There is something so appealing about living a completely self-sufficient life. Imagine sleeping under your air conditioner that’s powered by your solar panels, waking up to the sound of your chooks, eating homegrown eggs and tomatoes for brekky and getting drunk of your own (admittedly average tasting) home-brew.
It conjures up some nice feelings, no?
And while going off grid might be a bit of a pipe dream, there are a few easy ways to live a more self-sufficient life. And no, this doesn’t mean closing your blinds, refusing to answer your door and becoming a shut-in.
You don’t need to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere to be a bit more self-reliant. We’ve put together a few steps you can take towards living a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.
Sure, it’s an obvious suggestion, but it is the best place to start. Growing your own vegetables is a gratifying way to be that little more self-sufficient. For some very unscientific reason, salads taste 400% better when they contain a tomato from your own garden. And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care for the dirt and hard graft of gardening, this is the best introduction because you literally have results you can eat.
Virtually no space is too small for some sort of veggie patch. Even if you live in an apartment, you can still grow some herbs on your window sill.
We suggest beginning with a fairly robust, please-all plant like the tomato, although you may want to get a little fruitier with your patch. For some inspiration on your backyard veggie patch, have a look at The Little Veggie Patch Co’s work.
Especially if you have kids. Chooks are a lot of fun to keep, and once they start laying, are quite possibly the most giving of all pets. They even develop their own little personalities or should that be chickenalities?
Your chooks will need a safe coop away from predators with somewhere to sleep and a spot to roam during the day. You can make a weekend out of building it, or buy a prefab one like this and sit back.
You may want to check with your neighbours on whether they would welcome chooks onto their street. Chickens are chatterboxes. Also keep in mind that you might want to keep your chicks away from your veggie patch, unless you want them scratching around the newly-planted seeds.
Because who likes dealing with electricity companies? More to the point, who likes dealing with electricity companies and then giving them heaps of your money?
By generating your own power you might still have to have an account with an electricity retailer, but you won’t be lining their pockets quite so much. And what’s more, installing solar panels means that your house will be contributing to a greener earth.
Solar is a big leap toward a self-sufficient household. And now with companies like Tesla and Panasonic making batteries, you can turn your back on the grid at nighttime too!
A sensible step for anyone who owns their own house is installing a water tank. Water that would otherwise run off through stormwater drains and into rivers and beaches can be used for watering the garden, washing clothes or for your own vengeful purposes.
Even if you don’t have too much space outside, a small water tank can reduce the amount of water you use, save a bit of cash and make you a little bit more self-sufficient.
Okay, you’re probably not going to be growing wheat, grinding it down and making flour anytime soon. But you can get a big old sack of wheat flour from the market and start baking. It’s a fairly simple skill to get a hold of, and the bread you bake tastes so much better than this nonsense.
You can even get a bit creative with your doughs, chuck in some fruit or herbs to put your own spin on your loaf. There’s plenty of breadspiration here. And by baking your own bread you can stop giving all of your money to the fat cat bakery elite.
Making your own cheese and yoghurt is not only an exercise in culinary creativity, but it can mean that you will never have to chuck out milk nearing its use-by date again. Yoghurt and soft cheeses are surprisingly easy to get started with, although there are plenty of cheesemakers running classes.
Not only is composting a great way to reduce your household waste that ends up at landfill, but a properly maintained compost is one of the best thing you can use to prepare your veggie patch’s soil. All you need to start composting is a compost bin, which you can choose to build yourself or buy.
Tip: Keep a container for food scraps under your sink in your kitchen that way you’re more likely to think about compost before chucking out food scraps.
What are your tips and reasons for becoming more self-sufficient? Perhaps you’re wanting to reduce your home’s environmental legacy or maybe you’re convinced that the world is going to end via a deadly (if hilarious) nuclear holocaust/pie fight. Let us know below in the comments.
And don't forget that you can always share the ways in which you live a greenlife by using the hashtag #liveagreenlife.