12 Modern Home Ideas for Self-Sustainability

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Homesteading as a term can be derived from the Homestead Act of 1862, where eligible adults who had not taken up arms against the United States could claim 160 acres of government land to live and improve for at least 5 years. Home ownership today signifies a self-sufficient, “back to the land” lifestyle that emphasizes sustainability and self-reliance.

Some homeowners are even embracing off-grid living, growing their own food, harvesting their own water and relying on renewable energy to minimize their carbon footprint. Whether you’re ready to take the plunge into the homeowner lifestyle or want to add some sustainable experiences and independence to your life, these homesteading trends and ideas can help anyone become a little more self-sufficient.

RELATED: 8 Top Essentials for Living Off the Grid

1. Grow a garden.

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Many homeowners have at least a small garden, and you don’t necessarily need a lot of space to grow your own food. Prefer a raised bed or raised bed and choose a sunny spot. After that, the homeowner can amend the soil as needed, select the household’s favorite fruits and vegetables, and follow appropriate guidelines for spacing, water, and fertilizer.

If you have more space and a greener thumb, consider adding fruit trees to your yard. The key is to choose varieties that are suitable for your hardiness zone. Add perennials like berry bushes, asparagus, strawberries, grapes and herbs to round out your home-grown food availability.

2. You can.

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If the garden is abundant, part of it can survive the winter. Water bath canning is a simple method best used for acidic foods such as tomatoes. It also works well for making pickles and jams and salsas.

Pressure canning is better for low acid foods because the water bath method cannot achieve the 240 degree Fahrenheit internal temperature needed to kill bacteria. This method requires a pressure canner.

3. Make compost.

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Composting is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of yard waste and kitchen scraps, and it will enrich the soil with beneficial microorganisms that break down organic material that aerates and feeds plants. It’s a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, and composting also diverts waste from landfills.

When making compost, it’s important to balance carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. It is equally important to avoid perennial weeds, toxic substances, meat and bones, pet manure, and any material containing pesticides.

4. Bake bread.

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Bread is the basis of life and as everyone knows, there is nothing better than the aroma and taste of freshly baked bread. So why not cook at home? It’s not as difficult as it sounds, and (with a little practice) homeowners can mix it up by adding home-grown herbs or other ingredients for a rich flavor.

The kitchen may already be stocked with many of the necessary ingredients and equipment, such as flour, yeast, salt, water, and baking pans. Some breads require eggs, milk or butter. Time is also an important element, as the dough needs to sit a bit as it rises.

5. Living with cattle.

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Adding animals to your household can be as simple as raising a few chickens to handle larger livestock such as cattle, pigs, sheep, goats or alpacas. Regardless of which animals you choose, be sure to thoroughly research their proper care, feed, and housing needs.

Chickens are very popular because they are easy to raise. In addition to laying tasty eggs, chickens are voracious insect eaters. Chickens are relatively easy to care for as long as they get the right food and a safe, dry nest. Chicken coops can be small or large, or even mobile, but should include a covered run, night perches, nesting boxes where hens can lay eggs, and protection from predators. In the spirit of homesteading, there is also the option of building your own chicken coop for a custom addition to your yard.

RELATED: The Best Nesting Boxes for Your Chicken Coop

6. What to build?

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Pick up a needle and thread to learn how to cover socks, sew buttons and mend torn clothes, or be more adventurous and start making your own clothes. If you don’t want to use stored electricity, you can still find an old sewing machine or sew by hand.

Weaving and crocheting are other ways to produce useful items such as clothes and blankets. Those who raise sheep or alpacas at home will have their own supplies. It has to be hemmed, washed, combed and twisted before picking up knitting needles or hooks, but making your own clothing can be rewarding and satisfying.

7. Make a clean commitment.

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Making your own cleaning supplies can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. A few ingredients are common household items like white vinegar, salt, lemon, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and borax. You can also add essential oils to some mixtures for a pleasant aroma.

Be sure to follow the prescribed recipes. Some household chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia, are dangerous when combined. Also, make sure the ingredients you choose are safe for pets and humans.

8. Don’t forget to recycle.

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Part of the mantra of home ownership is to leave a smaller (negative) impact on the land. So recycling is an important part of this lifestyle. From do-it-yourself clothes to composting, repurposing old appliances, recycling and recycling double as economical and eco-friendly aspects of housekeeping.

Recycling can involve using found objects such as stones and twigs in practical and useful ways. Strong branches can be turned into a chicken coop, for example. Stones can make flower beds or walkways.

RELATED: Land Homes: Are They The Next Big Sustainable Housing Trend?

9. Careful bee.

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Bees are vital to our survival, but bee colonies are being destroyed by habitat loss and pesticides. You can support bees by taking care of the hives. This requires the purchase of supplies and protective equipment, as well as the acquisition of knowledge of beekeeping. However, many home owners find beekeeping a fun hobby, with the added benefit of collecting honey regularly.

If you’re not ready to become a beekeeper at home, you can at least plant a pollinator garden to attract bees and other beneficial insects. This will also help the garden produce more fruits and vegetables.

10. Develop carpentry skills.

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Whether you’re just repairing things or building new structures, it’s a good idea to learn some basic carpentry skills, and even better, you can also master the basics of plumbing or mechanical repair. Remember the old saying: measure twice, cut once.

Be sure to pack some essential tools such as hammer, nails and screws, screwdrivers, saw, pliers, drill wrenches, tape measure, level, files, clamps, vise, square, safety glasses.

11. Weave the net.

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Networking provides more than companionship and advice. It is a good source of labor for large jobs. An extra set of hands comes in handy if you’re building a chicken coop. Maybe you need someone to look after your garden while you travel.

Networking can also provide a customer base for exchanging goods and services. If you’ve grown a lot of cucumbers and want to trade in some pole beans, or if you’re good at carpentry but not sewing, look for people with the skills you need; both parties can benefit from the barter.

12. Go off the grid.

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Cutting the (electrical) cord may seem like a daunting task, but some places are making living off the grid easier. In general, warmer climates are more conducive to living without electricity, but solar panels and wind turbines make it possible almost everywhere. Of course, you’ll need an energy storage system because the wind isn’t always blowing and the sun isn’t always shining when you need energy.

Remember that you will need to dig a well and a septic tank, and you will probably need a water collection system. However, you may find the freedom of complete hosting to be worth the effort.

RELATED: Best Home Wind Turbines

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