12 Homesteading Hacks

Natural cleaning supplies including a lemon, baking soda, and vinegar.

Every homesteader discovers a plethora of tricks on their journey to becoming self-sufficient. Not only do these tricks make life a little easier on the farm, but they’ll also save you time and money on future projects. From recycling everyday objects to using coffee grounds as plant food, here are 12 homesteading hacks for everyday use.

1. Natural Cleaning Solutions

Many home liquids double as cleaning products, including lemon juice, white vinegar, bicarbonate soda, olive oil, and hydrogen peroxide. These natural chemicals can be used to eradicate odors, remove stains, and clean surfaces. Not only are they better for the environment, but they’re also more affordable than standard store-bought cleaners.

2. Prevent Eggs From Rotting

A row of chickens in a coop.

Chicken coops are a staple for many homesteaders, but it can be a hassle keeping all those eggs fresh. To lengthen their storage life, crack them into a bowl, beat the yolks and whites together, and pour the mixture into ice cube tray. This will ensure you have fresh eggs at every meal. (Eggs will crack if you freeze them whole.)

3. Recycled Watering Cans

Self-sufficiency is a big goal for homesteaders and recycling is a part of the process. Instead of purchasing new watering cans for your plants, poke holes in the lid of a water or milk gallon to create an instant watering can.

4. Mason Jar Storage

A clear glass jar with nails spilling out onto a piece of wood.

You can never have too many storage options on the homestead. Mason jars are great for storing loose items, such as nails and screws, because the clear glass makes it easy to see what's inside.

5. Milk a Cow Without Getting Kicked

From knocking over a milk bucket to causing injury, a kicking cow can be a major problem. The best trick to avoid kicking is to use a kicker rope. The rope is tied around the stomach in front of the hips and udder. It doesn’t prevent kicking entirely, but it makes the cow move slower and lessens the range of motion.

6. Recycle Water

A pot of boiling water with peas.

You can use old cooking water to water herbs and vegetables in the garden. Water that was used to boil veggies contains important vitamins and minerals that will give your plants a much needed boost. You can also use club soda to water plants. It contains phosphates and other nutrients suitable for plant growth.

7. Peel Eggs With Ease

It can be very frustrating peeling fresh eggs after they’ve been hard boiled. The solution is to steam the eggs instead of boiling them in water. Simply place the eggs in a steaming basket and boil water in a pan underneath. After twenty minutes, place the eggs in ice water and peel when cool.

8. Using Wood Pallets

A stack of wood pallets.

Wood pallets are a great building material for homesteaders, but did you know that some pallets are treated with harmful chemicals? Pallets marked with "HT" mean they were only heat treated, while "MB" means they were hit with a layer of Methyl Bromide. You might also come across some labelled "DB," which means they were debarked, and the pallet wood has been untreated with chemicals.

9. Emergency Crayon Candles

You never know when an emergency will strike. If you ever find yourself in a situation with no electricity, crayons can actually double as survival candles. A single crayon will last up to 30 minutes.

10. Recycle Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds and coffee beans.

You can actually use used coffee grounds for a number of different things around the farm. Coffee grounds are good for the compost pile and can be used as plant food, a meat rub, deodorizer, and soap.

11. Kill Garden Pests With Duct Tape

Squash bugs are the bane of many gardeners. Fortunately, you can rid yourself of these tiny garden pests with a little bit of duct tape. Simply cut a strip of tape and gently pat the squash leaves. The bugs, and their larvae, will stick to the tape and eventually die.

12. Preserving Vegetables

A grouping of frozen vegetables.

There are many ways to preserve your vegetables for the winter months, but freezing them is by far the easiest. Simply place your veggies in plastic bags and squeeze all the air out before freezing.