Learning how to be self sufficient is an enjoyable experience and one that can save you loads of money and help the environment too.
Don’t try to do everything at once – start small and build up gradually so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
The good news is that self sufficiency can be practiced in a town or city as well as in the countryside. You don’t need hundreds of acres or a degree in solar paneling (although that would definitely help!). Neither do you need to live off the grid – everybody can start to change and enhance their lives for the better, no matter where they live.
Simple living is very wide in scope and I’ll add a few of my favourite resources at the bottom of this page to give you more food for thought.
However, to get you started, here are 10 easy tips for getting you started on the road to self sufficient living:
- Get some livestock. If you do have some land, a ewe or a few chickens can be an excellent resource. It’s fairly easy to make a chicken coop and the chickens won’t mind if your carpentry skills are less than perfect! You might not feel like you’re living off the land, but if you can become self sufficient in eggs, it’s a brilliant start!
- Grow your own fruit and vegetables. Fruit trees (plum, apple, cherry) are good if you haven’t much space for a vegetable garden. If you have a wall or garden fence, try growing raspberries up it. Think vertically!
- Do you own mending and sowing at home. Learn how to sew if you can’t do it (like me!).
- Make your own household products. Eco-friendly products are good but you can make your own cleaners with vinegar, lemon juice and salt, etc. Check online how to do this. Remember, you’ll save money and they’re going to be less harmful to the environment.
- Try scavenging for food. I have apple, pear and plum trees, but I know places within 20 minutes of my home where I can pick blackberries and other varieties of apples (growing wild, not in somebody’s garden!). Make jams and chutneys out of wild ingredients. Be careful if you pick mushrooms – you have to know which ones are safe and which are poisonous.
- Local barter or exchange systems. You can exchange services and goods with other people and you can do this in towns as well as in the countryside. My neighbour grows more fruit and veg than his family can consume, so he exchanges it for other goods.
- Sell homemade produce and products. Make jam, for example, and sell any surplus at a local farmers’ market or local store.
- Grow your own herbs. They are easy to grow and are great for folks who live in towns. What could be finer than fresh, organic herbs and they can be grown on a window ledge or balcony.
- Go hunting. Now this isn’t my thing as I’m a vegetarian! However, catching your own fish is going to be a better taste experience than getting frozen fish from the supermarket.
- Utilise your own skills. Try your hand at decking or car repair (talk to people who know how to do it). Develop your gardening skills (not just growing) by learning how to build/repair a retaining wall, paving, pathways, etc. Supplies are easy to obtain from DIY stores.
So, there are lots of things you can do to move one step nearer to living more simply.
Speaking of which…
Here’s a clip from the BBC’s classic comedy series, ‘The Good Life‘. Tom has quit his job and has decided that they should abandon the rat race and become self sufficient in Surbiton.
However, he has to convince his wife, Barbara!
Self Sufficiency Resources: