5 Simple Ways to Get Started with Self Sufficiency
Updated: Mar 29
So you heard the word 'self sufficiency' floating around and probably think of it as - moving to the country side with a huge land to raise animals & maintain gardens and living off the grid, right? That maybe one version of being self sufficient but for people who want to get started or start contributing little things, nirvana state of being self sufficient may scare us off. So my goal in this article is to share 5 simple ways anyone can get started with self sufficiency and yes that 'anyone' includes even the IT crowd.
Your motivation to start living in a more self-sufficient manner can be anything from - to take less of a toll on the environment, or want to eat clean and organic food in sustainable manner, or feel sick of depending on someone for even simple things, or fed-up with non-stop scrolling of your smartphone apps and wants to start living simple for ultimate peace of mind. Whatever the reason might be, the following list of things can get you started and make you feel good as you go through the journey.
Before I jump into the details, the general well accepted list of our basic needs are - food, shelter, water, energy, finances, and relationships. Since this is a list to get you started and not necessarily reach the complete self-sufficient state, the focus of the article would be food, shelter, and finances. So let's dig into it.
1. Start a veggie garden
Growing your own vegetables and fruits can be fun while providing the ingredients for making delicious food that's organic and healthy. If you haven’t done it, start gardening now - no matter how big or small it is and how experienced or novice you are.
One key element here is organic gardening. If you are running to Lowes or Home Depot for pesticides and fertilizers then you are doing it wrong. There are numerous resources you can find around controlling pests naturally (by mixing the crops as per Permaculture or by spraying natural repellents like neem oils etc.) and fertilizing the crops with natural compost from kitchen scraps (a simple guide for no nonsense composting can be found here). So just do bit of research for your gardening needs.
If you are not sure where to start, focus on a few simple crops: tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, and beans etc. that fits with your food habits. Once you get the rhythm of growing food and eating the fresh veggies, you will automatically want to expand your garden. As simple as getting the curry leaf or cilantro from garden brings you whole lot of self satisfaction once you start doing it.
2. Cook you own food (and store it as needed)
One of the key items in self sufficiency is to not run into the store or restaurant for every possible food needs that we may have. This is not to say that we can simply stop going to grocery stores but as we work through the journey, in addition to gardening the next best thing to practice is cooking your food and preferably taking care of whole lifecycle.
The lifecycle of satisfying our hunger goes something like this - grow the food in a veggie garden, cook the food with the veggies from garden and collect the scraps while you are at it, eat the food and satisfy your hunger, use the scraps for prepping the compost, and finally use the compost as fertilizer for veggie garden.
An extension to this lifecycle is to save the seeds from the crops. As it turns out, the plants evolve over time to the conditions that they grow in and saving the seeds from the plants we grow will give us good yield in the long run. I was lucky enough to get the seeds from my friends and am practicing the collection myself as well.
3. Upgrade your shelter
Now upgrading your shelter doesn't mean that you equip it with the most up-to-date appliances, and smart home devices. Instead, upgrade your shelter with the equipment that you need to enhance your self sufficiency. A good list to begin with is equip with Solar energy and have some kind of rain water harvesting system if you have your own property. If you live in an apartment, a good upgrade to your house can be small patio garden. Whether you are in a house or an apartment, consider doing little things that will move you towards the ultimate end goal.
One of the best upgrade you can do to your shelter is downsizing it if you are a small family like us. Generally, the more space you have the more furniture you have to fill it up with and more time & energy you have to spend to clean it. Instead the same time can be spent on DIYs.
4. Experiment with DIYs
These days it's very easy to find a video for anything you want to do. So start experimenting with some DIYs. A good place to start is messing around with small things in your house and get familiar with them. Generally your mileage may vary as your expertise with DIYs can be different but whatever the activity is, you just feel good at the end of it with the feeling of 'I did it'.
If you are like previous versions of us and call the maintenance guy for pretty much everything from changing a shower head to replacing a light bulb, start with small things like we did (when we embraced the self sufficiency) - we replaced the deadbolts, installed privacy films for the glass, built composting setup, worked on items in garden, and the small DIY list goes on. This is not much for seasoned guys but a start is a start. Generally this promotes utilizing the simple things we have handy and makes us mentally prepared for bigger DIYs in future.
5. Start to live your life simple
And the final and probably the most important item is to start living your life 'simple'. Because you are living simply, the chances are that you are not going to waste lot of resources - be it furniture or electronics or whatever. You are also less likely to eat out with a simple lifestyle. As someone once said 'simplicity is the greatest cities among all cities', you will be doing lot of good in the long run by embracing this life style. The less you need, the less junk you will generate.
The other benefit of simplicity is that you are less likely to max-out on your credit cards and end up in a debt. One of the agreed upon principles of self-sufficiency is being debt free and living simple life is a great step in that direction.
That's it from me and hope this was helpful to you. Peace !!!
On a side note, if you have any other ideas or suggestion please leave them in the comments below for helping other readers. I will add the best ones to the article in future.