In this modern world we are losing touch with some old fashioned traditional skills that we really should preserve. You don’t need to even own land to embrace homesteading! You can learn to homestead anywhere. Homesteading is a way of life, a mindset and it is very rewarding. These old fashioned skills can be learned even if you live in an apartment or on an urban lot.
Living the old fashioned way in a modern world is a growing movement, with more and more people interested in learning these lost survival skills.
These may seem like depression era household tips, but they are so much more. In a SHTF scenario, the people with the forgotten survival skills will be the ones that come out on top.
Why Should we Learn Old Fashioned Traditional Skills?
Traditional homesteading skills are great to learn for ourselves, as well as to teach to the up and coming generation. These skills will ultimately save you money in the long run.
AND they can stop you being reliant on big, greedy corporations for everything.
AND it is just so SATISFYING getting things done. Yourself. With your own two hands.
No matter where you live, there are some traditional homesteading skills that you can utilize. You do not have to wait until you have a big plot of land to get started.
In fact I would suggest that you are much better off starting learning a few of these traditional skills immediately and slowly build your tool box of abilities. This gives you plenty of time and space to practice.
How do you know what Old Fashioned Traditional Skills are best to learn first?
Pick something that interests you. Something that will be most useful for you and start there.
My top 5 old fashioned skills to learn would be:
- Gardening – growing a productive garden
- Preserving your harvest
- Make your own bread the traditional way
- Keep some chickens or rabbits
- Learn to live without plastic
Once you have a good handle on that skill, when you feel confident in your ability, choose another traditional skill to work on.
The biggest thing is the shift in mindset, you gotta have the ability to punt. To give it a go, and run with whatever ends up happening.
Through this post I recommend several (many) books.
Because, in an emergency when inevitably you will want some of this information, the internet and power may well be down. Also it is so you don’t spill your milk/cooking/fermenting on the computer, mama will get mad!
Be prepared for anything, have a good, useful library at your place. Plus who wants to snuggle up with a good phone/laptop/tablet when you could read an actual book?! Books are great at teaching you the old timey skills that will get you prepared for any disaster.
Want to know all about raising rabbits in a colony?
Check out our very own book here:
33 Old Fashioned Traditional Skills That are Worth Learning and will Save you Money.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and without food we cease to exist. So why not start your traditional skill building here?
Cook from scratch
Get yourself a good quality recipe book and start there. These are a few of my favorites:
You do not need a goat, a cow or even farm fresh milk to successfully make cheese! Grab a starter kit and a good book and you are off!
Make your own medicine
Using herbs for medicine is a lost art that is important that we learn!
Fresh yogurt is super easy to make, and so satisfying to eat. And all the probiotics in it are super fresh, active and optimally beneficial. There is however a knack to making thick and creamy goats milk yogurt.
Render your own cooking fats
Butter, tallow, lard and dripping are the traditional fats for cooking. They are the healthy, low inflammation option, and are super easy and cheap to render yourself.
There are so many recipes out there for preserving food. You don’t even have to have grown it yourself. It might just be a super good deal that you got at the store, so you can buy lots and put it away to use later.
You can even make vinegar from the canning juice!
What better way to enjoy last summer’s fruits than on nice hot buttery toast in mid winter while the snow falls….
Practice Life Without a Fridge
You never know what life might throw at you, a power cut or a broken down fridge, these things happen.
Fermented food is really good for you and you should be eating it every day. There are so many options to add fermented foods/drinks to your diet. Kombucha, Lemon fizz, Sourdough, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir, Yogurt, the list goes on…
Hunting and Foraging
Why be limited by what you can buy in the store, there are so many things out there to harvest for free!
All sorts of crafty messes happen in our living room, so we now have a dedicated craft room. There are quite a few craft and craft-related skills that are actually very handy to know.
Be it a fancy shawl or a simple scarf, crochet is the fancy little sister to knitting and it will keep you warm and gorgeous. Crochet hooks and yarn are super affordable, making this a great frugal hobby.
Tan a Hide
Tanning is becoming a lost art. Using skins was deemed horrible and terrible and they fell out of favor. Instead we chose to use synthetic plastic faux fur. Now we are realizing that actually we are killing nearly as many animals as before for meat, but we are wasting their hides while the synthetic ones that we chose instead will NEVER rot away. Ooops. Honor the animal, tan it’s hide and use it.
Making soap is much easier than you may think and you can use oils that you can buy at the supermarket! There are two different techniques – Hot Process and Cold Process. You can even make your own Lye!
Learn to Sew
I am so grateful that I learnt to sew when I was younger. I have fixed so many things, made costumes and dress ups, multiple ball gowns and bridesmaid dresses, even my own wedding dress.
Making your own personal health products ensures you know exactly what is going in and on your body. It will also hold you in good stead in any emergency or SHTF events.
Remineralizing tooth powder is a great alternative to commercial toothpaste.
Learn How to Make Tinctures
Tinctures are a way of extracting and using the herbal essence of a plant.
Nothing is more luxurious than an old fashioned body butter. Full of rich creamy shea butter and nourishing almond oil. Bliss.
Bee balm is a natural protective barrier for scrapes, grazes and burns. It also works great for treating chapped lips and diaper rash.
Use Essential Oils
Before modern medicine there were medicinal plants. Essential oils are the super concentrated goodness of these plants.
Second to keeping ourselves clean, we gotta keep our clothes clean too. Here are four super simple but effective traditional skills for you to learn.
We have always used a washing line to dry clothes, I love the smell of sunshine in my dry laundry. You should try it! There is a right way to use a washing line, and if you don’t have an outside one, you can use one inside.
Making your own laundry soap at home will eliminate all the horrid ingredients that there is in commercial detergent.
Hand Wash Clothes
While it is not my first choice, sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do!
Be it for reducing your plastic waste, reducing chemicals or saving money, making your own cleaners is a great choice.
If you are lucky enough to have a backyard (or even a front one, or a patio for that matter) you can have a garden. It could be as simple as growing herbs on your windowsill or as big as a couple of acres. Growing food is one of the old fashioned survival skills that you have to learn!
Grow Medicinal and Culinary Herbs
Herbs are generally quite resilient, easy to grow, useful and delicious. Even if all you have is a window box, get in some herbs! There are some amazing herbal courses available that are well worth the investment.
Build a Greenhouse
Not only is DIY a great skill to have, but a greenhouse will give you tomatoes in the summer and greens during snow.
If you have even a little space to call your own you can have a few animals. People have been know to raise quail (meat and eggs) and rabbits (meat, pelts and fiber) TOTALLY INDOORS!
If you have outside space, all the better. Then you can also have chickens, or maybe a couple of small goats. Learning animal husbandry is a big learning curve, but start with one traditional skill at a time and work your way through.
Make friends with a good vet, and keep them on speed dial!
Chickens are great. There is nothing like the egg from a happy chicken. Make them a dust bath they will love. Find out about bringing home new chicks, making a DIY brooder and fermenting their feed to keep them healthy.
Rabbits make efficient meat producers, and they taste pretty much like chicken. They are faster and easier to process and breed like you wouldn’t believe. We love keeping ours in a colony and we have an ultimate guide here for you.
We love our dairy goats, they are sweet and gentle and productive. Taking care of the new born ones is a skill all on its own, especially if you have to bottle feed it. Goats are a different breed of animal, sometimes they take you by surprise.
So there you are, 33 old fashioned traditional skills that you can learn and that your wallet will thank you for.
Not just your wallet though, your health, your family and the earth will thank you. Every tiny bit helps. And you will feel super proud when you master an old timey skill. You will feel amazing. I promise.
What old timey traditional skills are you keen to learn? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Dana is a homesteading, homeschooling mama to 3, based in the south of New Zealand.
Dana is a Certified Ketogenic Living Coach, and natural wellness expert, as well as a Registered Nurse, with post grad training in mothers and babies.
She enjoys getting out in the garden, or just sitting at the beach in the sun.