How to Improve Your Homestead Skills

essential skills Nov 10, 2020
homestead, off grid living

Many people that I’ve met that live a self sufficient lifestyle are motivated, flexible, self-starters. They are hardy do-it-yourself types, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.  This is because being able to manage your own resources and provide most of your daily needs actually requires a considerable amount of skill and knowledge. Perhaps this is one of the things that intimidates most people and holds them back from starting this type of lifestyle.  Fortunately, there are several options to improve your homestead skills.  That is the focus of this post.     

What if you had to build you own house? Provide your own electricity? Repair your roof? Build a shed? Install your own water purification system? Grow your own vegetables? Provide your own source of meat? What if you had an important project to complete,hiring someone was not an option, and you had no idea where to start? Could you figure it out? 

If you are not accustomed to this way of thinking, this can be intimidating. But, you have to start somewhere in order to improve your homestead skills. What you will find is that as you learn more and complete increasingly difficult projects, you will gain a considerable amount of confidence. Sooner or later you will get to a point when you will not hesitate to take on some sort of new project that you’ve never done before. 

So, let’s get to it and discuss several ways to improve your homestead skills.  

How to Improve Your Homestead Skills

1) Take a Free Workshop or Class

Most home improvement stores offer a wide variety of classes on home repairs, often for free or minimal cost. They usually have a class schedule posted in the store or you can find this information online.  If they do not offer classes, they often have associates that are experts in a particular field.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

Over all I’ve had great experiences with the big home improvement stores. They are great for lots of things and have all the best tools and toys. That said, I’ve had even better experience with the local, smaller hardware stores.  Often their staff have been in the business for years and have first hand experience on many projects.  They can truly be a wealth of knowledge and provide some valuable advice. 

Once you learn a few things, then purchase a few tools and take on some simple projects.  You will be surprised how empowering this can be.  Take on a few simple things that cost very little money. Then move on to something more difficult. 

Over the time that I’ve had my cabin, there have been numerous projects I’ve complete without having any prior experience. I had to read, do research, ask for advice, and sometimes take classes.  I can say from personal experience that if you put a little time and effort into this you will soon be doing many things you never thought possible.  Make the investment in yourself and your homestead skills and learn to do things yourself. 

2) Ask A Neighbor or Work with Friends and Family

If you are completely new to home repairs and need some advice, chances are one of your neighbors is much more experienced.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  In turn, if they have their own home improvement projects, ask if you can help so that it can be a learning experience. 

Another great opportunity would be to work along side friends and family.  If someone you have a personal relationship with is especially good at home repairs, it could be a great way for you to learn some new skills.  

In turn, if you have a particular skill you can also trade labor with neighbors and friends. In this case, it may be a good idea to assign a value to each project to make sure that no one feels they are being taken advantage of.

3) Websites and Blogs

If you simply do a search on “how to learn home improvement” you can easily find numerous sites where you can learn almost anything related to home repairs and improvements. There is so much valuable information out there it makes a great deal of sense to take advantage of this in every way. In no time at all, you should be able to find hundreds of articles on numerous valuable topics that will get you on your way to improving your homestead skills.     

But, to help point you in the right direction, here is a list of some of my favorites: 

Home Tips is a wonderful website with thousands of articles on home repair and maintenance.  Visit this great site by going here. They even have a great introductory guide on How Things Work.

 Family Handyman is an extensive site. Knowledge areas are broken down into categories and each article is dedicated to solving a particular problem. This makes it easy to search the site and solve one problem at a time.  

If you want to make home improvements on a budget, then visit Remodelaholic. 

If you are a complete novice to home improvements, and simply want some expert advice, then visit DIYNetwork.

4) Books and Magazines

Many DIY experts regularly share their knowledge by writing for magazines and even writing books.  Search online for top rated books on the subject of your choice. You can also visit your local bookstores and ask the staff for recommendations.  Your local library can also be a great source of free information.

5) Community Colleges

Many community colleges have programs geared toward certification of contractors. They also offer basic job training in various areas of home improvement such as plumbing, carpentry, HVAC, and electrical. These classes are often very affordable. However, they do require much more of a commitment, such as potentially 14 to 16 weeks. You will most likely have homework and exams.  But if you are seriously committed to improving your homestead skills, this may be the way to go. 

6) YouTube 

As you may already know, YouTube has thousands of videos on every subject you can possibly imagine.  You should have no trouble at all finding helpful videos on all sorts of homestead skills. 

7) Volunteer to Build Experience

A great way to get hands on experience on building a house is to sign up for your local Habitat for Humanity.  On each site, they have someone on hand to answer questions and make sure the project is completed correctly. You can get a lot of experience very quickly especially if there are not a lot of volunteers on the project.  

8) Learn from Contractors

If you ultimately have to hire a contractor to do a job, there is no reason why you cannot learn from them while they are completing your project. Show some interest in what they are doing and ask some questions.  There is a good chance you will learn some techniques that you can use in the future. 

It used to be the norm that everyone did things themselves.  The skills that were learned were then passed down.  Unfortunately, this is a lost practice and most people pay professionals a lot of money for projects that they could actually do themselves.  So, learn as much as you can and practice, practice, practice. 

I hope you can put these tips to use and improve your homestead skills.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of doing things yourself, then go here.


Go off grid and live well,


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