How to Be Self-Sufficient in the City

I dream of owning a cabin in the woods or at least a piece of property one day. I have always lived in the city and most of my adult life has been spent in apartment living and/or living with roommates and now my family. For the longest time, I felt this really limited me on being self sufficient and fulfilling my dreams of becoming less dependent on things you find in urban areas such as grocery stores, restaurants, big box retailers and of course modern life.

The truth is, I have not figured out how to let my apartment manager allow me to put up solar panels and I have not dug my own well. In fact, I haven’t even bought a single chicken to keep. However, I have found ways to be more self sufficient while still living a city life. While I don’t prefer city living, it’s where I am right now and I try to make the most of it. Here are some tips for being self sufficient in an apartment.

How to Be Self-Sufficient in an Apartment

Garden in any way you can. For us, this means container gardening in the vast majority of places we have lived. While this isn’t something that will produce mass amounts of food for us all year long, it is something we do to help us have some control over where our food comes from at least part of the year. The trick is to research what grows well in containers (for us, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, strawberries and peppers do well), as well as what grows well in your area. You want to start

your garden as seedlings indoors about February in most climates so by the time the last frost happens you can plant them in containers. If you don’t have the luck of having a deck or patio to grow on, try finding out if there is a community garden you can rent a plot from.

Learn some skills. Sewing is a great skill to have that will allow you to not need the services of a tailor and will allow you to modify thrift store finds to your liking rather than buying new stuff. You can also make lots of things you can use at home so you don’t have to buy as well.

Make a lot of your own cleaning supplies and personal care stuff. Making cleaning supplies and personal care stuff has made me feel very self-sufficient in so many ways. If I run out of something, I just make some more as I keep the supplies on hand. For instance, I have been making my own soft scrub for the sinks, toilets, showers and counter tops for years. It takes me just minutes to make and it’s not toxic to breathe in.

Shop locally and become a regular at the farmer’s markets. While it can be hard to garden depending on your space, shopping locally and checking out farmer’s markets in your area allows you to not rely on far away farmed items and keeps your money locally. This allows you to really eat in season and less relying on what the big box stores have or what they have on sale.

Learn the art of canning. Canning can be a great way to be self-sufficient as it is literally a practice that keeps you in stock of items you use a lot so your need to visit the store will become less and less. You don’t have to stop at canning just pickles and beets, either. You can can your own sauces and mixtures of things you need most often.

Repurpose anything you can. To avoid having to depend so much on stores and frequenting them, start using things more than once and for more than one purpose. I have found that just about anything can be reused for something else. The less you have to buy, the less you are reliant on others and stores.

How to Be Self Sufficient in an Apartment- If your heart longs for rural areas, but you are stuck in the city, here are some simple ways to be more self sufficient in an apartment.

3 Replies to “How to Be Self-Sufficient in the City”

  1. I really enjoyed your post, and rest assured you will have that cabin in the woods one day maybe even have a chicken or two. For decades I lived in apartments in cities my heart always wanting a place of my own. I moved to Florida about 22 years ago for the first few years I lived in apartments and was fortunate to have a little space 3’x4′ that I was allowed to garden in right outside my patio door. My next apartment I had a small enclosed courtyard type patio did all my gardening in containers and grew all types of veggies and herbs and started a bamboo tree from a 2 inch piece. 5 years ago I moved into a house with a huge backyard the first year my garden did well but the next two years I lost everything once to the lubber grasshopper and the following year to torrential rains for 10 days, the next year I went back to growing in containers. The bamboo tree has grown higher than my houses roof and I plan to take it with my when I move next year.

  2. Excellent post! everyone should grow fruit indoors! I grow fruit trees indoors in my apartment all year as I don’t have a garden. Everyone should try and grow food as there is nothing more satisfying!

  3. Re purposing things is such a great move to reduce dependence on stores and save a few bucks. Repairing things yourself is another our fam does frequently. I also love my veggies and herbs I grow indoors!
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