Apartment Homesteading

Not everyone has the option to buy up an acre or two of land, obtain livestock and start growing their own food supplies. So how can you go about homesteading when you’re stuck with your 4th-floor apartment in the city and with pretty limited space?
Don’t worry. We’re here with some great tips and tricks to get you homesteading in your apartment.

Why Homestead in an Apartment?

Not only will this help you to save money, but it will reduce your environmental impact on the planet if you truly get into the spirit of modern-day homesteading.

It can also be really rewarding to see the fruits of your labor materialize.

When it comes to your diet, homesteading can even improve health and wellbeing as you’ll be eating fresh foods, rich with all the nutrients you need and without the use of commercial fertilizers.

If your main end goal is to invest in some land and make homesteading your way of life, then starting while you’re in your apartment isn’t going to hurt at all. In fact, you’ll be well versed in many of the skills you need and will just need to upscale them.

What to Know About Apartment Homesteading

There are a few things you should know before diving into a homesteader lifestyle as it may require you to prepare some things.

Firstly, check your local bylaws if you’re considering a chicken coop on your balcony, as there may be rules regarding micro-farming in urban areas. So do your research first!

Also, even if bylaws allow, you’ll have to check with your landlord if you’re living in a rental.

If animals aren’t playing a part in your city apartment homestead, then keep reading for more considerations.

Think about your living space and how much room you have for storage. Do you have plenty of cupboards suitable for storing jars and preserved foods?

Also, consider how easy it would be to nurture plants in your apartment – is there enough sunlight in the spot you’d be hoping to grow them? Perhaps you have a balcony, which could be more suitable for growing herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Do you have the tools you might need to start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

Here are just a few things you might need:

  • Canning supplies
  • Plant care items
  • Reusable items
  • Sewing supplies

How to Learn More About Apartment Homesteading

It’s really easy to find out more about homesteading in your apartment – all you need to know can be found online and there are even forums and Facebook groups where people share their knowledge.

Check out YouTube for homesteading tips from seasoned experts and see which ones you can apply to your apartment life.

If you know anyone who has opted to go “off-grid” then why not pick their brains. You’ll find that people are more than happy to help you out if you show a keen interest in their homesteading mindset and lifestyle.

9 Easy Ways to Start Apartment Homesteading Today

1. Scratch Cooking

One of the easiest ways to get started on your urban homesteading journey is to learn to cook using fresh ingredients. Research recipes which use foods you would be able to grow yourself and get to know how they go together to create a nice meal.

This will save you money in the long run, as you’ll find you’re being more creative in the kitchen and you aren’t wasting leftovers.

Bake bread from scratch, make your own nut milk or butter or try your hand at cheese-making, to truly get into the homestead way of life.

Scratch Cooking Fresh Ingredients

2. Eat Local, Seasonal Foods

Another element of cooking fresh meals is eating seasonally. By only buying locally-grown produce (if these aren’t things you can grow for yourself) you’re not contributing to the carbon emissions of them being shipped across the world or the country.

Fruit and vegetables taste better when they’re grown and harvested in the correct season, so you’ll most likely get used to the improved flavor of your food.

3. Grow Your Own

If you have space, even as small as a windowsill, you can begin growing some of your own food.

Start small with herbs and once you get the hang of caring for an edible plant, you could move onto fruits, such as tomatoes. These can be grown in container gardens which can be as big or as small as you like – who said you need a plot of land to start working on your homesteading skills?!

If you have an apartment with a balcony – lucky you – you could create an entire garden of edibles and reduce your need to head to the supermarket as regularly.

Great things to grow on balconies include:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Broad Beans

Again, do some research as to which conditions suit these plants best. Balconies can get a lot of sunshine and are also susceptible to windy conditions, so be sure to choose accordingly and discover which plants are happy to share pots to save you some extra space.

If you don’t have space for your own mini garden, you could join in with a community gardening initiative in which you will not only benefit from freshly grown food but will be able to meet like-minded people!

4. Make Do and Mend

This is another super-easy way to reduce your reliance on big businesses – fixing the things you already have!

Clothes are a perfect example of where this can be implemented in your life. If you can learn to sew and darn, then you can fix a whole number of clothing items and as you progress your skills, you could even be making your own clothes in the future.

If an item can be fixed, fix it. This will not only save you money but will help you to expand your skillset for developing your homesteading lifestyle.

5. Reduce Waste

This can be a little tricky when you’re transitioning from “regular” living and relying on shops, from which almost everything is packaged in plastic. However, you can start small and work your way to waste-free over time.

Here are some great tips for reducing your waste:

  • Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from markets.
  • Store food properly to increase its longevity.
  • Use reusable fabric mesh bags for your fresh groceries.
  • Use reusable bags for shopping.
  • Opt for items that are packaged in recyclable cardboard or glass – reuse jars for your own canning and fermenting (more details below).
  • Fruit that may be getting a little old can be used to make preserves or used in baking. Veg can be turned into soups.
  • Some foods can be propagated to give you a new plant for your edible garden.
  • Try to fix things that can be fixed rather than putting them in the garbage and buying new ones.
  • Donate unwanted usable items to good causes.
  • Donate unusable clothing to fabric recycling initiatives.
Preserving Food Canning

6. Preserving Food

Preserving food is a key feature of the homesteader lifestyle, so start saving up those jars!

There are a number of ways you could preserve foods in your apartment, so long as you have the space to store them:

  • Fermenting
  • Drying/Dehydrating
  • Canning
  • Jellying/Jamming
  • Freezing
  • Pickling
  • Smoking
  • Sealing
  • Salting

7. DIY

Try your hand at crafting. And no, we don’t mean construction paper and glitter. We’re talking about making things you might need.

If you have a sewing machine or are nifty with a needle, then you could try making your own reusable bags, cleansing pads or other fabric items. Crocheting and knitting are also brilliant skills to have under your belt, so get acquainted with needles, hooks and yarns.

Cleaning products are a great thing to DIY using all-natural ingredients. You can make a multi-purpose spray cleaner using a mix of white vinegar, lemon juice and water. Bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda) is great for cleaning – it can be used to remove limescale, de-odorize, wash clothes… the list is never-ending.

Making your own beauty and self-care products can be really fun as well as a marked improvement on drugstore options. Try making your own natural deodorant, soaps, body scrubs and lip balms. Look on Pinterest for some inspiration and start keeping a journal of all the successful recipes you find.

8. Save Resources

Think about your consumption of energy and water while living in your apartment. Be smart and try to cut down on your “unnecessary” usage:

Reduce your power usage:

  • Switch off appliances and electricals at the socket.
  • Don’t leave things on standby.
  • Don’t leave lights on when you’re not in the room.

Only use as much water as you need:

  • No leaving the faucet on while you brush your teeth.
  • Turn off the shower while you lather up shampoo or soaps.
  • Fill the sink or a bowl to soak multiple fruit and veg at once.

Use eco-friendly options where possible:

  • Replace lightbulbs with LED ones.
  • Use natural cleaning products.
  • Research and use natural beauty products – you could even make your own.
  • Use reusable/washable makeup removal pads.
  • Try out washable sanitary products.
  • Use beeswax wraps in place of plastic wrap.
  • Carry a reusable cup.
  • Carry reusable cutlery.

Use food waste effectively:

  • Put peels and cores into a compost bin. You can get smaller ones suitable for indoor use, but make sure you have the correct conditions for one to work properly in your apartment.
  • Use coffee grounds to make natural body scrubs.
  • Use eggshells and teabags to help feed your plants.
  • Use citrus peel in natural cleaning solutions or utilise them in your cooking for extra flavor.

9. Emergency Kit

Homesteaders are well known for being prepared… for anything! So if you want another way to feel like you’re acing this modern-day homesteading lifestyle, make yourself an emergency kit.

To make sure you’re ready for all potential emergencies, you’ll want to make sure your kit includes first aid essentials, water, food and portable power sources which don’t need to be connected to the grid.

It is recommended that first aid kits should include the following:

  • Band-aids
  • Sterile gauze dressings
  • Sterile eye dressings
  • Triangular bandages
  • Crêpe rolled bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Scotch tape
  • Thermometer
  • Skin rash creams
  • Insect bites and stings ointment
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Painkillers
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets
  • Distilled water for cleaning wounds
  • Eyewash and eye bath

With that vast list, you’ll never be caught short!

Options for off-grid power sources could include portable hand-crank chargers or solar-powered chargers which will continue to work even throughout power cuts. Hand-crank torches and candles are also a really neat idea to have on hand.

Water and food are important for survival, so keep large canisters of water handy if you have space and with regards to food, you may have built up a nice collection of preserved foods if you’ve started on your homesteading journey already.

Good luck, future apartment homesteader!

Are you already an avid urban homesteader and have some great tips? Let us know in the comments!

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