It’s all gone to shit. The world is changing fast and unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, I’m sure you are well aware of the World’s plastic crisis, climate change, rising sea levels, fires, flooding and the increasing threat of a new World War- basically we are in deep, deep shit. I wish none of this was true, but unfortunately it is. The world is FUBAR.
Self sufficiency- The quality or state of being able to provide everything you need, especially food, without the help of other people or countries.
The quality of being able to take care of yourself, to be happy, or to deal with problems, without help from other people.
I have been writing on the topics of waste reduction, self sufficiency and frugal living for a number of years now. When I started out, there were a select few of us who saw this coming. We were called ‘radicals’, ‘hippies’ and ‘insane’ by many. Hell, even The Sun newspaper personally ripped me a new one once. But now opinions have changed. When I started our self sufficiency journey, most people thought I was just doing it just in case the Zombie apocalypse or Ebola kicked off. But now, I do it for fear of our government. I am not a prepper. I just like to not have to rely on Fat Cats, who care more about hookers and cocaine than they do for our planet.
It’s unlikely that you will ever become 100% self sufficient- sorry, keep dreaming. In such a modern age we rely so heavily on technology and gadgets, and people are buying new builds with no space for gardens. The world is so new that every one seems to have forgotten the art of looking after ones self.
You can’t expect to wake up tomorrow and be self sufficient, because it is a learning journey that can take years to even nail the basics of. But if you start making tiny baby steps today, you will be ever so slightly more self sufficient than you were yesterday. And in my opinion, that is self sufficiency- no matter how small. These days, everyone has to be perfect all of the fucking time. But no, stuff the opinions of others and the ‘am-I-doing-this-right’ questions. Once you start looking after yourself and doing things your own way, that is when you find happiness and self sufficiency. I’m the most selfish, serious, loner around these days. I wasn’t until recently, but now I’m way happier. Do people like me? Probably not. Can I grow an awesome courgette? Fuck yeah.
So, are you wanting to become more self sufficient in 2020? Take these few basic steps today, to kick start your journey.
- Stop buying stuff- Chances are, you don’t need to own any more stuff. Everything you need in your life right now, you probably already own. Do you need that coffee machine? Do you need that wax burner? Do you need that electric potato peeler/vibrator?
- Reduce what you have- Before you even start thinking about buying pointless stuff (see above) look through your draws and cupboards and assess what you already have. Chances are half of the crap you have in your cupboards you don’t use at the moment anyway. You only need to keep 1 or 2 empty Quality Street tins, for keeping cakes or sewing bits in. You don’t need 10. Unless you’re a massive Master Baker.
- Get gardening– I grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed my family of 6 throughout most of the year. We have a decent sized back garden, but it isn’t massive. Start growing things you love on a small scale, then with experience each year you can grow more and more. My husband and I joke that we are the real life Tom and Barbara from the Good Life. Our neighbours are Margot and Jerry.
- Ditch the Debt- By saving money being self sufficient, you will be able to clear your debts quicker. Once your debts have all been paid off, the black cloud will have lifted. One less worry and one less person to have to worry about (be that your bank manager, or drug dealer… depending on the kind of debt you’ve racked up.)
- Get cooking- Stop moaning that you’re over weight, stop buying takeaways or microwave meals. Get in the kitchen, have fun, learn new recipes and burn some shit.
- Ditch the tumble drier and dishwasher- Sounds crazy but trust me on this one. I have 4 small children, 3 dogs and a very muddy lifestyle. I am frugal with the washing. I only wash items when they need it. Our clothes dry all year round on the washing line or on a clothes airier that hangs in our kitchen. My hands are a good dishwasher. By the time it takes you to rinse the dishes and load them into the dishwasher, I have washed my pots and pans sufficiently. It takes no more time, and only costs a splash of hot water and a quirt of washing up liquid. We haven’t owned a tumble drier in 5 years. I have never owned a dishwasher.
- Find a new hobby- Learn to sew, crochet or knit. Creating a simple square makes a good washing up cloth, bath scrub or cleaning cloth. No need to buy specific sponges ever again. YouTube has loads of simple patterns for you to learn. And soon, you’ll be knitting your own knickers… or not.
- Buy second hand- If there is something you desperately need, try the charity shops or FB Marketplace first. Just because it’s second hand doesn’t mean it’s not good enough. If you’re looking for a beautiful dinner dress to wear for that hot date, chances are someone didn’t die in it. If I died in a dinner dress, I’d like to buried in it, looking like a sexy AF corpse.
- Soap and Water- Take a look in your bathroom or under your kitchen sink. How many plastic bottle of stuff do you have that all do the same job? Chances are, most of them. Soap and water is all you need for most cleaning- be it your body or home. A bar of soap in the bathroom will clean your body (I do buy shampoo bars from Lush though, as a treat) and washing up liquid with hot water (or a bar of Dettol soap) clean all grease and grime around the home. Save money, reduce plastic and clean well. Unless you live in a squat, in that case a bottle of bleach- or fire- will be needed.
- Have a laugh- Living more self sufficiently can be funny. You will make some epic, hilarious mistakes (like the time my home brew exploded) and that’s the fun of this learning journey. If someone tries to take the piss out of your new lifestyle change- eat them. Will save a fortune on food shopping.