Not that we are a fine tuned machine by any stretch, however we have our moments! We have been able to work at our homestead steadily while working full time jobs and volunteering because of these hacks and some hard lessons learned. More on those lessons later 🙂
Here are my favorite hacks :
Homestead hack #10- Do your chores inside first.
I don’t mean everything but do the basics: dishes, throw laundry in, declutter the kitchen table, sweep, take something out for supper…you get it.The lure of the fresh air, sunshine and cute animals waiting is strong. But you will come inside to rush kids somewhere or go to an appointment, look around and think”WHO MADE THIS MESS?!?” I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!” If the basics are done, I can go outside, come in without feeling frazzled by so much to do inside as well. Then if I get distracted by cute mini horse cuddles, then all is good.
Homestead Hack #9- Get up early
I know, I know…..Its easy for me because I’m a morning person. An extra half an hour is all you need to breathe and enjoy that cup of tea or coffee, jot down a rough list, check the weather, browse a cookbook for supper, It is amazing how good you feel having just a small part of your day to straighten out a few thoughts.
Homestead hack #8- Whitewash or paint everything.
This is a trick from my grandmother who believed everything should have a good coat of white paint. Every spring we had to all whitewash the fences, and anything else not nailed down. But she was right. It brightens up everything, looks more finished, is inexpensive, and lets you wipe down some surfaces that need to be cleaned more regularly. We use rough boards sometimes for projects and these always look better painted. Your homestead should be a place you want to spend time.
Homestead Hack #7- It doesn’t matter what you have, take care of it.
We buy the best we can afford at the time. Usually that isn’t the top notch model. We don’t have the biggest house or the best barn or perfect machines (I am still waiting on my Mothers’ Day tractor). Just look after whatever you have. Design spaces to be easily cleaned. My first chicken coop was horrible to clean…so how much do you think I wanted to do it?? Try to keep property neat and tidy (kids are a work in progress), and repairs/projects done as quick as they can. If it can’t be fixed right away, get rid of it or take it to someone to fix. After a while, it will just feel like clutter and do more harm than good. Hello, hoarders is real, and they all started somewhere:)
Homestead Hack #6- Menu plan.
I have a chalkboard in my kitchen and write our meals for the week on it, EVERY WEEK. Be consistent in doing this and everyone will start to check it. I let the kids pick a day each to plan the meal, and I coordinate it with our work and activity schedules. I know what days they will have to fend for themselves (Ha! they love that), what days we will have leftovers ( usually when I have had a roast or bigger meal the day before) and what days we will have a treat day. This could be bbq at the beach, a picnic, a restaurant, or take out. Please note: the plan falls apart sometimes. Life happens, and someone needs to go to outpatients for stitches. We usually just switch out a night and eat from the vending machine. Ha. Not joking.
Homestead Hack #5- Surround yourself with like minded people.
These are your people-they will get it when you are looking for that just right type of jar for fermenting, or send you a pic when they are at the thrift store and see an egg basket. They may be online, or close by but you need these people. and they need you. They will be there when you have to trim your 300 lb sheep’s feet and your husband is having nothing to do with it. And you will be there for them to help when vaccinations need to be done. Or you need to hide a chicken you bought from your husband…you get the picture.
Homestead Hack #4- Don’t do everything.
Example: I grew up with our family processing our own chickens. I know the basics. Do I want to spend my entire day off killing, scalding, plucking and butchering 40 meat hens? NO,I do not….I want to enjoy homesteading and there are better things I can do with my time. For $3.50 a bird, I believe my licensed processor’s skills far surpass my efficiency and knowledge in recognizing any problems with the birds. I have only had one bird ever condemned for arthritis. Something I am fairly certain I would not have recognized. I do recognize my outsourcing this part of homesteading is valuable to me for my time can be spent elsewhere. Like painting. Or just about anything.
Homestead Hack #3 -Touch it once.
Oh we have all done it: moved the mail from the van to the porch, to the table, to the desk, to the pile by the computer, and next thing you know its an avalanche of paper. I heard this tip from a organization expert on Oprah years ago, and it stuck. When you bring the mail in, go through it right away. Sort it and touch it once putting it where it needs to go. Clearing off the table? Take things away and put them in their place right away, just don’t move them to the chair or the floor. Outside? Clear garbage right away to a bag. Have labelled spots for things so they can easily be put back by anyone. Ha. just kidding. It’ll be put back by you. But only once. Touch it once.
Homestead Hack #2 – If it takes under 10 minutes to do it, do it.
I love lists but I don’t like ones that look like it will take me all day. That is overwhelming. If something needs to be done, and it can be done in under 10 minutes (roughly), just do it. I go outside and see the feed bins are empty. It will take me under ten minutes to do all, and tomorrow morning when I have to work, I won’t have to stress about doing them. I need to make some calls, take the 10 minutes and get them done. I need to pick something out of the garden for supper, go do it now and its done. The trick is not to get distracted by the other things that may catch your attention. Make the bed (under 10 min) but ignore the mound of laundry until tonight when you can properly tackle it while watching the new “Call the Midwife” episode. Sigh, that sounds good…the things we dream about.
Homestead Hack #1- Don’t compare yourself to others.
Your homestead is YOUR homestead. It is a reflection of you and your family. Your values and goals. It will give you small moments of joy, peacefulness, and contentment. Those moments are to be held onto when you see someone else’s greenhouse ( sigh…going through this now) or their pasture, or even their animals and you don’t think yours’ measures up. Everyone is at a different place in their journey and, making things right for you can sometimes mean cutting back from doing meat hens one year, or acknowledge you probably aren’t going to be able to do bees this year. Maybe this is the year, you can’t expand anything. It’s okay. This too shall pass. Do not waste energy feeling like you don’t measure up. That energy is better spent on your family.
“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans”~Desiderata
It is my hope that if only one of these hacks speaks to you, it is worth me putting them to paper (or screen:).
Have a great week, peeps.