Does that word sound too familiar in your life? As of lately, me too. I’m doing all I can to declutter my plate a little so I can squeeze other things of importance back onto it.
But our homestead has been a little more demanding as of lately so I’m rolling with it until things change a little.
However, this busy season around our homestead has had me contemplating what I could do to make things a little lower maintenance.
Thankfully, I’ve come up with a few ideas and am in the process of putting them all into effect so I can have a little breathing room.
Here is what I’ve come up with to help make homesteading life a little lower maintenance. Hopefully, this will help you too if you feel like you are in a super busy period of your life.
Tips for a Low Maintenance Homestead
1. It All Starts in the Hen House
My plan of action to make my homestead lower maintenance all began with my chicken coop. I realized there were certain things that could be done to lighten my cleaning load without sacrificing the health of my chickens.
So I began the process by putting in a linoleum floor. That way when I do clean once a week, I just scoop everything out to compost, spray the floor off, and then add fresh chicken litter.
Next, I decided that the deep litter method is probably best to use in my hen house because then I don’t even have to clean the floor except for a few times a year. I allow everything to compost right where it sits without it being a nasty place for my girls.
Finally, I knew I needed to change my nesting boxes. My girls were liking them so much that I had a few that were just being plain lazy. They weren’t actually sitting on eggs. They just stayed in the boxes all of the time.
So I bought some of these nesting boxes, and so far it has helped to keep the nesting boxes clean enough that I can go every few days without having to worry about changing the nesting material out. They aren’t free like my old ones were, but they were worth the money my husband spent at our local store because of the time I’m not spending outside cleaning.
Our chickens are a huge priority of mine because I love my girls (and guys!) So finding ways to make their home cleaner without me having to become their personal maid makes things much lower maintenance around our homestead for me.
2. Cover that Garden Up
I’ve told you before how we tried a no-till garden and how it just didn’t work for us in the long run. The issue I have run into with gardening no matter which method I use is the amount of time I have to spend pulling weeds because we always plant such a huge garden.
So eventually I wised up and began investing in mulch. This time it wasn’t to compost and create better soil. It was to place around my plants once they took off in the garden. That way I’m not constantly battling weeds.
Basically, I place the mulch around the plants and in the walk ways. Then I allow them to smother the weeds out. If any weeds pop through it is very easy to remove them, and they don’t take over my garden and require so much time to pull them.
Also, it is a good idea to think about your garden location. We are always sure to place ours near a water source so it doesn’t require so much effort to water it.
But the great thing about using mulch in the garden is that it helps to hold the moisture in as well.
So mulch has been such a huge help in making my garden lower maintenance.
3. Add a Little Finesse to Your Homestead
While we are on the topic of mulch, do you not get tired of pulling weeds from your flower beds?
Well, I did. We’ve spent the past month trying to prune berry patches and vineyards on our property. It requires a lot of work. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to maintain all of this if I didn’t do something to lessen the work load.
So I decided to add a little finesse to my property and stop the weeds simultaneously. Yep, you guessed it. I mulched everything!
I had no shame what so ever! I mulched the vineyards around the plants, I mulched the walking paths between the rows, I mulched around fruit trees to make weed eating easier. If it could grow a weed around it, I mulched it!
So if you are sick of battling weeds, then I recommend mulching your property anywhere you may get them. It won’t stop them all, but it will certainly help you to control them a little better and in a natural way too.
4. Make Water Work for You
You will want to consider how to make your homestead low-maintenance before you really start it, if at all possible. The reason is that you’ll want to think low-maintenance when placing things in their location.
For instance, if you have a water source on your property, then you’ll want to put your livestock near it so you don’t have to haul water.
Or if you plan on catching rain water, then you’ll want to place your livestock and/or garden in a convenient location.
So make what water you have available work for you in terms of keeping things watered efficiently and effectively.
5. Feed in Abundance
Regardless if you have already got a fully functioning homestead or are beginning to build one, you’ll want to consider how you can feed your animals abundantly. This will keep you from having to feed all of the time.
For instance, before we moved and were able to put our goats on pasture I was constantly feeding them. Until finally, I wised up, and we put 3 hay feeders in their area. We had two built onto the fence and one in the middle of their area.
Now, I’m so thankful to have them on pasture because I don’t have to constantly check if they have enough food. As long as we have grass, they have food.
Also, I’ve started allowing my chickens to free range this summer for the exact same reason. When we first moved, I kept them cooped for a while with their run. I was feeding them lots of food, but because we had so many chickens that hatched just prior to us moving, I was flying through the feed.
So finally, I decided to allow them to free range. The birds always have plenty to eat, they are happy, and I have one less thing to do every day. I can just run by their feeder while I’m doing something else and make sure that they still have plenty of feed.
But I only have to refill every few days instead of every day.
Finally, I recommend creating large feeders for your animals. I use the PVC chicken feeders for my birds. I love it because I can put a quarter of a feed bag worth of food in one feeder, and I have 3 of them in the coop.
So this keeps my birds fed plentifully without me having to feed them every single day. These few tips have helped me to lessen my feeding time every day and therefore, making my homestead a little lower maintenance.
6. Declutter Your Life
Clutter kills your efficiency. If you don’t know where things are because of the clutter, then your homestead just became higher maintenance because of the time it takes to look for stuff.
Now, I’m not judging. My husband is a clutter bug. I love him, but he is. Naturally, I’m a neat freak to the highest degree.
So oddly enough, we go together quite well. Because of my obsession with everything being so neat and tidy, our homestead usually stays pretty cleaned up.
When we first moved here, things weren’t so tidy until we built our great little pole barn. Now, everything has its place and knowing where everything is has made my life on the homestead so much easier.
Also, it has saved me a ton of money because I don’t rebuy things that I can’t find. So I highly recommend putting an organizational system together on your homestead.
7. Easy Fencing
I had never used an electric fence prior to moving to the big homestead.
Now, I wouldn’t trade it for any other type of fence. It looks neat, is cost effective to put in place, and so far, has done exactly what I needed it to do.
So when looking to create a lower maintenance homestead, I recommend you start with the fencing. You need a fence that will keep everything where it is supposed to be.
Plus, you need one that is going to be easy and cheap to maintain. We used woven fencing on our small homestead. We thought it was a great choice, but our goats would use it to rub their heads, horns, and bodies on the woven fence.
Then they’d create gaps that if they wanted to fit through (or if the neighbor’s goats wanted to come in…which actually happened multiple times) they could.
Well, not with my electric fence. It can be unplugged, and my goats still won’t go near it. My ducks tried to get in the pasture one day and the fence shocked their tail feather, and they don’t go near it anymore either.
So I’m happy with my fence, and it has definitely made my homestead a little lower maintenance.
8. No Frills Policy
When it comes to our homestead, the deal is that we want it to function, be pretty, and be neat. I have a no frills policy.
Basically, this means, I plant flowers, we cut the grass, but I don’t do a lot of lawn ornaments or other décor outdoors. The reason is that it is just more things I have to keep up with.
Plus, it slows my son down when he mows. In my opinion, if he is willing to mow my yard so I don’t have to, I’ll toss anything that gets in your way so long as I don’t have to take 4 hours a week to do the job.
Seriously, it is such a huge help to me!
So I know a lot of people love to have lots of different decorations out and about on their property (and this is a personal choice), but for me, we opt out of it.
Usually, I have a few garden flags and some flower boxes to decorate, but that is about it.
9. Focus on the Homestead Home
Finally, we chose a home that was low maintenance. Our previous home on our smaller homestead was bigger, and when we remodeled it, I didn’t take a lot of consideration as to what it would be like cleaning it.
But when we moved, I intentionally down sized. I have a home that is easy to clean and smaller which means it cost much less to maintain it.
Now, if you already have an established homestead with a larger home on it and it works for you, keep going for it! For me, it just became too much.
So I knew when we upped our land quantity, I needed to cut down on the house. Which is exactly what we did.
Well, you now have 9 ideas on how you could potentially lighten your workload around your homestead. If you are feeling overwhelmed, see if any of these ideas might work for you.
Sadly, I know what it is like to just feel worn out from all of the daily upkeep and maintenance a homestead can require.
So begin examining your homestead and see if there is any way you can change some things around to make things a little easier on yourself.
But I’d like to hear from you. What do you do to keep the maintenance and daily grind of your homestead under control?
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