10 Ways To Be Self Reliant In The City

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Living in town is certainly convenient, but don’t you wish you could be a little more self reliant? Many people living in cities and suburbs find themselves buying just about everything from stores and supermarkets. The thing is, although many people rely on big companies to create their clothing and food, it doesn’t mean that it’s good quality or healthy. It’s a great thing to know how to take care of yourself and your family if there were to ever be an issue, and it’s very educational for children to learn about sustainability as well. Being able to live even slightly more sustainably would benefit you and your family tremendously.

Here are some fun tips on how to become a little more self-reliant, even if you live in the city or suburbs….


Nothing is better than a fresh fruit or veggie from your very own garden. Urban gardening is something that’s actually becoming very popular. There are several techniques for growing sufficient gardens in small spaces including tower gardens, square foot gardening, container gardening, and adding edibles into your landscaping and window boxes. Interested in urban gardening? The website Urban Organic Gardener also has some amazing resources to help get you started!

Food Preservation

Food preservation goes hand in hand with gardening. If your garden is successful enough, you can easily preserve green beans, tomatoes, etc. by freezing or canning them.

Veggies are not the only foods that you can easily preserve to be more sustainable AND save a substantial amount of money; many meats can be purchased from nearby farmers and be preserved for healthier AND more inexpensive meals.

Canning and preserving is something that does take a little time to master, but with the help of websites like Seed To Pantry School and Food in Jars, you’ll be a pro in no time!


It may not seem self-sufficient, but using your old junk and repurposing it is exactly that! Instead of heading to your nearest Target to buy organizers for your junk drawer, use something you have on hand! We really love this great list from DIY N Crafts for projects that use recycled items from home.


All of your fruit and vegetable scraps, as well as egg shells and other waste, eventually break down into super nutrient-rich soil. You can keep a small rotating compost bin and use the soil in your garden rather than purchasing soil from the plant nursery. You can even start composting if you live in an apartment.

Sew, Crochet, or Knit

Learning to sew or knit gives you the sense that you are capable of making things on your own and you don’t always have to go out and buy everything. I crocheted my children winter hats last year, and although they had store-bought ones as well, they chose to wear the ones their Mama made them every time.

Once you learn how to sew, crochet, or knit, you could make your own diapers, blankets, non-paper towels, clothing, or bedding. The options are endless!

Backyard Chickens

This is something that you obviously can’t easily do in an apartment, however many larger cities and towns have made it legal for people to have a couple of chickens in their backyards for eggs. If you would love backyard chickens, but it’s against the rules in your town, start a petition and I guarantee once you educate others on the benefits of backyard chickens, you’ll be able to convince the town to allow it.

Make Your Own Toiletries and Cleaning Supplies

With just a few ingredients on hand, you can make a huge variety of your own products. Not only will it save you money in the long run, but your family’s health will benefit!

Using products you make yourself gives you the opportunity to choose the ingredients. Bye-bye mystery chemicals, hello all natural and healthy! Need some recipes to get started? Check out this woman’s blog and she’ll have just what you’re looking for.

Harvest Rainwater

Collect rainwater from your downspouts or even in buckets to collect water for your garden. Simple and effective! Please don’t go purchase an expensive rain barrel at the store though, you can easily make one like this one at very low cost.

Use Your Space Wisely

A huge problem for people living in the city is the lack of space (outside and sometimes inside as well). Many think that being self-reliant should involve a big chunk of land, but you really don’t need it! Use your space wisely by planning and organizing how you are going to make this self-reliant lifestyle work in your small home or apartment, which leads me to the last tip…

Be Creative!

Living a self-reliant lifestyle can be done- even in town. You’ve just got to be creative and remember that even a little bit of self-sufficiency is better than nothing! Look at what you have available to you, do a little research, and put your plan into action!

Working towards a self-reliant lifestyle doesn’t have to wait until you have that 50 acres you’ve always wanted. You can start living the lifestyle you want now, even if it’s only a little bit at a time. Trying just a couple of these tips will put you on the path to a sustainable lifestyle. If you have any other tips, tricks, or suggestions about how to be self-reliant in the city or suburbs, we would love to hear them in the comments!