The Minimalist Homesteader
Minimalism and homesteading are two words you don’t often associate with each other. When you have space, it’s easy to fill it up. So, when you have a barn and land, it’s very easy (and tempting!) to fill it up as well. It’s much more difficult to refrain and keep margin. But, that’s exactly what me and my hubby have tried to do as we moved out to our homestead. Let me tell you, it’s hard, but it’s not impossible.
Before we moved to our ten acre ranch, we tested out the country life a little by moving to a small house on a 20 acre property that was shared with one other family. This house was a tiny little house that was built in the 1940’s in an urban neighborhood. Sometime in the 1990’s, it was physically moved out to this property. We got the historical architectural charm with the country pace of life. This house was less than 800 square feet with one bathroom, one bedroom, and (gasp!) no dishwasher! It was tight, but we loved it. By living here, we learned to streamline our possessions a ton and truly simplify.
Once we discovered that we loved it out here, we decided to start looking for our own place to buy, but as many who are looking for land discover, most properties with acreage have houses that are HUGE. We wanted a normal size house with a little bit of land and we eventually found it. However, it was still larger than the little cottage we came from.
In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve filled this house up more, but when we moved in, we didn’t actually need to buy any furniture. Not only that, we had a big empty barn and a shed to grow into as well. And, like many, when you have the space, you start to fill it.
Now, we don’t have some drastic story about how we were busting at the seams and had a come-to-Jesus moment about all of our stuff. But, we have filled up our home and storage buildings and it’s a constant struggle not to collect random “stuff.” We have been intentional about how much stuff we add to the mix because we know how easy it can be to add things.
Homesteading & Stuff
One of the biggest things we learned is that homesteading requires a lot of stuff – tools, gadgets, and other random things. It’s easy to get in the mentality that you might need that someday, because odds are, on your homestead you probably will need that someday! So, how do you keep your home and your barn from filling up with a ton of junk?
Here are a few things we’ve done to stick to a minimalist approach on our homestead:
One in, One out.
We live by this mentality as much as we can. It’s a simple concept that when you bring one thing in your home, you take one thing out. So, for example when we buy a new pair of shoes, we get try to get rid of a pair of shoes. We’re not always great with this, but it’s a conscious thought, which helps us from going overboard.
Sometimes you simply need to add something to your list of possessions. We found that living out here we needed a tractor, a chainsaw, an angle grinder, a vacuum food sealer, and the list could go on and on. We didn’t necessarily get rid of other tools to buy these necessities around the homestead. We saw it for the true need that it was and gave ourselves grace to add to our possessions.
Just like that chainsaw we bought, if something has a true and legitimate use on our homestead, we don’t stress about bringing it home. If something isn’t useful, then consider if you really need it.
When you’re homesteading, you end up needing a lot of random things that you may only need once in a blue moon. That’s where building up a community of friends helps out a lot. We’ve borrowed countless tools from friends like air compressors, pressure washers, and tile saws that we don’t need to own ourselves. It goes in return when friends borrow our chainsaws, soap molds, and other simple items. It’s also a lot more cost effective!!
Mental Giveaway List
I’ll admit, there are things that we have in our barn that we don’t use on a regular basis. Sometimes we’re given things that we know “could” be useful someday and we do have the space, so we’re storing them. However, I can look through every room in my house and every corner of our barn and tell you what I would give away if we had to move today. It’s good to get that mental list thought through. It may also come in handy when you hear of a need from someone else and you can quickly volunteer to give your stuff away.
Constant Giveaway Pile
I have a designated spot in our guest closet just for giveaway items. When the area starts getting full, I box it up and donate it to Salvation Army. I don’t hoard stuff to do a garage sale all at once, or save things for a big huge donation. I do it a box or two at a time, which keeps us with a constant mentality of not having too much clutter.
Homesteading often means manually making a lot more and doing more on your own. This often means more gadgets, containers, and tools. It can be easy to fill up the space you have, and even harder when you have acres of space. Simple habits can help keep your home from feeling like a cluttered barn full of junk and help you live a life of even more simplicity!
Valerie blogs about homesteading and simple living over at Simple Life Vibes. I love the combination of the two and it goes to show that minimalism can work for all different lifestyles. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook! Go over and visit her blog for some more inspiration on how to balance a homesteading lifestyle with a minimalist one.
Simple Life Vibes