What is Homesteading?

What is Homesteading?

homesteading, homesteader, homestead, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, DIY
The term “homestead” comes from the American Homestead Act of 1862. This act was the federal government’s way of encouraging families of that time towards the western expansion of the United States; it offered them land if they were willing to live on and develop it. But what is homesteading?

Today, there are various definitions for what the word homesteading means; most of them boil down to self-sufficiency and living deliberately. However, homesteading seems to mean different things to different people,  so, here, we’ll attempt to describe what homesteading means to us.

What does Homesteading Mean to Us?

First, we’ll tell you a brief story of when and why we decided to focus on becoming homesteaders. For years, we have enjoyed the process of doing things for ourselves; not only because we liked doing them, but also because it saved us money. From changing the oil in our car, to preserving food and making our own laundry soap, to figuring out alternative ways of cooking and doing laundry. In short, we enjoyed a plethora of DIY projects. However, because of work and commuting, we didn’t have as much time as we would like for these projects.

We go camping throughout the summer months, usually only 2-3 days at a time because of our schedules. A couple years ago, we decided we’d go for a week. We weren’t very happy with our jobs at the time and we had both recently just finished college. So we spent a lot of that week thinking about and discussing what direction we wanted our lives to take. We also spent a lot of time, which is usual for camping trips, getting water from the river to wash our clothes and purify to drink, gathering wood and making fires, and cooking with alternative forms; in general, living more deliberately. This type of life, we realized, was what we wanted to spend our time doing.

It made sense to us; we’ve always focused on frugality and, perhaps, that’s why the idea of self-sufficiency appeals to us. As soon as we got home from that camping trip we decided we wanted to sell our small lot in the city and buy a patch of land to build a sizable homestead–to live frugally and as self-sufficient as we could. Not spending as much time at work, apart, trading time for money to pay the electric bill to wash our clothes, but, instead, spending time together washing our clothes without electricity.

What is Homesteading?

So, to get back to our original topic, homesteading is the idea of self-sufficiency and living off the land. It’s the notion that you can, in fact, do-it-yourself; that you can loosen, if not cut, the bonds to chain stores and the power-grid. Homesteading is the thought that we can get “back to basics.”

It doesn’t matter where you live; it’s the types of activities you do that make you a homesteader.  You don’t need acres of land to do a lot of homesteading activities; you can homestead in your apartment. Baking your own bread, canning your own food, or knitting your own clothes are all forms of homesteading. It’s true, however, that some homestead processes do require more space than a usual apartment can afford, like large scale gardening, or keeping chickens, bees, or goats. But, if you are determined to be a homesteader, you can homestead from anywhere. Homesteading comes in different forms. So, if you enjoy doing things for yourself and the idea of self-sufficiency, then you may already be a homesteader.


We would love to hear about your homestead journey! Please feel free to contact us here and tell us about your adventures.

Here are some books we recommend to further your knowledge of homesteading:

Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once we publish new content.

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *