What is Homesteading?

What is homesteading by the way? The dictionary defines it as any dwelling with its land and buildings where a family makes its home, a house or estate and the adjoining land, buildings, etc, esp a farm. I’m from the city, so  I have never been much into the cultural definition of the word which may imply “living off the grid”, being self-sufficient and canning all of our food for winter, etc. Don’t get me wrong, this has become very appealing to me and I have looked into all of that. I even have a canner in storage just waiting to be used. We live on a farm, so a certain amount of homesteading just comes with the territory.

Like giving up our dryer for instance. Yes, we still have one, tucked away in a closet under the stairs. It’s hooked up, and we use it a few times a year but typically never in spring, summer and fall. I really hated that at first, I was really used to the comforts and convenience of throwing things in the dryer. But hanging the clothes out has really grown on me for a few reasons.
clothes line

  • The obvious basic reason is it saves on our utility bill. Our electric bill is well under $100 a month because we work at keeping it that way. Any appliance that has a heating element uses a lot of energy, so we choose to not use the dryer as a way to save an extra couple hundred dollars a year.
  • It forces me to go outside. Sometimes a few hours will go by where I have been working, or sitting at my computer working and I realize, “I haven’t even been outside today”! Hanging out the clothes sort of forces you to get up every hour, hang out another load, bring some in. And it gets the kids outside too.
  • It’s a little bit therapeutic. Yes, I cant believe I am saying that, but its true. As much as I disliked the extra work at first, I have come to enjoy the simple satisfaction of getting everything out on the line at one time and methodically putting it in place. I am a little particular about how it goes on, but that’s another story.
  • The sunshine naturally whitens and disinfects. I didn’t know this before I started doing it, but its proven that the sunshine will kill germs and whiten whites in a way that conventional laundry practices just can’t do.
  • Your clothes will last longer. The dryer creates a lot of wear and tear on your clothes, hanging them out to dry eliminates unnecessary friction and possible abrasions.
  • Everything smells amazing. There is nothing like the crisp feel and smell of sheets still warm from the sunshine on your bed. They just feel amazing and have a wonderful smell to them.
  • It’s faster. I can hang 4-5 loads of laundry out on the line and have them drying way faster then it would take to dry them conventionally. If it is a breezy sunny day, the clothes will dry super fast and you can be done pretty quick.

I know this isn’t for everyone. Some people just love their dryer, I still love mine. You also may be in an area that does not allow a clothesline, like some neighborhoods that have housing associations. Or you may not have room or resources to install one. There are plenty of other ways to save money on your homestead. But, if you are looking to save money on your utility bills, give the clothes line a try.

Another area where homesteading has a strong focus is growing and preserving your own food. We have a garden every year, and usually end up with more tomatoes then I know what to do with. But it’s been a slow learning process to see what works for our family.

We are also blessed to have wonderful neighbors who like to share, and I’m hoping we can work on a bartering system in the future so we can offer them something as well.

Your home or “homestead” is a reflection of you, whether its modern, traditional or eclectic. The creation of your home should be a place that is warm and welcoming,  a place where people gather to share stories, tears and joys. So is your aim complete self sufficiency, total reliance, or something in between? I find myself somewhere between enjoying the smell of baking bread, and shelling peas straight out of my organic garden to running to Marshalls for a new Ralph Lauren bag. 👜 I’m a city girl at heart, and that’s just me. I can adapt and find new ways to do things, but I will always enjoy the beautiful things and comforts this life has to offer. Join me as I share more stories from our homestead. ❤
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