Are you thinking about starting a homestead, but something is holding you back? Homesteading for beginners can feel overwhelming, so I’m sharing tips for starting a homestead to set you up for success!
Homesteading for beginners & tips for starting a homestead
I remember when Ben and I started entertaining the idea of homesteading. After multiple family diagnoses of autoimmune diseases, we started looking more closely at our own diets. Ben and I both strongly believe that food has the ability to both heal and harm our bodies. Although we weren’t sure which dietary path best fit our lifestyles and family, we were sure of one thing – we wanted to know exactly where our food came from. We didn’t know it at the time, but that simple motivation led us to a life changing experience of homesteading.
Homesteading was a completely new experience for both Ben and I. We knew we wanted to grow our own food, but we never dreamed that we would go quite this far. As a suburbanite and previous city dweller, I didn’t even know what homesteading was at the time. But here we are, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s no surprise that homesteading was a new (and overwhelming!) experience for our family. There were both successes and major learning curves along the way, but those experiences have led us to exactly where we are today. And that’s a pretty amazing place, friends.
If you’re in the “homesteader for beginners” group, then look no further. I’m sharing all of the tips for starting a homestead below.
Is homesteading for you?
Is there something pulling you toward homesteading, but it sounds like a crazy idea? Do you have zero experience with anything homesteading related, but for some reason, you keep gravitating toward the lifestyle? Do you dream of growing your own food and living a more sustainable life? Does collecting farm fresh eggs, making your own raw cheese, and harvesting garden vegetables sound appealing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then homesteading might be for you.
Homesteading for beginners can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. To help you decide if homesteading is for you, scroll through Instagram and browse through blogs to find like-minded beginner homesteaders. The homesteading community is generally extremely welcoming, so reach out and ask questions about their tips for starting a homestead.
Homesteading is a process, so there’s no need to rush. There’s so much to think about when starting a homestead (especially if you’re in the “homesteading for beginners” group!) Between housing, fencing, feeding, cleaning, and managing schedules, the whole experience can feel extremely overwhelming. Rather than biting off more than you can chew, set yourself up for success by starting off small. Learn how to plant a garden or raise a few backyard chickens. Homesteading is a journey, so give yourself some grace. One of the most important tips for starting a homestead is to enjoy the process rather than rushing through it.
…or go all in
Okay, I just finished preaching about starting small, so why am I even talking about “going all in”? Well, maybe starting small isn’t for you. Maybe you’re the “go big or go home” type, and that’s okay too. It’s more than okay, because we’re the “go all in” types of people too.
Ben always jokes that we’re “gluttons for punishment.” Whenever we finish a major project, we move onto the next major project. We’ve remodeled and sold two houses and started a homestead from the ground up, all to start the process completely over again when we made the decision to move. Hence, gluttons for punishment!
But here’s the thing about homesteading for beginners- if you decide to go all in, then you need to be okay having multiple projects partially finished at all times. Going “all in” doesn’t mean you have everything complete – it’s actually the opposite. At any given time, you may have a half built chicken coop and temporary goat housing, but that’s okay. Remember – one of the most important tips for starting a homestead is recognizing that homesteading is a process, so take your time figuring it all out.
Start exactly where you are
Regardless of where you live or how much property you have, you can start homesteading exactly where you are. It’s a common homesteading for beginners misconception that you need to live on a farm or have a lot of land, but that’s absolutely false.
One of the best tips for starting a homestead is to start small and start today. Whether that means having a small herb garden or going all in with a full fledged farm, it doesn’t really matter. Remember – homesteading is a process that can be accomplished through any efforts, no matter how small.
(If you’re living on around 1 acre, then check out this post for some ideas!)
Repurpose what you have
(This tip will only apply if you happen to have items on hand than can be reused. If you don’t have anything to repurpose, than no worries!) If you’ve been looking at tips for starting a homestead, then you probably already realized that it can get really expensive. To cut down on the homesteading for beginners cost, repurpose what you have. Convert an old shed into animal housing, or use scraps of wood to build your own.
To reduce expenses associated with startup, we’ve converted an old shed and an old cattle feeder into chicken coops. Use whatever you have on hand!
Involve the entire family
Last but not least on my tips for starting a homestead? Involve the whole family! Homesteading is a lifestyle change. It takes a lot of work, so be sure to involve the entire family. If one person is doing all of the work, then homesteading likely won’t work out in the long run. Allocate chores when possible, and even involve your kids if you have them! Growing up on a homestead is such a unique experience for little ones. I feel so grateful that collecting eggs, gardening, and milking goats will become second nature for our kids. Homesteading definitely isn’t simple, but if it feels like the right fit for your family, then it’s a lifestyle change worth making.
Check your water quality
If you’re thinking about starting a homestead and raising farm animals, then there’s a good chance that your property is located outside city limits and you’re on well water. Getting your well water professionally tested is such an important aspect to health and well-being, which is why I’m so excited to partner with Tap Score to have our well water tested!
Not only is water quality extremely important for the health of our family, but it also has a huge impact on the health of our goats. Well water is often times high in sulfur, iron, and calcium – all of which are copper antagonists – potentially leading to copper deficiency in goats. We’ve dealt with our fair share of goat mineral deficiencies, so knowing the current levels in our well water is super helpful. (For more information about Copper Deficiency in goats, check out this post.)
Well water testing with Tap Score
Tap Score is unbiased and operates via a network of certified labs across the US. Not only is laboratory testing more accurate than cheap at-home testing strips, but most DIY strips are inaccurate and fail to test the majority of metals and minerals. It’s no surprise that Wirecutter named Tap Score “Best Water Quality Test Kit for Your Home” in 2020!
Homesteading for beginners requires hard work, but thankfully Tap Score makes water testing as simple as possible. We recently tested our well water, and the process couldn’t be simpler. We chose to get the Extended Well Water Test, which included three components. Tap Score included all the necessary materials to safely and easily ship your samples. The entire process only took a few minutes from start to finish. As our results start to come back, I’m extremely relieved and grateful that our well water appears to be safe. We’re still waiting on some of our results, but hopefully the pending items come back with safe results as well. I’m excited to finally ditch the bottled water for good. Not only will we save a bit of money from not purchasing bottled water, but we’ll also be reducing waste and making changes toward self-sustainability.
Homesteading for beginners can feel overwhelming, but testing your well water couldn’t be simpler. If you’re thinking about starting a homestead and you’re interested in testing your well water, then I couldn’t recommend Tap Score more! Their professional staff is extremely knowledgeable and will direct you to the test that meets your specific needs. Be sure to follow along with Tap Score on Instagram, too! #mytapscore @mytapscore