Five years ago, my husband and I made a decision that changed our lives forever: to get out of debt no matter what it took. We had talked about it before, (actually, it was more like a yelling match about how broke we were) and we decided that it was time to commit.
I got to work, scrutinizing every aspect of our budget, cutting everything we could. The change that made the biggest difference?
Adopting the DIY natural lifestyle.
Cooking from scratch (not just buying cheap boxed food), making our own cleaners and learning how to buy in bulk was just the start. Now we repair whatever we can, use natural medicine, and teach others how to do the same.
Did I mention we do all this amidst my husband’s full-time job, my business and midwifery school, and homeschooling two of our four kids?
Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy a lot of freedom. We’re debt free and don’t have many commitments outside the home. We’ve simplified a lot in the last few years, but a typical day can still feel pretty crazy.
So how do we blend the DIY lifestyle in with our busy family? Simple. We create a routine:
- Cook food from scratch – Unless we plan to go out for dinner (which doesn’t happen very often), all of our meals are cooked from scratch.
- Do whatever project is scheduled for the day
- Apply essential oils – Therapeutic-grade essential oils play a big part of our DIY healthcare. We use them to prevent and treat illness, to increase our energy and to help us sleep better at night. We apply a blend in the morning and at night, and specific oils as needed throughout the day. (Where to buy essential oils.)
- Prepare food for the next day – Take meat out of freezer, soak beans, etc.
- Soak and make a big pot of beans
- Bake bread – My husband will make up one big batch of bread dough that will yield two loaves of bread. (It will also give us 4 pizza crusts).
- Make kefir or yogurt
- Grocery shopping – Mainly for fresh produce.
- Make bone broth – We roast a chicken each week and use the bones to make a nourishing stock.
- Menu plan – This saves us so much time and money. Read more about how to plan meals.
- Make laundry detergent – I make three batches at a time and it lasts us about 6 weeks. We’re still washing a lot of cloth diapers.
- Brew kombucha
- Budget for bulk orders
- Restock cleaning staples
- Grocery shopping – The big trip where we get most of our food for the month.
Every few months
- Order raw honey – By the gallon, from a local farmer (find raw honey here).
- Make dishwasher soap – Our dishwasher is usually our drying rack, but we run it on particularly busy days, so our soap lasts us a long time. You can also make your own liquid dish soap.
- Order coconut oil – Purchased by the gallon, it gets used for cooking and various DIY projects like making soap and healing balm (find high quality coconut oil here).
- Make herbal healing ointment
- Make lip balm
- Make bar soap
- Plant, tend and harvest our garden
- Canning/freezing – Learn which sustainable kitchen appliances Matt and Betsy use and recommend.
- Take advantage of gleaning opportunities – We live in a rural community and sometimes get asked if we want to pick over an apricot tree or glean a farmer’s potato field.
- Chop firewood
- Hang laundry – I reserve this for summer time as I am not a fan of the cold.
- Brew beer
- Make ice cream
We didn’t start out doing all of this. If we had, we may have become overwhelmed and given up.
Instead, we embodied the saying – “Slow and steady wins the race.” – learning to do more and more ourselves.
And now, thanks to our routine, all theses DIY projects are just a normal part of life.
Note: here are a few more ideas to help you find time to DIY healthy food.
How do you fit DIY into your busy life?
Share you secret tips and experience with the community!