I don’t know about you all but winter kills me!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the colder weather because I can’t stand being hot. The way I see it, I can always add more clothes, but you can only go so far with taking clothes off.
However, winter is also a time where it feels like you have to just sit around and twiddle your thumbs.
Well, for people who live on and work a homestead, this can feel like agony. But over the years I have found a few ways to stay productive during the winter months and not go quite so stir-crazy.
So if the winter months drive you up the wall too, then you’ll want to consider a few of these ideas.
Here is How to Keep Busy and have a Productive Winter
Are you a hunter? If so, then winter time is a great time to enjoy this sport. In most areas, hunting season opens in October and closes the first part of January.
Granted, this may not carry you all the way through winter, but it is a good way to kick the season off.
So if you are looking for something to pass the time and still be outside or productive this winter season, then consider building a deer stand and hunting for your meat supply this upcoming year.
2. Pack Your Freezer
You probably guessed that after you hunt an animal, I’m going to suggest that you butcher and process the meat yourself.
Believe me when I tell you, if you hunt your own meat and process it too, you’ll be quite productive. We do this every year, and I love it.
Actually, we have family members that like to hunt more than they like to eat what they hunt. So we not only get what we hunt but most of their meat supply as well as long as we butcher and process it ourselves.
So this is a great way to ensure that your family has lots of meat for the year to come, and it also keeps you pushing forward around your homestead too.
3. Let the Salt Fly
This is something we’ve only recently started doing, but we have friends that have a hog farm. They’ll often give us their pigs that aren’t putting on weight fast enough.
But we don’t care if they are a little smaller than the rest, and it gives our friends a break from butchering underweight hogs.
However, when you butcher pigs, you can stick with green hams and pork chops if you like. Or you can use the winter months to begin curing hams and making bacon too.
So we’ve recently started doing this. It is a great skill to learn, and it will definitely keep you busy over the winter.
4. Build Without Breaking a Sweat
Would you believe we love winter because my husband and I agree that it is the perfect building season?
See, he and I both don’t enjoy working outside when it’s 90 degrees, and the sweat is just pouring off of us.
So during the summer, we do what has to be done, which is still plenty. But our extra building projects (like a smokehouse, home remodel projects, a front porch, etc.) we usually wait until winter time hits to do these things.
And the reason is that we can do them and not break a sweat. So if you are like us and don’t like building the extras around your home or homestead when you feel like you are sweating to death, then utilize the winter to do some of those projects.
Actually, you’d be surprised the projects we’ve built with snow on the ground.
5. Become a Planner
One thing I use the winter months for is to be organized and get my game plan together for the next growing season.
So I will usually get my garden planned out, know when I need to plant things, decide if I’m going to add anything new to the homestead that year, and also do the research for the new projects too.
Now, this may not keep you outside and moving, but your brain will be working overtime trying to get everything planned out and on paper to make things easier when it is time to get started.
So even when the weather is too nasty to do anything outside, you can still make plans for when the weather clears. It is a great time to search through all of those YouTube videos and learn a new skill too.
6. Make Something
I’m trying to get better at this. I feel like life is always so swamped around my house. We are gardening and canning when the temperatures are warm.
Then we are butchering meat and building projects when the temperatures are cold. When the weather is too nasty to be outside, I’m planning for the next year.
But I rarely have time to actually make things. However, I’m trying to make more time to do these things and there is no better time to start than winter.
So when you wake up on those blustery mornings and think, “There is no way I’m going out in this!” Don’t sit down and get blue.
Instead, pull out your crochet needle, your knitting needles, your cross-stitch, or any other crafty materials you may need and get busy making things with your own hands. Winter is the perfect time to make your home cozier and also to make things for those you love.
7. Get a Jump Start
You are going to laugh, but our homestead dream was actually born in the middle of winter. And I’m not just talking about the idea. We actually started building a homestead when there was snow on the ground.
So if you want to get a jumpstart on the growing season, then depending on where you live, you may be able to do just what we did. We built a greenhouse in January.
Then we started by planting heartier vegetables in the greenhouse until we could get our own seeds started. I was never so happy to have fresh veggies in the middle of winter in all my life.
8. Put Your Kitchen to Work
The next thing you can do to stay productive over winter is to get into the kitchen and get busy cooking. You may not want to do this every day, but it is never a bad idea to put some freezer meals together for days you don’t necessarily feel like cooking.
Or you could bake some items for your enjoyment or share with a friend.
Personally, I love to cook. I go in waves though. So when I feel like cooking, I cook a bunch for those days when I just don’t feel like it. Winter allows you to plan your meals ahead too.
9. Stock Your Pantry
Most people think canning season is in the middle of summer, and they would be correct if you are talking about canning your garden excess.
But I actually do a lot of canning over winter too. The reason is we are processing meat over the winter.
Plus, when I’m making room for things in our freezer, I begin to pull out what’s left from last year. If it’s sausage, a lot of times I’ll brown it up and can it to have on hand for a quick breakfast hash.
Or if it’s leftover venison roast, I’ll cut it into squares and can it as deer tips. I also use our venison to make and can chili for the year or to make other soups.
So winter is a great time to pull out your canner and put some savory dishes in a jar for later use.
10. Wood Work
Winter time always makes me think of my grandfather. He was great with building things and made some gorgeous pieces of furniture and other woodworking projects.
So he had a workshop in his basement that he’d go down to and piddle around in when it was too cold for him to do much else.
Which would be a great way for lots of people to stay productive over winter. If you have a covered spot that you could work in, then consider building something out of wood this winter. You could make a new kitchen table and chairs, a rocking chair, or a beautiful décor item.
11. Shiny Like a New Penny
I do this a lot over winter because it’s too cold to go outside. Any guesses? Cleaning! When you have a family living in a home, and it’s too cold to get outside you’ll soon realize that you’ll have more messes on your hands.
But whether you have a family living at home or not, winter is a great time to apply some elbow grease and deep clean your home. This helps to cut down on the clutter while you are cooped indoors, and it should be a help to your health as well since the winter is when a lot of illnesses come about.
So develop a cleaning schedule, learn how to clean on a budget, and make your home shine this winter.
12. DIY While You Clean
Sometimes I find myself running to the store to buy my daily cleaning products. Then there are times I make everything from scratch.
Well, winter is one of those times that I try to make as many homemade cleaning products as I can so when the busy season picks back up it will already be made.
So if you like to make your own DIY cleaning and laundry products, then utilize the extra time you have over winter to make these ahead of time.
Then you won’t have to worry about depending on the store when you are too busy to make them throughout the year.
13. DIY Daily Beauty Products
This is another area I often ebb and flow with. Sometimes I’ll have the time to make our hygiene products and then other times I won’t.
But you soon learn that by not making your own beauty products, it can actually be a huge budget buster.
So when you have the time this winter, consider making some of your daily needs (like toothpaste.) It could save you both time and money throughout the year.
Curious to know what type of products you can make yourself to save some money? Here is a great resource to help you with that.
So you now have a few ideas on how you can have a very productive winter. It is my hope this will help you fill your days so you don’t feel quite so constricted during these cold months.
But now it’s your turn. I want you to tell me what you do during the winter months. Do you take up a hobby?
We’d love to hear. Just leave us your thoughts in the space provided below.