Self-sufficiency is summed up in our tagline:
Build It, Fix It, Make It Better.
If you can make it for yourself, do it! Often, you can make something that suits you better than what you can buy, and it’s cheaper.
- buy a really nice workbench for well over $600, or build it for under $200 of lumber and a couple of days’ work.
- purchase an archery backstop for $160 or more (depending on size), or build one to suit your needs or environment for about $75.
- grow some of your own food – that’s making something, right? It doesn’t have to take a lot of space.
The biggest difference is that building it yourself will take time. However, it will be much more satisfying to use things you have made yourself on a day-to-day basis.
…if you can and hire it out if you can’t.
- Change the oil in your car – the oil and filter run about $25, while the mechanic will charge $35 to $85 depending on your vehicle.
- Fix that vintage radial arm saw instead of throwing it away. A little WD-40, elbow grease, and a few wrenches…it’s almost good as new.
- Take a few minutes with a 50-cent needle and $2 spool of thread. Fix that pocket on your dress shirt, rather than spend another $35 or more for a new one.
- If you’re like me, you can’t clear a clogged sewer line 20 feet out from the house, so call a plumber. However, clean out the drain pipe under the kitchen sink yourself.
Look around you – would a french cleat storage system work better than the pegboard in the shop? Is there a way to add a little automation to your inbox so you see the emails you need to deal with first? Trim that tree in the front yard. It will be healthier and prettier.
When you start being more self-sufficient, you’ll find a few things start happening: you start sleeping better, maybe because you’re exhausted. You’ll take more pride in your home. You might find yourself in better shape because a lot of the projects will require heavy lifting. If nothing else, you’ll be more interesting at parties because you’ve been doing so many different things.