Practicing homesteading skills are what make winter something to look forward to! Take advantage of the time inside to be productive, but to have some fun as well!
Living in Ohio, we enjoy all four seasons and I love that. Every season brings different activities and chores, which keeps me fresh and motivated.
Spring and summer on the farm are crazy! Like 15-hour days crazy!
Baby chicks need to be tended to, my bees need to be cared for and managed, gardens need to be planted and general Spring clean-up from the winter is enough to excite, but exhaust the most ambitious of homesteaders! So when winter rolls around, I’m very ready for a change of pace!
Homesteading skills keep winter time, while you’re stuck inside much of the time, very productive!
I look forward to winter homesteading skills like sewing, canning, reading, and planning….and don’t forget the cozy naps!
The cold weather allows my body to heal from the daily grind (for the most part) but also allows me to build my mind!
I truly love developing my homesteading skills during the cold Ohio winters!
1. Homesteading Skills: Learn a New Craft
Winter activities should include learning a new homesteading skill or craft.
Having the extra time to learn and focus on something new, that I’ve been wanting to learn or master is not only enriching but relaxing as well!
I’ve mastered knitting, sewing, quilting, pizza crust, and jewelry making during the winter months, just to name a few!
Sometimes I dig into a book to learn new things, other times I watch YouTube for the tips and tricks I need.
However, your winter homesteading skills might take place at a friend’s house who teaches you how to bake. Maybe you’ll visit a friend’s wood shop and learn the basics.
Whatever your interests are, by all means, find a way to concentrate on improving your knowledge and skill set this winter!
2. Indoor Homesteading Skills
I don’t know about you, but a lot of things inside my house get ignored during the busy seasons and Spring and Summer. Once the weather turns cold and snowy, it’s time to give my home a little love! Here are a few of my favorite indoor winter homesteading skills:
Paint – With a house full of kids, grandkids and animals, my walls take a beating! Winter is the perfect time to find some paint on sale and spruce up the house!
Redecorate – It might be time to replace a mattress or a couch! The holidays offer fantastic deals this time of year! This might be the perfect time to find a steal!
Deep Clean – Hit those baseboards! Clean behind the stove! Dust the tops of everything that you can’t see! You’ll feel great afterward!
Repair – You know all of the broken contraptions around the house that need to be fixed? Yep, wintertime is when to get them done!
Restore – Do you have a chair that you intend to re-upholster? Or some up-cycling projects that need to be finished? Now is the time to get those things done!
3. Minimizing my Homestead
You hear a lot about minimalism these days.
There are hard-core minimalists who live with just a certain number of belongings. That’s not me.
That said, I fall somewhere in the middle of the minimalist range. I do not like clutter, so I am pretty careful about what I bring home.
Regardless of where you fall, taking a hard look at what you keep in your home is a perfect winter activity!
Ask yourself what you really need. How about we start in your bedroom closet?
How to Clean Out Your Bedroom Closet
- Pull everything (yes, everything) out of your closet and put it on your bed. This is an important first step!
2. Next, clean the heck out of your closet! Wipe down shelves, vacuum the corners, and give it a thorough going over!
3. Then, take each garment, one by one, and hold it up in front of you. Take a good look at it.
- When was the last time you wore it?
- Is it in good repair?
- Does it fit you?
- Does it work with your other clothes?
- If that garment really isn’t doing you any good on a weekly basis, set it aside. Do not allow anything back into your closet that doesn’t serve your wardrobe needs well!
- Do this with every piece of clothing, each pair of shoes, each scarf and accessory!
“That will take hours”, you say!
Yes, yes it will!
But this winter activity is the best way to get control back and put you in charge of your belongings! It will save a lot of time and aggravation when you go to get dressed every morning!
4. Homesteading Skills: Cook from Scratch
Whether you’re an experienced cook or still an aspiring cook, winter is a great time to perfect this skill!
Your homestead kitchen will smell amazing with whole food meals that you’re cooking, or fresh bread that you’re baking!
Winter is also a great time to stock up on home-cooked freezer meals, or even to take meals to a family who is sick or just had a new baby.
5. Homesteading Skills: Reading and Studying
Another wintertime favorite for me is reading and learning more about how to improve my life.
I’m an avid reader and I love to learn! One of my favorite ways to spend a winter day on the homestead, when the roads aren’t too bad, is to spend a few hours at the library!
I’ll fill my to-go cup with home-brewed coffee and head to my favorite library!
One of the benefits of spending some time at the library is that I can grab an arm-load of books and magazines off the shelf and just spread them out on a table!
I make notes and snap a couple of pictures of recipes that I want to try, but I will usually go home without any books. I’m all read up!
Try it sometime!
6. Grow Some Sprouts
Sprouting is one of my favorite winter homesteading skills!
As fresh vegetables take a turn for the worse in the stores, I break out my sprouting jar and start sprouting! Sprouts are not only full of nutrition, but they are also cheap and simple to grow!
7. Start Making Your Own Cleaning Products
Making your own DIY cleaning products just make good sense these days!
I have made my own cleaning products for years now and they really work! I feel so much more comfortable using DIY natural cleaning products around my family and animals!
Wonder what natural all-purpose cleaner I use? Here’s my three-ingredient recipe:
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup vinegar (I use a little more)
- A few drops of dish soap
- 20 drops of essential oils (NOTE: I do not use expensive, therapeutic-grade oils for cleaning! The cheaper brands work just fine! I like to use Tea Tree and Lavender)
Put ingredients in an empty glass bottle or another empty bottle with a spray head. Use and enjoy!
8. Homesteading Skills: Bird Watching
I used to think that bird watching was for desperately bored people.
Boy, was I wrong!
Backyard birds are an important part of your homestead’s ecosystem! Plus, they’re a blast to observe!
Keeping food out for them all winter long not only helps them to survive when there’s no wild food to be found, but it keeps them coming back to your place! I need wild birds to eat bugs and mosquitos for me in the summertime and they are happy to come back to those homes that fed them in the winter!
Grab a few field guides for birds and get out there!
9. Work on Your Food Storage System
Once again, winter is the time to work on those things you never get around to in the busy summer months of gardening and canning!
Take a good inventory of your food pantry! Look for gaps in your stash. Build your pantry up as you can afford to! The holidays are a great time to stock up on staples, as they are all on sale!
Winter is also the time to make sure that your food pantry is being used up! Incorporate your home-canned goodness into your meals and rotate your stock.
10. Improve Homesteading Skills and Take Extension Classes
Winter time is my education time!
One of the ways I improve my homesteading skills is by taking County Extension classes during the winter!
The classes are inexpensive or free! Many classes offer incentives for completing a class – I was able to get a bat house for free, just for sitting through the class! You’ve got to check into them and get on their mailing list!
11. Homesteading Skills: Learn Firearms Safety
Agirlandagun.org is a great place to start for women wanting to learn gun safety, marksmanship and mindset!
Knowing how to safely operate a gun is a very useful thing on a homestead! You could take your knowledge and learn how to hunt next! Winter is the perfect time for this!
12. Watch Homesteading Documentaries
13. Visit the Elderly
Our elderly population holds the mysteries of how people lived sustainably “back in the day”.
Stories that describe what life was like during The Great Depression, World War I & 2, etc. are worth their weight in gold! Many of our elderly were “off-grid” long before it was a “thing”!
Visit an older person at their home or even a nursing home and listen to them as a winter activity. You’ll be better for it and so will they.
14. Homesteading Skills: Self-Care
I would suffice to say that very few homesteaders do any kind of self-care. Self-care would include activities that improve your life: spiritually, emotionally and physically.
The benefits of self-care cannot be denied! An exhausted, worn-down person isn’t worth much to anyone, including themselves. It’s important to create a self-care routine for yourself!
- Maybe you need to schedule a few days away on a spiritual retreat, to refresh your faith and gain perspective.
- Perhaps you need to meet with a friend or counselor to sort through some issues in your life.
- Reduce stress, aches and pains by getting a massage…and maybe even a pedicure!
It’s OK to take care of YOU! Winter is the perfect time to start a self-care routine!
Hygge (hue-guh) defined is “a quality of comfort or coziness that brings feelings of contentment and joy“.
The Hygge lifestyle, which is Danish, cannot be translated as a single word. However, the meaning seems to suggest bringing warmth, calm, good friends, yummy socks, hot cocoa and a blazing fire into your world.
16. Homesteading Skills: Volunteering
How do you get started volunteering in your area? There are not only a lot of organizations that depend upon volunteers, but the volunteer opportunities are endless!
Google “volunteer opportunities near me” and find a way to get involved!
17. Homesteading Skills: Maintain and Repair Equipment
Cold weather often finds me in the barns, looking over my equipment, tractors, beekeeping equipment and tools.
The off-season is the time to decide what needs to be repaired and what needs to be replaced. Regular maintenance during the busier seasons is more achievable when I take care of my tools and equipment during the winter.
18. Homesteading Skills: Plan Next Year’s Garden
In January, when all the seed catalogs fill my mailbox, I can hardly wait to start planning this year’s garden!
The off-season is definitely the time to plan your garden – and don’t forget about including companion plants in your garden layout!
19. Homesteading Skills: Set Some New Goals for the Year
Planning is the perfect winter activity! Snow is on the ground and we have a fresh slate for the New Year!
What would you like to accomplish this year?
Think it through a bit. Grab a notebook and pen and write your potential goals out.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this goal affordable?
- How will I pay for it?
- Can I do the work myself or will someone need to be brought in?
- What obstacles must be overcome to make this dream a reality?
- Will this improve our quality of life on our homestead?
- Is it necessary?
- Do I have agreement with my spouse?
Enjoy your winter, I hope you never see it the same way again!