mini-farming" and it's wonderful! It really helps break things down so you don't feel so overwhelmed with the thought of having to become a farmer with a lot of land just to be self-sufficient. Thanks for the tips, Jaime! I look forward to reading part two!
    Love Ya!

  3. I'm slowly going off grid for me and my family! Thanks so much for this enlightening post. I will have to look into a berkey system for rain barrels.

  4. @Valencia,

    I've posted a how-to on my site for making your own homemade Berkey water filter. Check it out:



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