Homesteading is no easy task but an entirely rewarding one if you play your cards right. To do that, you need to figure out ways to simplify things and make the most of what you have. While hard work is definitely a necessity, homesteading hacks will make your life a whole lot easier.
Of course when we talk homesteading hacks, we’re not trying to compromise quality of work. The purpose of these life hacks, as The Prairie Homestead defines it, is to help “increase productivity and efficiency” through “any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method.” In other words, you need to make use of your imagination and ingenuity to accomplish tasks without making things too complicated.
Homesteading Hacks for Cleaning
Most homesteaders would rather use not use chemicals for cleaning. They prefer natural cleaning agents instead of depending entirely on chemical-based detergents, abrasives, and acids.
Dirty windows? Remove those unsightly water stains with white distilled vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water and squirt away. If the stains are too stubborn, simply increase the concentration of vinegar.
A piece of bread soaked with vinegar will absorb the ungodly smell in your trash cash. Jus eave it inside overnight and the stench will be gone come morning.
Homesteading hacks also apply to wrinkled clothes. When ironing is not enough, spray the wrinkled clothes with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water.
Spray vinegar on things and places you don’t want your cat to linger around spraying their nasty stuff. This is also one of the effective homesteading hacks for keeping cats from making a scratching post out of your furniture.
Scrubbing the stains off your cooking ware is a waste of time and energy. Plus, it hurts on the elbows. Simply pour half a cup of vinegar and one cup of water in the pan and let it boil for 5 minutes or so.
Using baking soda for cleaning is one of the most popular homesteading hacks. While it is a chemical compound, baking soda has some health benefits. This common baking ingredient can treat heartburn, sunburn, itchiness, canker sores, calluses, and even slow down chronic kidney disease progression.
When it comes to household chores, baking soda mixed with water makes for a good tile grout cleaner. Simply make a paste out of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water then apply on the grout. Let it sit for a while before scrubbing of with a brush.
Use baking soda on pots and pans, plastic containers, and kitchen surfaces. It also absorbs foul smell when placed in the fridge. Good Housekeeping came up with a list 22 brilliant uses for baking soda. Check them out.
Baking Soda And White Vinegar
For really tough cleaning jobs, you’ll need both baking soda and white vinegar. Clogged sinks don’t stand a chance when you pour a cup of vinegar followed by half a cup of baking soda.
Combine these two homesteading hacks staples to clean up dirty stoves and keep the kitty litter and toilet less filthy.
Sea salt is another kitchen staple that plays a major part in a number of homesteading hacks, mostly related to cleaning. Use coarse salt to bring cast iron skillets back to their glory days. Just sprinkle some on the skillet (make sure it’s dry first) then use a sponge or paper towel to give it a good rubbing. Set it aside for 10 minutes or so before giving it a more thorough cleaning.
Mugs or cups that have become discolored from the five to ten cups of coffee you drink each day will look good as new with the help of some sea salt. All you have to do is to mix some salt with a little dish soap and use it to clean your favorite cup.
To clean cutting boards, rub it with a sliced lemon dipped in salt. The combination will bring back some of its luster while the lemon will give it a nice scent.
Homesteading Hacks for the Garden
Ideally, you have your on cow to provide you with milk on a regular basis. If you have to purchase your milk from the grocery, they likely come in plastic bottles or jugs.
Fortunately, there are tons of homesteading hacks you can do with these empty milk bottles so they don’t end up in the trash or in the oceans after just one use. One such hack is to turn the empty milk bottle into a watering can. Just punch holes on the cap, fill the bottle with water, put the cap back on, and water away.
PET bottles can also be turned into planters. This is actually one of the most common homesteading hacks around. Simply cut off the upper part of the plastic bottle and punch holes at the bottom before filling it up with soil and planting the seeds or seedling.
Make a self-watering vertical garden for your herbs and vegetables out of your collection of empty plastic bottles. Ask from your neighbors if you have to. This will help keep these plastic bottles from becoming garbage, at least for the time being.
For more homesteading hacks involving plastic bottles, check this Lifehack post.
Aside from weeds, pests are one of the biggest problems in the garden. You don’t need harmful chemicals to deal with them. All you need is duct tape.
Perhaps one of the more surprising homesteading hacks in this list, a small piece of duct tape can be used to get rid of bugs and their larvae on the leaves. Simply pat the leaves with the strip of tape and the pests and their eggs will stick to it and later die.
Homesteading Hacks for Your Chicken Coop
The more chickens you raise, the more waterers you need. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend precious dollars on store-brought watering stations. All you need are 1-gallon cans and 9-inch pans. Get the complete instructions here.
Do you have extra plastic bins or containers that you don’t have much use of? Or ones that are slightly broken that you’re thinking of just throwing them away? Don’t.
The worst part of rising chickens is dealing with all the poop. On the other hand, it’s good to have all those excrements as you can use them to naturally fertilize your garden.
To make things easier for you, use plastic bins as a poop catcher for your chickens. Simply fill the plastic bins with sand and a bit of hay then cover the top with chicken wire before placing them strategically in your coop.
Other Interesting Homesteading Hacks
Every home should have alternative light sources in case power goes out. Make sure you have one or more of the following: generator, rechargeable lamps, camping lanterns, flashlights, kerosene lamps, and candles. In case you have no access to any of these, use crayons.
Crayons can be lighted like a candle. Each one can last up to 30 minutes. That should be enough time to look for other light sources.
We’re going to assume that you prefer real coffee over the instant ones. If so, then you have lots of coffee grounds at your disposal. Well, don’t dispose of the yet.
Coffee grounds can be used for a number of homesteading hacks. A popular one is to turn it into an air freshener. This only applies to people who love that distinct coffee aroma.
You can do this in various ways. Pour some in an empty plastic cup then place it inside the bathroom or near the kitchen sink. If you wish to prolong the scent, place the grounds inside old stockings, tie it with a string then hang it where you need the air to smell better.
Mix coffee grounds to your compost to help with the drainage, water retention and aeration. The grounds also contain nitrogen, which is not instantly enjoyed by the soil. In the long run though, the nitrogen from the coffee grounds will make its way to the soil.
If we listed down all the homesteading hacks that ingenious people have come up with, we’d probably be able to write a whole book or even more. For now, make the most of these homesteading hacks by applying it to your life. We’ll be listing down more in the future so make sure to follow The Gentleman Pirate. And if you know or made up your own set of homesteading hacks, please do share with everyone else.
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