How you can be a Homesteader no Matter Where you Live

Do you want to know how to start homesteading but think it isn’t possible because you don’t own a piece of land out in the country?  Did you know that you can be a homesteader no matter where you live?

How you can be a homesteader

For many years I dreamed of when we would move out of our 1/11th of an acre property to start bringing many of our dreams to fruition.  That dream became a reality two and half years ago.   Even though moving out to the country has opened many doors for us homesteading wise,  there were many things we were able to do to live a homestead type of life while we were living right in town.

Many of us consider a farmhouse out in the country as a homestead. I was surprised to read the actual definition of “homestead” on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s website:

a : the home and adjoining land occupied by a family
b : an ancestral home
c : house

Did you catch that?  Nowhere does it say that your home must be in the country to be a homestead.  Which must mean to be a “homesteader” you can live anywhere!

Honestly, this something that is highly debated on the internet.  There are people out there who believe that there is a certain number of things you must have in place if you want a homestead.  Even my life would not qualify has homesteading to certain people because we don’t have a big animal like a cow or horses, and we are on a very small scale, with just 2 acres.

But we all know in this day of the internet that there is always someone who will disagree with you. So, can I encourage you to ignore whoever tells you that you can’t homestead because you don’t live in the country, or you are an apartment dweller, or your country home only has an acre or two?

You can be a homesteader whether you live in the country, or you can live in a small, one bedroom apartment in the middle of a metropolitan area. And while the actual definition is stated above, many view homesteading as a life that allows you to become more self sufficient.  While you may not be able to own your own dairy animal or have a whole herd of sheep, or even chickens, there are still things you can do towards becoming more self-reliant.


1.  Grow a garden.  There is no rule on how big your garden has to be to qualify as a homesteader.  If you live in an apartment you can grow vegetables in a container on your balcony.  If you have a small yard you can grow vegetables in a small garden.  You can grow herbs or sprouts on your kitchen windowsill.  Not sure what to start growing?  Check out this list of 10 easy vegetables to grow.

2.  Start canning.  With those vegetables you can preserve your food by canning them. Don’t have enough vegetables from your own garden? Go to the local farmer’s market and purchase some.  When I lived in town I used to buy bushels of tomatoes at the markets and I would make salsa to preserve.

If you head to a berry farm and pick some of your own berries you can make a bunch of jam and preserve it.  We always pick strawberries and blueberries at local farms and then I make freezer jam or canned jam for the pantry.  Jam, in my opinion, is one of the easiest things to make and preserve and is a great starting point for newbie canners.

 3.  Keep backyard chickens.   Many cities now allow backyard chickens.  Ours, unfortunately, did not which always surprised me as we were a small town with many Amish families living on the outskirts.  I do, however, know friends from other cities who have a few chickens happily laying eggs in their backyard.   You will want to check the bylaws for your community.  For help on raising chickens, check out THIS post on how to take care of baby chicks.

There are many different breeds of chickens to choose from.  You’ll want to pick one that best will suit your needs depending on whether you have children and want ones that are more docile, want heavy layers, dual purpose birds, etc. This post will tell you about 8 breeds of chickens that are perfect for first time chicken owners.

4.  Raise rabbits for meat.  Can’t keep chickens?  See if your local town or city by-laws allow for you to raise rabbits. Many areas that don’t allow chicken ownership in the city will allow you to raise rabbits.  Rabbits are often one of the first animals homesteaders will own because you can pretty much own them no matter how small your space.

5.  Cook from scratch.  I love this one because you really can do this from anywhere as long as you have a kitchen. 🙂  Bake your own bread, or granola, or yogurt.  The list of what you can learn to cook or bake is endless.  Make a commitment to buy less processed or packaged food and start making more from scratch.  You can even learn to make things like your own bacon by finding a source of pork belly.  You can often find local farms that sell those kinds of things so you don’t need to actually live on a farm to eat like a farmer.

6.  Learn to sew.  Make a skirt, or curtains, or a rag quilt. Making a skirt or rag quilt with your own two hands can be very satisfying, will keep you warm, and are perfect for gifts.  If you’ve never sewn a day in your life don’t worry.  You can find many tutorials online these days, or watch videos on Youtube to learn how to do what you need to do.

7.  Make your own cleaning products.  Making your own cleaning products minimizes harmful chemicals in your home, and offers a more frugal option to store bought cleaning products.

8.  Make your own soap, laundry soap, and lotions.  Again, this is a frugal and healthier option for your home. Check out THIS soap tutorial to make your own bar soap, or you can make your own laundry soap with this recipe.

9. Hang your laundry outside.  You can set up a clothesline in your backyard, no matter the size, or even on your balcony in a small apartment.  Just check the rules with your apartment, some places don’t allow you to hang clothes outside.

10.  Compost.  You only need a small backyard to have enough room to turn your kitchen scraps into beautiful compost, which in turn you can use in your garden.


There are many ways you can be a homesteader right where you live.  You don’t have to wait to start your dream.  Become as self-sufficient as possible wherever you are, today!  If you were wondering how to start homesteading, try the above ideas no matter where you call home.

You may noticed once you start homesteading that others begin to look at you a little funny.  People have a hard time understanding why you would ever want to do things yourself when you can save time by just buying things.  The truth is, the more self-sufficiency skills we learn the better off we’ll be.

We’ve learned that we can easily go to the store for what we need.  It’s been decades since we’ve experienced something so devastating like The Great Depression.  But the truth is, we really don’t know what tomorrow brings and even though there is sense of security living in North America, it can all change.

If it did all change, would you have the skills needed to help you survive?  If you couldn’t go to the grocery store tomorrow, if you had barely money to survive on, could you do things for yourself that would help you live?

I think many people would say that they didn’t have those skills needed.  And it’s not your fault, it’s just the time we live in.  Fewer people live on family farms and everything is so accessible we haven’t needed to have those lost skills anymore.  But what happens when lost skills are suddenly necessary?

Even though many of us are born in a time where we haven’t needed those skills, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn them.  And if you learn those skills and it never comes down to a necessity to use them you haven’t lost anything – you’ve only gained knowledge, good quality food, more money in your bank account from saving by doing things yourself, and health.

So, the question is, what skill will you work on learning first?


Related:  25 Ways to Make Money Homesteading


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