Self Sufficiency: finding your homesteading tool box

 

Our homesteading tool box has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Not relying on outside services and sources for your day to day living requires a really good look at where you are and where you’d like to be. One must be very resourceful with what they have and what they can produce themselves. Going through what you have already can be a huge task involving not just the things you’ll need but self sufficiency skills you’ll need as well. You must also consider your abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Since we started our journey away from a house in the city to a small chunk of raw land in a rural setting I have had to examine nearly everything in my life. Moving from a house, to an apartment, to an RV has had me looking through a sea of boxes each time. And each time, weeding through a bit more. The sea is getting smaller! As I learn a self sufficiency skill or obtain a tool I know we’ll need, I toss more “stuff” that is no longer useful at the level at which it was obtained. Concepts of “need -vs- want” don’t even cover the kinds of thinking that I have had to employ. I’ve had to include a kind of in between stage of “I might need.” Now you might feel this is an excuse for not getting rid of things that have been held onto for no immediate or apparent reason. But as a future homesteader, I tend to hold onto anything that might be useful in ways I haven’t had need for “yet.” That “might need” category is the place from which I grow my homesteading tool box. For example: Keeping in mind the kinds of skills and tools you may need in the future, suddenly that book on canning that you’ve had for over 10 years but never really used suddenly becomes a keeper!

We recently determined that in order to tighten our budget we needed to eliminate the storage unit that we got when we went from apartment to RV. As homesteading is our goal, even though we are a few years off from the “big move,” I have the “might need” filter on when I go through the things in storage. One needs to have an understanding of what their plan is, what they have and know, and what they need to obtain in terms of skills and tools in order to reach the goal of total self sufficiency.

For example; I know how to garden but I don’t fully know how to preserve what I grow. I’ve canned only a couple of times in very small batches and have dehydrated some simple things like fruit leather and banana chips when the kids were young. So I’ll be selling or donating most of my beginners gardening books and keeping only the more advanced ones that might cover something like pruning (I’ve never had fruit trees or vine crops), or pest control (as this can change from year to year or in different areas), and definitely keeping books on preserving the harvest through canning, dehydrating, etc. Until of course I feel i have mastered the material. Once you master a skill you no longer need that reference. When homeschooling my children I learned that a child has mastered a topic when they can teach it to others. (Like when my son could show his younger sister how to add and subtract, I knew he was ready to move on to multiplication.) So this is the method I use to understand my level of mastery when learning something new.

I encourage those looking to be more self sufficient, to take a good look at your “homesteading toolbox” of skills as well as your actual tools. Hold them up against your personal view of your life when you reach your goal. Will you garden, raise animals, build green structures? Will you barter your skills for ones you don’t wish to learn? What are your strengths and where might you need help. Community plays a vital role in homesteading as we age. Who can you trade skills with? Everyone’s journey will look different. What’s in your homesteading tool box?

This site will be where I share where we are on our journey, things we’ve learned, tools we’ve tried, and thoughts along the path. Homesteading while living with a disability can be a challenge, but it’s all in your approach. Don’t give up the dream, be creative. Come back often to see what we’re doing, learn who we are as we share our personal thoughts on a wide range of topics, and share, encourage and support each other on the journey to being more self sufficient.

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