18 Ways to Become More Self-Sufficient

Are you looking for ways to become more self-sufficient? The truth is, we never know what the future holds, and the more we can do for ourselves, the better off we can be through tough times.

There is no way we can be absolutely completely 100% self-sufficient. However, there are many, many ways we can increase our self-sufficiency levels.

You don’t need to live on a farm or homestead to find ways to be self-sufficient. Yes, living in an apartment or in the middle of a city will limit you, but there are still a lot of things you can do to increase your self-reliance.

We’ve been living at our homestead for almost three years now. Each year we like to add some new way to become more self-sufficient. So far we’ve been gardening and canning, cooking from scratch, making my own soap and cleaning products, owning laying hens, raising meat birds, raising lambs, and using wood as our primary heating source.  We are also on the hunt for our very first pig to raise but it’s proving trickier than we thought to find one right now.

When we lived in the middle of town on 1/11th of an acre, I focused my energy on canning, learning to sew, baking bread, and making do with what we had.  We never let the fact that we lived on a tiny lot deter us from taking baby steps towards self-sufficiency.

So, let’s talk a little more in depth about what you can do to increase your self-sufficiency, no matter where you live.


Start a garden. Do you know you can start a garden anywhere – even in an apartment? Container gardening is a great option for those who have small spaces. If you have a bigger space and you want to garden but have never tried before, be sure to start out small.

Three years ago for our first ever garden my husband shoveled out a small space for me. I wanted to grow ALL. THE. THINGS. But I knew as a new gardener I could overwhelm myself by not starting out small. The following year we made a bigger space, and this year an even bigger space!  If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this post on how to start a garden from scratch and on a budget.

There are so many options when it comes to gardening. Container gardening is one option, or you can do raised garden beds, or right in the ground. I’ve even seen where people grow gardens in tires!=. You can also start a small herb garden on your window sill. The options are endless.

Cook and bake from scratch. Bread is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of self-sufficient cooking skills, but there are so many other things you can learn to make beyond that. Even something as simple as making soup from scratch instead of a can, with your own broth you’ve made is a great skill to learn. If you want an insanely easy bread recipe, with no kneading involved, check out this overnight no-knead artisan bread recipe.  It’s a family favorite.

Learn how to sew. This is an area I severely lack, but the truth is, you don’t need to know how to sew a whole wardrobe. Learning how to sew a straight line, or how to sew on a button are simple skills to learn that don’t take much experience. While I can’t sew that well, I’ve learned the basics on YouTube which has allowed me to sew a curtain, a rag quilt, and even a very basic skirt for my daughter.

Raise laying hens. Eggs, eggs, eggs. Such a versatile food, and so good for you! If you live in a city, don’t instantly rule out the idea of owning chickens. Many areas allow a small number of backyard chickens. Be sure to check with your city or town hall to find out the rules and regulations for your area.

Laying hens are one of the easiest homestead animals to start out with as well. It is what we began with and with no experience under our belts but a lot of research we did on our own, we have successfully enjoyed eggs for the past year thanks to our chickens.  Want to know what breeds are best for lots of eggs?  Read this post.

Start canning. If you have a garden you can preserve the harvest by canning some of it. If you go berry picking you can make jam and other yummy goodies and can it to enjoy all year long!

Make your own cleaning products. So many of the items at the store are full of toxic chemicals that aren’t good for us anyways. With just a few basic ingredients you can make a lot of your own cleaning products. They are cheaper, better for you, and so simple to make. Try out this all-purpose cleaner.

Make your own wellness and body care products. How awesome would it be if every time there was an item you needed at the store you didn’t need to run out and get it, but you could just make it with a few items you already have on hand? With wellness products you can also grow some of the ingredients you would put in them, like lavender for example. Check out this  soapmaking tutorial to get you started on making your own wellness and body care products.

Start composting. Composting can be amazing way to turn kitchen scraps into beautiful soil to use for your garden. You don’t need a big space, or a lot of money to make a composting bin. Check out this one you can make from pallets!

Use a clothesline. Hanging your clothes outside in the sun is a great way to save energy. Dryers are a huge energy hog.

Raise meat birds OR rabbits. Again, this will depend on your town or city’s regulations. However, many people have been able to raise rabbits for meat in areas that do not allow livestock.

Raise a dairy animal. Goats, sheep, and cows are all options when it comes to raising a dairy animal. The things you can make are endless.

Learn how to make dairy products. Once you get the dairy animal you are going to want to figure out ways to use all that milk and cream. Learn how to make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and other dairy products.

Start fishing or hunting. Don’t have the space to raise your own meat? Take up fishing or hunting.

Become a beekeeper. 5 words – your own supply of honey. Need I say more?

Use a rain barrel. Rain barrels are great for collecting rain to water your gardens or providing water for your livestock.

Tap your trees. If you have some sugar maples on your property, tap them for some maple syrup. We have tapped our trees for the past two years and it’s been a great experience!

Experiment in fermentation. Fermented foods are so good for your gut. Learn how to make sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha. You can even make things like fermented salsa.

Make beeswax candles.  Beeswax candles are better for you than the paraffin candles.  I like to make a big batch and use them all year, especially the winter months.  For a tutorial on how to make some, go here.


This list is by no means exhaustive, but it can get you started in the right direction! There are always things we can do no matter where ever we are in life that can move us towards self-sufficiency. There is something so satisfying about developing these type of skills and being capable of doing so many different things for ourselves.

The beauty of finding ways to be self-sufficient in this day and age is that if we were not taught these skills by our grandparents or parents we can learn these skills on our own with so many resources on the internet. Just one Google, Pinterest, or Youtube search will bring up many tutorials on how to do many of these skills.

So why not develop a new skill that will help you become more self-sufficient today?

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