Friday Five: Pioneer essentials

The theme of this blog is “helping you be more self-sufficient no matter where you live”. Because I do believe that, even in you’re living in a tiny studio apartment, there are tasks you can do, projects you can complete, and skills you can learn that can bring you up a rung or two on the self-sufficiency ladders. 

To do that, though, you’re going to need supplies. The supplies don’t have to cost a lot and you can even buy many of them at the dollar store. Which is nice and means you’re not going to be out a lot of cash if your project or attempt at self-sufficiency doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. And since I don’t want you to waste money or time (or be annoyed with me that I even recommended this in the first place), I’ve identified 5 supplies you need to get you started and that you can use no matter what you’re living situation:

  1. Needle and thread. I know I mention sewing a lot but it really is an essential pioneer skill. It’s how they had clothes, blankets, curtains, napkins, and basically everything that kept them clothed, clean, and warm. Plus, knowing how to mend those items saves money over time. I recommend getting one of those little travel sewing kits and just practice stitching on random scraps of fabric or taking some of those extra buttons you have around and work on sewing those onto the scraps of fabric.
  2. Clothespins. Air drying your clothes is a little more time consuming than a dryer but if the power goes out, at least you can still have clean clothes. If you live in a neighborhood like I do, you probably can’t hang a clothesline in your backyard. But you can do it in your bathroom or some other space that doesn’t get used that often (tip: if you’re hanging clothes over carpet, put a tarp down. No one needs funky wet carpet smell). Clothespins are necessary to make this work. Also, you can use them for fun kids crafts. clothepins
  3. Canning jars. Or some other mechanism for reusable food storage. This is particularly helpful if you buy foods like dry beans, pasta, sugar, and flour in bulk. Having storage containers allows you to buy large bags/boxes and split them with a friend or neighbor (which helps prevent food waste) and let’s face it, sometimes spending a few extra dollars on storage jars saves a lot of space. If you have limited living or storage space, this is a way to maximize what you have. 

    Food storage essentials.
  4. Curtains. Windows. Love to have them, hate to clean them. Almost as much as I hate to clean their terrible friend, blinds. The pioneers didn’t have blinds but they did have curtains. Curtains serve a number of functions–the provide privacy, they can insulate your house with hot and cold, they’re decorative, and they’re easy to clean. Take them down, give ’em a quick wash, and they’re good as new. Plus, they’re way easier to install. Hanging curtains will make your place look pretty and provide a certain functional pioneer element.
  5. Seeds. Pioneers mostly ate what they grew, hunted, caught, and baked. That means, if you’re going to try to be more self-sufficient, you’re going to need to grow some of your own food. You can do this even if you live in an apartment or somewhere that doesn’t allow you to plant (container gardening FTW!). To do that, you’re going to need seeds. Seeds are inexpensive and can be bought pretty much anywhere. My husband even took some close to rotting potatoes and planted those. 

    From a set of 12 heirloom seeds packages, found on Amazon.
    From a set of 12 heirloom seeds packages, found on Amazon.

If you don’t have access to a dollar store or big box store like Walmart or Target, everything on this list can be purchased through Amazon instead. I believe that if you’re going to live a more pioneer lifestyle, you should easily be able to find what you need. No walking 28 miles in the snow on this prairie!

What items would you add to this list? Any you’d take off?

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