Homesteading is hard work, filled with challenges that arise constantly. No homesteader is ever totally prepared for the daily ups and downs. Learning some practical skills before you start homesteading can make your journey much smoother and more enjoyable.
Homesteading skills can be learned easily as there are many resources for you to learn these skills. YouTube, a Google search, and even Pinterest are great places to search for the skills you wish to learn. There are free e-courses, videos, blog posts and more available all over the internet.
As a pretty seasoned homesteader, I wish I would have learned a few more of these skills before I started. Trust me when I tell you that it would have made my first year or two much easier.
Learn as much as you can about these 10 practical skills before you start your homesteading journey. Even if you already started, remember, it is never too late to learn something new.
New Homesteaders: 10 Practical Skills to Focus on Immediately
Practical Skills 1: Learn Gardening
I can’t even begin to tell you how important gardening is to the homestead. One of the biggest chores most homesteaders have is growing their own food. This, of course, requires a garden and some gardening skills.
Gardening skills include the following tasks:
- seed planting
- soil preparation
- insect control
Of course, there are many other tasks to gardening but the list above are the main tasks. Learn all you can about each one and you will surely have a more prosperous garden.
- Seed Planting:
- Soil Preparation:
- Insect Control:
Practical Skills 2: Canning and Preserving
If your going to learn gardening then it only makes sense that you learn the skills necessary to preserve your harvest too. Most homesteaders grow way more than they can eat at one time before it goes bad so finding ways to preserve your harvest is a very important skill to acquire.
Preserving skills include the following tasks:
Each of these methods requires a different set of skill sets and you should become familiar with each one.
Food Preservation Resources:
Practical Skills 3: Downsizing
Many homesteaders live in RV’s, motor homes, and tiny houses. Some stay where they are and some choose to downsize. Downsizing simply means to eliminate the unnecessary material things and live with less. Let’s face it don’t we all have entirely too many “things”? Less stuff means less clutter, less stress, and the best one… less cleaning.
Practical Skills 4: Frugality
The biggest lesson I learned from homesteading was to be frugal. Saving money and knowing what to spend and what to save has saved me from losing everything I’ve worked so hard for.
Homesteaders save money. They spend only what they have to and they think through every purchase that they make. Learning to be frugal is one of the most important practical skills you should learn.
Practical Skills 5: Basic Carpentry
There is always something to fix or build on the homestead. Learning basic carpentry skills can come in handy. Also, start your collection of tools now. Collect tools such as drills, hammers, wrenches, pliers, saws, and snips to get started. having these tools on hand help. Check out my list of Barn Tools I Use On The Homestead too.
Basic Carpentry Skills can include:
Resources for Basic Carpentry:
Practical Skills 6: Self-Reliance
Being self-reliant is a common goal for most homesteaders. Understanding what it means and how to go about becoming more self-reliant is another great practical skill you should learn. There are complete websites to get you started on the path of becoming more self-reliant. Take your time, do your research and figure out how to become more self-reliant today.
Resources for Self-Reliance:
- Self-Sufficient Living: What Does It Mean?
- The Self-Sufficient Life Website
- Self Sufficient Farm Blog
- 50 Resources To Help You Become More Self Sufficient
- Home Grown Self Reliance
Practical Skills 7: Planning and Goal Setting
Planning while homesteading happens all the time, and just when you have a good plan, something will change. That’s the beauty of homesteading. Knowing how to make plans and set goals for your homestead are both important to the success of your homestead. 50% of my time is spent planning and setting goals, the other 50% is following through with those plans.
Resources for Planning and Goal Setting:
- Writing Homestead Goals: Starting with Dreams
- Making a Vision Board for your Homestead
- Homestead Planner: Choosing the Right One
- Homestead Planning with a Planner
- How to Write Your 2018 Homestead Plans
Practical Skills 8: Livestock
Depending on the amount of property you have will determine whether or not you decide to raise livestock or other animals on your homestead. At the very least, most homesteaders raise backyard chickens for eggs and sometimes meat. Having larger property can allow for pigs, goats, and even a dairy or beef cow.
Having some education about each of these animals can be extremely helpful. I can tell you from experience that diving right into raising animals without some background education can be completely overwhelming and make an unhappy experience.
Resources for Livestock and Animals:
- Raising Baby Chickens on Your Homestead
- Raising Goats on the Homestead
- Choosing Rabbits for the Homestead
- Raising Pigs on the Homestead
- Raising Turkeys on Your Homestead
- How to Raise Your Own Cattle
- How Easy Is It To Raise Cattle On Your Homestead?
Practical Skills 9: Finding Land
Homesteading requires land. The amount of land required depends on your needs. Some homesteaders are perfectly happy with a half an acre, yet others wish for 20 or more acres. It really depends on you and your family and how much land is required for what you are planning to do on that land.
Resources for Finding Land:
- How to Find Free Land To Homestead
- How To Find Off Grid Land
- Finding Homestead Land
- 12 Questions To Ask Before Buying Homestead Land
- Choosing Your Land
Practical Skills 10: Letting Things Go
There are many things that take place while homesteading that can make the average person become very stressed and overwhelmed. Homesteaders know that you can’t build Rome in a day, and sometimes things have to be put aside until later. Weather, unexpected maintenance issues, sick animals, and unplanned projects all cause a change in schedule.
When these occurrences happen you have to learn to let it go so you do not become stressed and overwhelmed.
Resources for Letting Go:
- 10 Homesteading Expectations You Should Forget Immediately!
- How to Avoid Homestead Burnout
- 5 Common Mistakes Homesteaders Make and How to Fix Them
- When Simple Isn’t Easy
- Homesteading Alone: The Pros and Cons
There you go, 10 practical skills you should learn and plenty of resources to help you learn them. Don’t get overwhelmed. Learn these skills at your pace. I promise if you can learn these skills your homesteading journey will be much more satisfying, less stressful, and way more productive.
Are you ready to dive in and learn how to start homesteading with learned practical skills under your belt? Tell me in the comments below if you know of other helpful skills.
This post has been updated since its original publish date of January 1, 2018.
Such great ideas. Thanks for including my post in the list!
You are very welcome! I love your website!
I started reading your post thinking I would have a long list of things I need to work on by the end. I was super surprised to find that my only knowledge gap on this list is the livestock. Though I do know how to raise rabbits as pets. I’d just need to learn how to raise them for meat. You’ve encouraged me greatly because now I know I’m not lacking in knowledge as much as I’d feared. While I don’t have a significant parcel of land, I do have enough to supply my daughter and I with all ourplant needs. I’m fixing up my 800 sqft house myself and I can make vegetarian chili from my yard without going in the house, as long as I have clean water. All this on an inner city sneeze sized lot. I’ve been gardening permaculture style for 8 years and I’ve always tinkered in carpentry since early high school. My grandmother was a Nebraska farm woman, and my mother and I inherited her knowledge and knack for making a lot out of a little. I even have a plan for self sufficient income. Be a bookkeeper and tax preparer from my house.
Wow Lynda, that’s awesome! You are well on your way to being self-sufficient. You seem to have it figured out pretty good. If you are looking to raise meat rabbits, check my Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.com/15acrehomestead/homesteading-rabbits/. There are some great posts about raising meat rabbits and even a few about butchering them. Congratulations on getting past the fear you had! I started as a single parent on a small piece of property also so I understand how scary it can be. Keep at it! You got it! Keep me posted on your progress!
This is a great resource! Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop!
Wow- I don’t think you left anything out of this info post:) For us, it was gardening, carpentry and down-sizing that really put us on track. Thanks for the great post!
So glad you enjoyed it. Stay on that track and best of luck to you!
Great advise and informative!! Your a great inspiration!!
Great post, great advice about homesteading. I love that so many have an interest to ‘going back to simple’.