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Organization

Having lived in a bus and a tent for quite a while, we learned the advantages of organizing your space and life well.

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Being organized will save you time, money and energy in your homesteading endeavors. There’s just too much to keep track of without some sort of order to your tasks and home.

Organization is not necessarily a skill that every person has naturally, but it can be acquired. And it’s worthwhile. Living off-grid involves so many different jobs and projects throughout the year that it would be almost impossible to manage without some extra planning and awareness.

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One of the best organizational tools that you can buy is a notebook (or ten). Make lists of things you need to buy and do, plans, research, cost analyses, and comparisons. It really helps to write things down and see them on paper. Plus there’s the added advantage of being able to look back and see something that you thought you had forgotten about. We have spent almost as much time scribbling things down in our notebooks as we have in actual execution.

Another good idea is to keep a journal. This is not to express thoughts and feelings, but rather to record the more practical side of life: temperatures and rainfall, timing and problems involved in each project, when different things bloom and fruit, the cycles of your animals, etc. Be meticulous in your record keeping. It will help with future plans to be able to look back on past ones, not to mention the nostalgic quality of being able to read about what you were doing 10 or 50 years from now.

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Staying tidy is also important to the overall efficiency of your homestead. We have lived in some very small spaces while setting up the two homes we have built, and we got into the habit of organizing our space efficiently. Now that we have a much larger living area, we have retained those habits. You don’t have to put each thing exactly in its place as soon as you’re finished with it, but it helps to keep on top of your mess. Much easier to tidy as you go than to have to do a major overhaul when you can no longer move or find anything.

Many people live in a highly structured world. They work 9-5 Monday to Friday, and then have to fit in cooking, cleaning, kids, down-time, etc. around that. Homesteading is not so rigid, but it is almost more demanding, as you must set your own schedule according to what needs to be done. Instead of the same routine every day, your patterns are more likely to follow seasons and other natural cycles. You will be tied into the patterns of animals, plants, and climate. Know and understand those cycles and fit your plans to them, it will be a lot less stressful.

Also be aware that almost nothing goes exactly to plan or schedule. Learn how to be adaptable. Wing it when you have to, and laugh at the things that flip you upside-down. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.

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