Most homesteaders start their homesteading journey because they want to live a simple, self-sufficient life. But this easy way of life isn’t always easy.
Fortunately, there are tons of homestead hacks that will save you money and save time – and your sanity!
Check out the list below and see which homestead hacks and tricks you can implement.
1. Keep Everything
Homesteading involves following a “waste not, want not” mantra.
Make a point to never throw anything away until you are absolutely sure there is no other way to use it.
Beyond food scraps for compost, hold on to any wood and plastic.
You can recycle these and use them to make other homestead essentials, such as pallet gardens, chicken coops, and animal feeders.
[Related Read: How to Reuse Everything on Your Homestead]
2. Pair Animals Appropriately
You can save yourself a lot of time and heartache if you think carefully about how you house the animals on the homestead.
For example, there are some pairings that work better than others.
Cows tend to pair well with all livestock. But pigs can be difficult to pair with certain types of livestock since they are omnivores.
3. Grow Vertically for More Space
If you are limited on space on your homestead, try growing vertically.
Put together a simple vertical frame or higher stakes and harvest dirt-free produce.
4. Make Your Own Compost
Compost is essential for adding nutrients to your garden. Instead of buying compost, make your own.
You can go with a traditional compost pile, or you can embrace vermicomposting (worm composting).
This homestead hack will eliminate excess garbage, enrich your soil, and save you money.
5. Extend Your Growing Season
Unless you live in an environment where the weather is conducive for growing year-round, it is helpful to learn homestead hacks for extending your growing season.
You can use homemade cloches (we’ll tell you how to DIY those later), use row covers, or utilize a greenhouse.
Another option is to learn how to warm up the soil using black tarps to plant early in the spring.
6. Remove Labels from Jars
Homesteaders should try to reuse everything. One such thing is jars for canning.
The problem is the sticky labels. The homestead hack is to use water to remove the paper label and a safe oil (such as grapeseed) to remove the adhesive.
7. Help Dough Rise Faster
Need a loaf of fresh bread sooner rather than later?
One homestead hack is to create your own “proof box” by placing a bowl of steaming water in the oven with your bowl of dough.
Your DIY proof box works by making it humid and warm so the dough can rise faster.
8. Use a Mason Jar as a Liquid Measuring Cup
Put your mason jars to even more use in the kitchen by using them as a liquid measuring cup.
- 1 cup = 1/2 pint jar
- 2 cups = pint jar
- 4 cups = quart jar
- 8 cups = half-gallon jar
Say you need 6 cups of water. You could fill a half-gallon mason jar and fill it up three-fourths.
9. Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs with Ease
This homestead hack will save you a ton of time. If you have chickens on your homestead, you’re going to eat a lot of eggs.
One popular way is hard-boiled, but peeling hard-boiled eggs can be a pain.
The trick is to steam them – not boil them.
- Place eggs in a colander (not plastic) and place the colander in a pot.
- Put water in the pot, but not enough to submerge the eggs.
- Bring the water to a boil and put a lid on the pot.
- Allow the eggs to steam for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Now peel.
10. Save Money Shopping at the Dollar Store
Save money by shopping for essentials at your local Dollar Store. You can typically find items such as sewing needles, plastic buckets, freezer bags, and clothespins.
11. Keep Pests Away from Fruit Trees
If you have fruit trees, you will have to battle squirrels and birds from enjoying the fruit before you do.
Unless you use this homestead hack.
Hang old CDs and DVDs from the tree branches.
These will create prisms, and the sun will reflect off them, which will encourage these pests to stay away.
12. Protect Water Sources from Bugs
Bugs are drawn to water.
If you have small areas of standing water, such as bird feeders or water barrels, add vegetable oil to the water.
The vegetable oil will create a film over the surface and will prevent insects from enjoying it.
13. Make Your Own Garden Markers
Garden markers are a must if you are growing various plants.
Make your own garden markers to easily distinguish one plant from another.
One simple solution is to place the seed packet inside an upside-down mason jar. This saves the details and works as a marker.
14. Fertilize a Plot with Your Own Livestock
If you have poultry on your homestead, take advantage of their manure.
Create a temporary pen for your chickens or ducks in the space where you’d like a plot.
Keep them there for a couple of weeks, and they will fertilize the plot.
15. Make Your Own Homemade Mulch
Use mulch in your garden to prevent weeds.
But instead of buying mulch, make your own.
You can use shredded newspaper, animal manure, or cardboard as mulch.
16. Use Beer to Repel Pests
Have a problem with snails or slugs?
Fill a small dish with beer and put it near the area they like to destroy.
They will make their way to the beer and be unable to get out of the dish.
17. Preserve Fresh Herbs
You can always have fresh herbs on hand if you know how to preserve them.
Simply chop them up and place them in ice cube trays topped with olive oil. Then freeze.
18. Protect Tools from Rust
Sand and mineral oil work to protect tools from rust.
But instead of constantly having to clean your tools, fill a bucket with sand and mineral oil and use this bucket as storage.
19. Follow Companion Planting
Make your garden grow well by following companion planting.
Certain plants work especially well together – enhancing growth and protecting from pests.
For example, plant tomatoes with marigolds.
[Related Read: Garden Building: Sun Mapping and Companion Plants]
20. Use Cinnamon Liberally
In addition to using cinnamon for its delicious flavor, it has many other uses around the homestead.
For example, use some cinnamon to repel pests.
Put cinnamon on your cuttings to prevent mold.
Add cinnamon to your waterers to protect your livestock from illnesses.
21. Make DIY Animal Feeders
You can save a good bit of money by making your own animal feeders.
If you have something plastic to hold and carry the feed and a PVC elbow joint, you can quickly and easily make your own feeder.
All you have to do is drill a hole where you will affix the elbow joint(s).
22. Collect Sawdust
Sawdust has many uses on the homestead.
That’s why it is necessary to get to know people in the business (woodworkers, foresters, etc.) and see if you can get their sawdust.
Try bartering produce or eggs for sawdust.
23. Make a DIY Cloche
A cloche protects plants from frost.
You can make your own using an empty soda bottle.
Simply cut the soda bottle and place it over the plant in the evening.
Remove it in the morning.
24. Get Rid of Squash Bugs with Tape
If you’re having a problem with squash bugs invading your garden, you need to get rid of the eggs before you have a total infestation.
The homestead hack is to use packing tape.
Find the leaves where the eggs are located, place packing tape on the eggs, and pull the tape off to remove the eggs.
25. Freeze Extra Eggs
Don’t let your fresh eggs go to waste!
When you have extra, crack the eggs into a muffin pan.
Place the muffin pan in the freezer.
Once frozen, remove them from the pan and place them in a container for freezer storage.
26. Teach Chickens to Come When Called
If you use the same word or sound combination when you feed them, they will learn to associate this word with coming to you.
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