If you’ve recently moved away from a city, the idea of sustainable living is probably extremely appealing: it’s good for the environment, your wallet, and even for your peace of mind! Moreover, it’s suitable for those who works remotely or found their best side hustle job from home. However, your interest in getting started may be tempered by the sheer scale of the task at hand. Living sustainably can sound like a fundamental change to almost every part of your life, and for a lot of people, that’s enough to steer them away from it.
However, the reality is that changing to a more eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t have to be dramatic or disruptive. It also doesn’t have to happen all at once! It’s possible to take a step-by-step approach and learn how to make the change at a pace that’s right for you. While it takes more time, you’re more likely to commit to sustainable living in the long term if you slow down and learn how to enjoy the process.
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Moving to the Countryside is an Opportunity
In the post-pandemic world, the explosion of remote working jobs and the trend towards careers that don’t require a degree has driven an exodus towards the peace and quiet of the countryside. If you’re one of them, you have a fantastic opportunity to get into sustainable living on a scale far beyond reusable bags and electric cars. However, knowing where to begin is a challenge.
Consider this: the scale of the changes that come with sustainable living are directly related to where you live. The more control you have over your environment – and the bigger that environment is – the bigger steps you can take. It’s precisely this dynamic that makes sustainable living so overwhelming for people who have freshly arrived in the countryside: there’s all this space, so what should you do with it?
Your first step is to get some perspective: you don’t have to go off the grid, and you don’t have to go full-tilt to make a difference. Remember, learning how to enjoy the small parts of sustainable living first gives you the highest likelihood of making bigger changes later on down the line. With that, let’s take a look at one of the most rewarding things you can started on today.
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How to Start Growing Your Own Food
The truth is that learning how to cultivate fruits and vegetables is much easier than people think. However, growing everything that you plan to consume is an unrealistic target for beginners! This process requires skill, dedication, and commitment. That’s why you’re better off starting by simply learning the ropes with some easy crops. Once you see that it can be done and that you enjoy it, you’re more likely to experiment with bigger and more complicated projects!
To start, take stock of the climate of where you live, and look up what vegetables grow naturally in the area. Next, check which ones require the least rigid watering regiment! Low-maintenance crops like carrots, potatoes, and onions are ideal for beginners since they’re very likely to turn out well with minimal effort.
Consider whether you have the space for a small greenhouse: having a dedicated space for crops like tomatoes, zucchinis, and bell peppers can help you get around dangers like birds and cool off-seasons. If you don’t, don’t sweat it! You can still produce a greenhouse effect by cutting a plastic bottle in half and placing the bottom end over the plant.
Finally, don’t do this alone! Dedicate some time to reaching out to any of the countless gardening forums and communities online, where you’ll find plenty of knowledgeable people willing to give you great advice about how to best get started. Next, if you can afford it, consider hiring a gardener. The skill and commitment of a professional can take your fledgling vegetable patch to new heights in no time.
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Waste Not, Want Not
Your move to the countryside brings with it an opportunity for a whole new level of recycling: composting. Putting organic waste in a dedicated space produces compost, which is rich in nutrients and materials for your plants and vegetables! This turns your organic trash into valuable fertilizer, and can incentivize you to stick to buying biodegradable materials as often as you can.
However, composting isn’t as straightforward as throwing apple cores and banana skins into the garden. The process of composting requires a bit of setup and consideration. For example, you’ll need a place downwind of your home and your neighbors so that the occasional unpleasant smells don’t bother anyone. You’ll also need to make sure it drains properly, and that you’ll have a good way of harvesting the compost once it’s ready to be used as a fertilizer.
Often, people simplify this process by simply buying a composting bin, which works as an easy starter for beginners and also contains any odors. The only drawback is the size: often, affordable composting bins are no bigger than a small trash can.
However, since you’re just getting started, there’s no need to invest in a massive space for composting just yet! Instead, focus on the rewarding process of turning your trash into something useful. As you learn the ropes of composting, like which materials compost the fastest, you’ll be able to expand into a more efficient at-home recycling process.
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One of the biggest challenges of transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle is learning how to limit your water usage. However, the good news is that there are solutions both big and small towards saving water at home. As you take steps towards sustainable living, start with simple things like remembering to brush your teeth with the faucet off, or taking fast showers.
As you move on, you can consider air-drying your clothes or planting vegetation that needs less water. Finally, long-term projects can include capturing rainwater or even installing a well in your property. The truth is that, with enough time and effort, it’s possible to never pay for a water bill again. If you’re looking for the ways you can conserve water, I’d recommend checking out our article on this very topic!
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Planning for the Future
As you begin to fall in love with sustainable living, you’re bound to get excited about the future. After all, transiting to this lifestyle comes with so many rewarding experiences! For example, one of the best ways to reduce the amount of food you buy is to own chickens. Did you know that hens typically produce one egg every day?
Beyond your own personal satisfaction, this kind of living is a huge asset for a lot of companies if you’re planning to switch jobs – while it may not seem connected, the truth is that turning sustainable living into your one of your principal hobbies can show potential employers that you have patience, dedication, and a sense of responsibility.
Finally, as you learn how to live off of your land, you’ll experience the indescribable joy that comes from feeling connected to the natural world. Sustainable living is addictive and empowering – all you need to do is get started.