Homesteading isn’t about owning land–it’s a way of life. It’s a mentality–a commitment to doing things the all-natural way, the wholesome way, the integrated way. It’s the hard way, but it’s also the beautiful way.
There are so many homesteading skills that anyone can pick up–whether you live in the city, the suburbs, a small town, or out in the country. Learn to make things, mend things, grow things, preserve things, clean things, and follow the rhythms of nature in all aspects of your life.
- Learn to Can
- Learn How to Sew a Button
It’s all about baby steps. If sewing a quilt jacket intimidates you, start by learning how to sew a button. With just a few tools, you’ll be on your way to sewing like a pro.
- Start a Garden
After the initial work of learning how to build raised beds and how to plant starter plants, maintaining a garden just requires a little water and a little love each day. Start with some easy herbs, and you’ll be harvesting a feast in no time.
- How to Ferment Foods
Fermenting foods is a wonderful homesteading skill to master, as it helps preserve lots of garden leftovers, has health benefits, and tastes delicious. Think: kimchee, kombucha, and homemade tempeh.
- How to Make Homemade Jam
If you’re a sucker for apple butter, huckleberry jam, or even a traditional strawberry jam, stop paying big bucks for the good stuff, and learn to make your own.
- How to Knit
Embrace your inner-elderly granny, and learn how to knit. It’s as easy as picking up some needles, some yarn, and starting on a knitting pattern.
- Grow Seedlings
There is something magical and enchanting about growing your own sprouts. Wendell said it best:
“I became a sort of garden fanatic, and I am not over it yet. You can take a few seed peas, dry and dead, and sow them in a little furrow, and they will sprout into a row of pea vines and bear more peas—it may not be a miracle, but that is a matter of opinion.”
—Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry
- How to Cut Vegetables
This was my new year’s resolution when I graduated from college. My chopping skills were a bit of an embarassment. I can truthfully say, learning how to cut vegetables properly changed my kitchen life!
- How to Make Natural Dyes
My sister is a handwork teacher at a Waldorf school, and introduced me to the beauty of natural dying. Whether it’s flowers, invertebrates, or minerals, learning how to make natural dyes will change your view of the natural world.
- How to Make Shampoo
Learning to make shampoo from apple cider vinegar or castile soap, or even trying the no-poo method is a great way to reduce waste and consumption and to find a more natural routine for your life.
- How to Make Conditioner
Learning how to make homemade conditioner isn’t as scary as it sounds. With a little coconut milk and jojoba oil, you can cut the toxins out of your hair-care routine and restore your hair to natural oil production and shine.
- Learn to Journal
No matter who you are or where you are in life, take up journaling to find better balance, peace, and gratitude. Journal about events, journal about emotions and thoughts–grievances, struggles, victories, and dreams.
- How to Work with Wood
Homesteading isn’t for the faint of heart. Woodworking is a timeless skill needed in a number of ways when you’re homesteading.
- How to Collect Rainwater
Collecting rainwater is a lost art. Plus, all you need is. . . a bucket? Easy!
- Build a Zero-Waste Kitchen
Cutting back on wasteful, packaged foods is a great way to learn homesteading skills. Invest in refillable jars for food staples and spices and support a local bulk store for any ingredients you can’t grow or forage yourself. Building a zero waste kitchen is ingenious!
- Learn to Bake a Pie from Scratch
Pies have become hard to come by, except for Thanksgiving time. Embrace the cottage core lifestyle and learn to make beautiful pies from scratch.
- Take Up Needlework
Needlework is an amazing way to be slow and mindful and to practice self-care. Make a piece of art for your wall or a gorgeous accent pillow.
- Learn How to Support Local Agriculture
Homesteading isn’t done in isolation. Visit farmers markets and get a CSA subscription to stock your fridge with quality, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
- How to Cook from Scratch with No recipe
There might be no other homesteading skill more important than this one–learning to cook from scratch without a recipe. If you can put the hours in the kitchen learning to cook the basics and what herbs and seasonings pair well together, you’ll be able to whip up something delicious on the spot.
- Learn to Sew a Dress
What’s a better use of your time than learning how to sew a dress? You don’t need an acreage to learn homesteading skills like sewing. Get started with easy patterns, and work your way to making your own patterns.
- Learn to Use Cast Iron
Many everyday household items are made from cheap materials that don’t hold up over time. Swapping out budget pots and pans for cast iron will likely save you money over time, as these durable dishes will last a lifetime.
- How to Take Care of Clothes
Learning homesteading skills is all about learning better, more sustainable ways to do everyday things–like washing clothes. Learn how to take care of your clothes by hand-washing and cleaning them.
- How to Make Your Own Makeup
Stop buying junky-makeup and learn to make natural makeup from plant materials that won’t bring any toxins into your routine.
- How to Make Detergent
All you need is a little borax and baking soda to make your own detergent. With this swap, you’ll never go back to the diluted, store-bought stuff.
- Make Reading a Part of Your Routine
A lesser-emphasized skillset modern homesteaders should master is enjoying screen-free leisure time. Picking up cross-stitch, gardening, and even reading, are simple ways to live a slower-paced, reflective lifestyle. Plus, learning homesteading skills means you won’t be short on material to read.
- Make Hard Cider
Hard cider is a delicious treat, especially as the crisp fall weather begins to set in. Go apple-picking and make this fun fall beverage.
- How to Dry Herbs
Preserve herbs by drying them, whether grown in your garden, your hydroponic stand, or purchased from a quality source.
- Make Cheese
Fermenting foods is an artform and a homesteading skill that anyone can practice, with a little research and patience. Making cheese, either dairy or nut-based, is a fun hobby to take up, even in an apartment in the city.
- How to Save Seeds
It’s easy to go through the harvest season without storing any seeds for future use. Make sure to pause in all of the busyness and save seeds
- Learn to Darn Socks
Don’t toss away tattered socks, learn to darn holes and mend them. Stitching holes is also a fun way to add character to a beloved pair of socks.
- How to Grow Fruit Trees
Learn how to grow fruit trees–even miniature fruit trees can grow in containers on a patio garden.
- Make Bone Broth
Chicken noodle soup is a popular dish for sick folks for a reason! One of the healthiest dishes to cook up from scratch is a healing bone broth.
- Learn to Thrift
Well, this is a fun one. If you haven’t yet discovered the magic of thrifting, go ahead and make a habit of it. Look for fabrics to sew, cast iron pots and pans, and jars to can.
- Learn to Forage Medicinal Plants
Learn the basics of foraging medicinal plants–like elderberry, so you can make homemade elderberry syrup to keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
- Learn to Milk Goats and Cows
For the hardcore homesteader, learn to milk dairy cows and goats. It’s a rewarding process that’ll give you plenty of milk to share with others. Remember: it’s a big commitment, so don’t get started until you’re ready for the long haul.
- Learn to Make Wool
This is a special homesteading skill. Use a hand spinner to make your own wool.
- How to Make Cleaning Spray
A little vinegar and essential oils, and you can disinfect your surfaces with a homemade cleaning spray.
- How to Mend Clothes
Whether it’s sewing buttons or patches, or hemming dresses and flare pants, being your own tailor will save you tons of money, and definitely earn you the title: modern homesteader.
- Learn to Attract Pollinators
When planting a garden, think about the pollinators you want to attract. Planting lavender and calendula are great places to start.
- How to Make Candles
A fun homesteading skill you can master right now is how to make candles from soy and beeswax. These beauties are a great way to fill your home with natural fragrance and a great gift for others.
- How to Make Essential Oils
Although there are lots of great places to buy high-quality essential oils, learning how to make them yourself is a fun skill to develop.
- How to Deliver a Baby
We admit it, this is an ambitious one! However, there is a worldwide shortage in doulas. So whether re-evaluating your career and becoming a midwife, or taking the courses and becoming a doula, there are few skills as rewarding as this one.
- Make Yogurt
There are lots of great products out there for modern homesteaders to make their own yogurt. Once you get in the habit, it’s easy to stock up your fridge for a little probiotic yogurt each day.
- How to Make Money
Once again, some homesteading skills are a bit under-rated. Being able to sell your own product or work a freelance gig on the side is an important part of modern homesteading.
- Learn to Fish, Clean, Fillet, and Cook
Yup! Fishing with the intent to clean, filet, and cook yourself a meal is a marvelous way to grow in homesteading skills. Remember to research your local and state ordinances before taking up fishing.
- How to Make Soap
Another easy hobby to take up is soap-making. There are a number of ingredients to experiment with. Plus, these little gems make darling gifts.
- Learn Leatherworking
Embrace your inner leathersmith and make your own leather goods–wallets, jewelry, and journals.
- Learn to Line Dry Laundry
Once you’ve learned how to wash clothes in a way that takes good care of them, hang dry your laundry. It’ll help the longevity of your clothes.
- How to Harvest Plants Properly
Making sure to harvest things like lettuce and lavender so that the plant itself can continue to produce is an essential skill for anyone getting into gardening.
- How to Use a Sewing Machine
Bite the bullet and learn to sew with a sewing machine. It’s a pain to pickup, but once you learn it, you’ll be ready to sew household staples, clothes, and gifts.
- Learn Card Games
A homesteading skill that shouldn’t be neglected is learning to enjoy screen-free time with others. Playing card games, like gin rummy or X are great ways to get started.
- How to Make Vinegars
Learning to create your own pantry staples is an invaluable skill, and open to anyone living anywhere. Start with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar, than learn to make balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar.
- How to Clean and Dress a Wound
Although I am personally not a fan of this homesteading skill, basic first aid training is essential for life on land.
- How to Quilt
Akin to sewing, quilting is a fun domestic art to figure out and gift to those in your life.
- How to Dehydrate Foods
When preserving a garden harvest, it’s good to ferment some foods, freeze some foods, and even dehydrate foods. Kale chips are just the beginning, folks.
- Cut Up a Whole Chicken and Roast It
Maybe you grew up in a home where this was a very normal skill. However, many people are only familiar with cooking pre-cut pieces of meat. Go to a local butcher, and learn to work with the whole chicken.
- How to Crochet
Crocheting is a similar hobby to knitting. However, with just one hook, crochet is a bit easier to pick up.
- Learn to Play an Instrument
Once again, learning to fill leisure time with meaningful hobbies is an important step for a modern homesteader to take. Learn the piano, the guitar, or the banjo–and fill your free time with practice.
- Learn to Build Raised Beds
- Go Berry Picking
Who doesn’t love berry picking? Make it a goal to support all of the berry farms in your area: blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and even huckleberry.
- Learn to Press Flowers
This hardly feels like a skill to learn. Simply make time for flower-picking and pressing.
- How to Tie Knots
Tying knots is an essential skill for any modern homesteader.
- Take Up Scrapbooking
Save photos, flowers, leaves, recipes, and meaningful tickets and stubs in an artful scrapbook. Take notes, and take physical notes that will last forever in a memory book.
- Adopt a Kitten
Who needs a barn for a barn cat? Adopt an adorable kitten, even if you live in the city.
- How to Weld
For an advanced homesteading skill, learn to work with metal and take a welding class. This skill will definitely come in handy!
- How to Start a Farmer’s Market Business
For a fun side hustle, start a booth at the farmers market. Sell a product–like canned salsa, jams, balms, and lotion.
- Watch Weather Patterns and Thunderstorms
Becoming a meteorologist is a great way to get more in touch with nature. Start by following the temperature, then try storm chasing!
- Learn Forecasting
Get a simple home weather station and begin to learn to predict the weather based on your calculations.
- How to Change Your Own Oil
Homesteading is all about becoming more self-reliant. Learning to take care of your car and even change your own oil is a big step in that direction.
- How to Start a Fire
Learning basic survival skills is essential as a homesteader, even if you’ll never use them. Learn to start a fire from natural materials, either in a fireplace or at a campfire site.
- Learn to Make Pasta
We take so many processed foods for granted, like pasta. Try making your own pasta from dough and cutting your noodles yourself.
- Take Picnics
Gather up all of your homemade goodies and go on a solo picnic, or host a picnic at a pretty spot and invite all of your friends.
- Pick Your Own Flowers
Although you can always support a local florist, picking your own wildflowers or trimming roses from your garden to make bouquets for your home and as gifts to others is great homesteading skill.
- Learn the Basics of Fixing Household Things
Squeaky door? Broken drawer handle? Learn to repair things yourself. The best way to get more handy is through practice.
- Learn to Re-Grow Food from Scraps
Remember: no natural material is simply “waste.” If you don’t need all of your food scraps for compost, try growing lettuce, onion, and other food from scraps.
- Take Up Cloud-Gazing
Homesteading is all about slowing down and getting in touch with the natural world. Take up cloud-gazing and keep a journal of what you see.
- Build a Swing
This one might not be the most feasible if you live in an apartment, but if you have the space, build a swing from rope and a tire or a wooden plank.
- How to Make Sourdough
What better way to embrace your inner pioneer woman than learning to bake your own bread? Start with a simple sourdough starter.
- How to Compost
All you need is a bucket to get started on composting. Set aside food waste and donate it to a local compost site, or build your own compost for your garden.
- Sew Your Own Reusable Items
Whether it’s reusable coffee filters or cloth napkins and paper towels, learning to sew reusable items is usually a pretty easy way to learn to sew.
- Learn How to Pull Weeds
Although it’s a pain, to maintain a healthy garden, learn to pull weeds up from the root.
- How to Grow Hydroponics
Learn to grow hydroponics so you can have an herb-tossed salad all year round.
- How to Churn Butter
Embrace your inner prairie woman and learn to church butter by hand. It’s difficult, but makes it all a bit more worth it.
- How to Tap a Maple Tree
This one is a bit more niche–but if you can get your hands on a maple tree, all you need is a drill and a spout.
- Learn to Eat Seasonally
Get in the groove of purchasing, cooking, and eating seasonal produce–your recipes will get a bit more interesting.
- How to Braid Garlic
Braiding garlic is a beautiful way to transform your kitchen into a homesteading oasis.
- Build a Compost Toilet
Building a compost toilet is easier than you might think. Building a pretty one, however, might take a but more work.
- How to Grow Microgreens
Learning to sprout your own microgreens is a wonderful homesteading skill. Plus, sprinkling a little microgreens on top of any dish is a great way to make it look fancy.
- Swim in Natural Bodies of Water
Embrace a sense of adventure, find a river, find a lake, (check local ordinances) and embrace swimming in natural bodies of water.
- How to Grow Mushrooms Inside
Foraging mushrooms is one thing, bur growing them yourself, indoors, is a genius way to master a homesteading skill.
- Keep an Address Book and Write Letters
Ditch your digital contacts and keep a real address books and write hand-written letters to friends and family.
- Host a Clothing Swap
In addition to thrifting clothes, when you’re ready to refresh your wardrobe a bit, host a clothing swap and invite friends for a little exchange.
- Grow a Windowsill Garden
You don’t need land to grow herbs! Start a few in your windowsill: from rosemary, to lavender, to oregano, to parsley, and to mint.
- How to Pickle
Stock up on cucumbers from the market or from your garden, and make your own pickles–dill, sweet, and jalapeno.
- Learn How to Make Ceramics
Create your own ceramic collection of bowls, plates, mugs, and cups.
- How to Raise Chickens
If you have the space, raising chickens is a great homesteading skill to learn. Start with a simple chicken tractor and a few hens. If you can’t raise your own, support a local farmer and get local eggs.
- How to Forage Mushrooms
Foraging is one of the more underrated parts of homesteading. Learn to forage mushrooms, including chanterelles and lion’s mane.
- How to Keep Bees
Beekeeping is a peaceful hobby to take up–and making your own honey is a great homesteading skill.
- Learn the Basics of Plumbing
A bit less glamorous, but learning to deal with water leaks and issues in your home is a smart way to become self-reliant.
- How to Make Tinctures
Learn to make tinctures to cure common ailments.