If you are old enough, when you think of being self-sufficient, your thoughts might turn to “The Good Life” or other old-fashioned shows which focus on families growing their own fruit and veg and taking care of their own needs at home.
At some point, our lifestyles began to change. We started to value convenience above self-sufficiency. We were happy to pay more for convenience, and skills, like sewing our socks and growing our own vegetables, were lost.
However, things are changing. As we attempt to fight the growing threat of climate change and reduce the worrying amount of plastic in our oceans, our thoughts turn to the processes of old. We wonder how our own home routines could help, and we start to think more about doing things for ourselves.
Why You Should Become Self-Sufficient
There are many reasons to consider becoming more self-sufficient. These include:
- Saving Money. Many of the things that you can do to be self-sufficient will also save you money. You’ll reduce how often you need to buy new things, and growing is significantly cheaper than buying. Even making a few of the changes that we’ll look at below could save you a tremendous amount of money over the course of a year.
- Good for the planet. One of the best reasons to think about growing more produce and making other changes at home is that you’ll use less power, and throw away less. If every household made some of these changes, it could have a very noticeable effect on global warming.
- Learn new skills. Learning new skills is always a good idea. It keeps your mind young, helps you to stay alert, and gives you interesting new topics to talk about. Some elements of being more self-sufficient are simple, but others will require some thought, and you may have to spend time learning skills, or refreshing those that you may already have.
- It’ll be easier to stay at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all that we never know what is coming. Before this period, we all assumed that we could go where we wanted when we wanted. Then, suddenly people all over the world were being asked to stay at home. This is much easier when your home is capable of providing you with everything that you need to live happily and comfortably.
As we can see, the advantages are clear. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways to do it.
Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food is fantastic. It saves you money, it means that you always have fresh fruit and veg and that you are more likely to eat a healthier diet, and if we’re being honest, food usually tastes better when it comes from our own garden.
What you can grow might depend on the size of your garden, and how much sun it gets. But, even with a very small space, you might be able to grow your own herbs, as well as smaller produce such as tomatoes and strawberries.
Tap water is an expense, and it may not always be available. If you live in a remote area, access may be temperamental. Installing plastic water tanks in your garden, or at your workplace, can mean that you’ve always got access to a good water supply when you need it.
Learn to Sew
We live in such a disposable culture. If there’s a hole in our socks, we throw them away. This might also be true of much more expensive garments. Learn to sew, and start repairing your clothes, and you’ll buy far less. In time, as your skills develop, you might even want to start making your own clothes.
One of the easiest ways to be more self-sufficient is to be more mindful when you shop. Ask yourself if you need to buy things, and if you do, if there is a reusable or longer-lasting version.
Compost Your Waste
Having a composter in your garden gives you somewhere to keep food waste without relying on refuse collection. It means that you don’t have to rely on fertilisers or harmful chemicals to keep your garden healthy.
Avoid Any Food Waste
Composting is an excellent solution for waste, but avoiding food waste is even better. You can do this by freezing food, creating meal plans and shopping lists and by looking at other ways to preserve unused food.
Learn to Cook
Being able to cook from scratch means that you don’t have to rely on store-bought ready meals or processed foods. It means that even if your cupboards are running low, you can create a simple meal using what you have grown in your garden. If you’ve never cooked before, start with basic recipes and go from there.
If you’ve got space in your garden, raising chickens means that you always have fresh eggs and that you don’t need to buy them. You will, of course, also have meat if you want it. If you’ve got more outdoor space, consider raising other animals for food.
Have Fun Foraging
Foraging is a great way to find berries and edible plants and leaves. It can also be great fun. Go berry picking with your children and make gorgeous homemade pies and crumbles. Explore your local area, and start looking further afield for more.
Do It Yourself
Instead of calling someone in every time something needs doing around your home, have a go yourself. Learn some basic DIY skills, and try to get stuck in where you can. But, don’t take any risks. If you aren’t sure or think that you may hurt yourself or damage your home, get help.
Live Within Your Means
Debt is the very opposite of self-sufficiency. Make paying yours off a priority, and learn to live within your means.
Remember, every little helps. No one would expect you to implement all of these changes on day one. But, making some small changes to your lifestyle, and adding to them bit by bit, could be enormously beneficial.
This is a collaborative post.