Preparing to Homestead #1: Things Needed- Even on a One Acre Homestead

Whether you are homesteading on one acre or a couple hundred acres, they all require a few things. Although this sounds like a bummer, it could be a blessing. As beautiful as nature is, even a perfectly nestled homestead will require a bit of work to make it sustainable for a family. So if you are still at the beginning stages of homesteading or know it is in your future, here are a few things every homestead should have.

(We have listed 10 that we believe are really needed essentials. However, we included 30+ more items we believe will be a help on the homestead giving you ample time to possibly locate, buy used or place on your wish list.)

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  1. Money- As much as I do not want to put this, it’s true. To have your own homestead you need money. Is it possible to tackle a lot of projects by barter or trading, but money is essential in your purchases of basic necessities, setup and upkeep.
  2. Land- Every homestead requires a place to homestead. Whether you have a half an acre or several hundred acres, land is essential to begin. If you do not have your “place” chosen, give yourself ample time to find the right qualities. Some homesteaders are very successful on an acre because of the soil, location, setup and surrounding land. Other homesteaders need much more acreage to make things more sustainable. Do some research of the land in which you want to homestead.
  3. References- I love this one, because it is essential. With the nostalgia of homestead picking up, there are so many resources today on homesteading. It’s awesome! My absolute favorite though is an oldie, but goodie. I really treasure the Carla Emery Book as a reference. It is packed full of knowledge on growing, using, preserving tidbits. Perhaps it reminds me of the valuable information I was taught growing up or she reminds me of a few mentors as a child; but if you look past the personal stories (which I do not mind the peek into her life) it is packed full of a wealth of information. Now the several new additions have left some things out, keep that in mind. Either way, you need some reference books. Books with some wisdom, perhaps building plans for animal housing, and what have you. (Country living, Storey’s Guide, Homesteading, Urban Homesteading, check out my “5 Books Beginner All Homesteaders Should Have on their Shelf” post.)
  4. Jars- Glass jars of every size. These guys come in handy. Uses include dry storage, canning, drinking glasses, personal baking pans, homemade mixes, seasonings, gifts, and etc. Canning jars are obviously versatile, but do not forget the jars you purchase at the store already. Although, these are not recommended for pressure canning your food for storage, they still work great for dry storage, pickled foods,sour kraut, seed saving, drink ware, planting and so forth. If you have ample time to start saving jars, this can be a huge money saver for the homestead.
  5. Kitchen Tools- Let’s face it, a large part of homesteading is putting up the food. Whether we are canning, dehydrating, pickling or freezing our produce, foraged goods or harvested meat; it takes tools. By this I am referring to a good knife set, peelers, a crockpot, blender, stock pots, a knife sharpener, and etc. Below will be more specific about helpful tools, gadgets and such if you are able to afford them or upgrade to a high quality over time.
  6. A Water-bath Canner– Even the basic of these can be found at yard sales or even local thrift stores. Essential for large scale cooking and storing those bountiful treasures.
  7. Cast Iron Cookware- Even an investment into one pan will save money over time. Their durability and hold makes them the best cookware by far. Best of all, they work for stove-top and oven. (They don’t even melt at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit- useful information right there!)
  8. Garden Tools- If you only picked one thing to do on your homestead to be frugal or more self sufficient, the biggest impact would be to garden. Were else can you take $.99 and turn it into $3-$29? Yes that is a wide range, but it depends on what we are talking about, where you live, your existing soil conditions, etc. Get some garden tools. Even freebie milk jugs make great planters. A hand trowel and garden gloves would be a great investment.
  9. Boots- Perhaps you are on your feet all day already, but this was essential to us because you need good footwear. Homesteading will have you one your feet all day long. If you can save for them now, do so. Invest, it is one investment you will be thankful for.
  10. Medical Supplies- For obvious reasons this is already essential, but out on the homestead you may find yourself using it more for your family. (Two and four legged.) Start creating a medical supply. We now have our immediate first aid kit, and then a tote of supplies with more not so everyday essentials because we are further from town. We also keep birthing kits for those less/ annual used supplies for our four-legged creatures. You never know when you may be able to hold over a sick creature or beloved pet. (Until you are able to get to or have a veterinarian to come out.)
  11. A Kitchen Aid– The BEST wedding gift by far we received. I can make everything with it! From basic recipes, to yeast doughs, meat grinding, pasta making, sausage stuffing, we love our kitchen aid and it was a great “test” to see if our investment into the individual gadgets would really be used and worth the investment.
  12. Seeds- Planting is by far the greatest investment we have made in homesteading. Even a small bit. And although seeds should really be bought yearly, we have planted 10-15 year old seeds and have had 80%+ germination. So collecting a seed stock pile is really worth it. I am so happy that this last year when certain seeds were harder to get, we had those particular varieties on hand.
  13. A Good Shovel- Probably next to the hand tools, this is the most used item on our homestead.
  14. Weather Radio– Safety first! 😉
  15. Rope and Chains- Whether it’s drying clothes, tying up a loose critter, rigging a tarp over your latest purchase. Rope is a great item to have. If you are a better planner than us, it can be purchased certain times of year on discount. For us, next to clothes line and Come-Along (straps/ chains), I just pick up what we need as we need it. It’s not something people part with, including chains.
  16. A Pressure Canner– Essential and if you do not already can, practice makes perfect. It’s a great skill to start using today!
  17. A Food Dehydrator- Great for food storage! Since we have always canned, we have been drying more goods to include more varieties and it takes up less space on the shelf. (And we like to hike & backpack)
  18. Pails- Whether you are hauling food to the critters, using them to plant vegetables or creating your own projects, pail can be used for many things.
  19. Baskets- Our collection of baskets goes up in the winter and back down by the end of summer. Baskets for eggs, produce, flowers, foraging, decor, and much more.
  20. DIY Compost Area or a Compost- Great way to start building up soil and reducing waste.
  21. Wheel Barrow or Wagon- Ease the load, get a wheel barrow or wagon. (Or both!)
  22. A Pickup Truck- Not that I haven’t hauled four legged critters in the back of a van,
  23. Electric Peeler- Get the job done in half the time. If not an electric, an apple peeler specifically is great!
  24. Wire Cutters or Fencing Pliers
  25. A Rake
  26. A Hat- Not everyone tans! 🙂
  27. Watering Hose
  28. A Digital Scale- Great if you buy bulk or want exact measurements. Baked goods have great results with more accurate measurements. Not to mention some great recipes passed down from generation to generation were given in weight. (To be honest I used this every time I make soap, lotions and home products.)
  29. Food Processor
  30. Blender– I love this and make more food with it now, than I ever imagined I would.I did not use it often for a few years except for summer drinks and a few miscellaneous things, but all of our greens and puree are make with the blender from spinach pancakes to smoothie pop-sickles, etc.
  31. Candles & Oil Lamps
  32. Plant Markers– Unless you are really good at guessing and know your plants. 😉
  33. Beehives– A great way to double or even triple your harvest. (Unless you hand pollinate.)
  34. Fencing
  35. Kitchen-Aid
  36. Hammer & Nails
  37. Level
  38. Tape Measure
  39. Cordless Drill & Various Electric Tools
  40. An Air Compressor
  41. Animal Crates
  42. A Shed or Barn
  43. An Incubator
  44. Thermometers- (For the animals)
  45. A chainsaw
  46. Animal Pens
  47. ATV, Side by side, etc
  48. A firearm or something to ward off Predators
  49. A Bow or Hunting Supplies
  50. Fishing Supplies- A pole, a couple hooks, a bobber and a can of worms goes a long way and can put many meals on the table. One of the first meats I learned to harvest and clean young in life. My grandpa’s motto was if you can hold a fishing pole, you can hold a spoon. (Cleaning panfish.)
  51. Patience
  52. A Sense of Humor
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Now although this could be a growing and continual working list, it is wonderful to have an idea or things we can begin to locate, gather or even pick up. So, if you are wondering if you can homestead and how to save $ or do so inexpensively, I can honestly say most of these can be found bartering, trading, purchased used, purchased inexpensive and sometimes even found free.

All in all, if there’s a will and determination; there’s a way! Happy Homesteading!