The term self-sufficiency is usually applied to varieties of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed outside of what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals. Without going all "creepy hermit in the woods" on you, becoming more self-sufficient is a great way to be environmentally friendly as well as provide a healthy lifestyle for your family. Below are 10 easy steps to becoming more self-sufficient (without earning you "hermit" status).
1. Start a garden
Gardening can be a very easy way to become more self-sufficient. You can start out small with potted herbs on a window sill or tomatoes in a larger container on the back step. Any bit of food that you can grow for yourself means that it is one less item that you are depending on big commericial farms for. Not to mention the fact that you’ll know exactly what you put on your plants and on your table.
2. Buy used
Yes you are still buying but this way you are buying items that would otherwise end up sitting in a landfill. You are reducing your impact on the environment and reducing your dependence on new products and those pesky chain stores that sell them. Buying used is also going to allow you to save money.
3. Get out of debt
Owing someone (the credit card companies) something is never fun. It ties you to that company and makes it difficult to really be on your own. Try to get out of debt and stay out of debt, saving up for bigger purchases and re-evaluating what you really need.
4. Learn to sew / knit / crochet
Go ahead and cross this one off your list! Seriously though being able to make and or repair your own clothes is super handy. You won't have to pay someone to do it for you and you can even use it to earn money (like we do at Etsy)
5. Line dry your clothes
One less appliance running means a lower electric bill and that is always a good thing. Also, line drying your clothes gives them that warm, sunshiney smell that doesn't hold a candle to dryer sheets (at least in my opinion)
6. Explore alternative energy
Currently, my husband and I are heating our home with a wood stove. While i love the sound of a wood fire crackling I loved it even more when I heard how much our friends were paying for heating oil. Its great to know that as long as we are responsibly harvesting our fire wood, we will always have a warm house.
7. Learn to "put up" fruits and vegetables
Learning to can, dehydrate or freeze fruits and vegetables while they are in season is fun and inexpensive. When you are preserving your own foods, you know what you are putting in it (and what you are leaving out) which is a great way to keep your family full of healthy meals.
8. Ride a bike
Bikes are people powered and cars are not. Biking is a great form of exercise and lets you cut down on the amount of gas you are using / having to pay for.
9. Use public transportation
If biking isn't for you (or even if it is) use public transportation when you can. If we are all going to the same place, why do we all have to drive ourselves?
10. Keep learning
There are sooo many ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment and take care of your family. There are a ton of great blogs and books out there and remember every little step helps!
~Written by Kailyn Shippee, owner and crafter of Spotty Dog Crochet