If you are at all part of the modern homesteading movement, you probably have a list of new things you would like to try: animals you want, crops you hope to plant, and skills you want to know. While it is easy to get up on the roller coaster of doing more, in reality, choosing to homestead generally means the just the opposite. Modern homesteading is far more about doing less than doing more.
When you choose to engage in modern homesteading, you are consciously selecting what is most important to you, your family, your community and the earth. You are moving away from the wants that control our lives and focusing more on the things you need. In our daily lives, it easy to choose what we consider the easy route: throwing laundry in the dryer instead of air drying, buying an extra pair of shoes just because (even though you have 5 similar pairs), or grabbing a few processed foods from the store instead of making your own from scratch. But if you pause to consider the hidden costs behind your choices, suddenly those choices aren’t really easy.
So what do we really need in life? Of course we need food and shelter, and as humans we want to feel needed, valued and productive. We need to feel that our actions, however small, truly matter. Does choosing the easy route really meet those needs? Now I will admit that from time to time, when the pile of laundry overwhelms me, I toss the wet clothes into the dryer instead of hanging them to dry. But, what if I rethought my life? What if I decided that the million other things that occur in my life were less important than the simple act of hang drying my clothing?
When you start to slow down your life and cut out the many things that are wants and not needs, your day suddenly opens up. Just today, my husband and I were debating over whether to drive an extra 20 minutes to pick up bags for our vacuum. It boiled down to 2 choices: drive and get the bags and use up time with the family and gas, or wait until we’re headed that way later this week and deal with a dirty house. When we stepped back and looked at the big picture, at what really mattered, suddenly a little dirt on the floor seemed a small price to pay.
Modern homesteading is not about doing more, it is about doing less. It is about gaining perspective and consciously choosing a way of life.
How do you choose to do less by doing more in your backyard farm?