How Much Money Can You Really Make Selling Old Stuff?

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Selling Old Stuff – You’ve probably heard about the second-hand economy.

You might be familiar with how it works - selling, buying, swapping or exchanging used goods.

But you might not know is how much you can actually make using it.

In the United States, the secondhand clothes market has grown 21 times faster than retail sales of new clothing, over the past three years.

As of last year, the entire sub-industry was valued at $34 billion in Australia alone.

Where to Start Making Money Selling Old Stuff
Making Money Selling Old Stuff – Source: Unsplash

Where to Start Making Money Selling Old Stuff?

Let’s face it, not everything we want to buy needs to be brand new.

Making due with what you have or buying secondhand are key components of slowing down and enjoying a more minimal lifestyle.

Purchasing used or second-hand goods is good for the environment plus your wallet.

According to research by Gumtree Australia, 90% of Aussies have purchased a second-hand item at some stage.

62% of Australians buy something secondhand at least once a year, saving almost half the cost of what they would pay for a new item.

But what about getting rid of old stuff?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the average American home has 300,000 items.

Even more, one in ten Americans rent an off-site storage unit as reported by New York Magazine

Donating to charity is a good way to clear out your clutter and help others at the same time.

Do your research before you choose a charity and donate items the charity can actually make use of.

There are certain rules and guidelines on what sort of clothes and items charities accept.

Many people are not aware of this, which leads to charities being flooded with clothes they cannot process.

Still, in most cases, if it’s wearable, it’s better to donate clothing than throw it away.

Per Huffington Post, the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year.

In this day and age, we also can’t ignore the possibilities that the Internet provides!

For most people looking to sell off second-hand items, heading online will be their first point-of-call.

According to Gumtree Australia, 88% of people prefer selling their used things online.

Using various online platforms allows you to sell almost anything to anyone in the world.

second hand economy making money
second hand economy making money

You are not limited to a certain location, it doesn’t take much time and you can make some good money doing so.

Let’s Talk Numbers ~ How big is the Second-Hand Economy

Now that you know that the second-hand economy is something you should pay more attention to, let’s discuss how much you can actually make selling items you are no longer using or no longer want. 

It’s estimated that around 100 million used goods were sold online in the past year.

Depending on where you live, there are trusted online marketplaces you can use.

These include Ebay and Craigslist. In addition, there are forums on Facebook for local sellers.

There are specialty sites as well that focus on certain types of products.

Etsy may be a place for you to sell as well.

You can choose an online platform in which you mail the item.

Other, more local forums, give you the chance to meet in person. 

Other good options are to generate interest in your community and host a community garage sale.

You can do it as a fundraiser for a cause or everyone can keep the proceeds from what they sell.

Think of all the unused things hidden in your garage or attic. 

You don’t need to be an experienced seller to make some money in the second hand economy.

As the Gumtree report shows, about 1.3 million Aussies made money selling online for the first time via their platform.

According to the research, in 2018 an average seller could make $1,577.

Millennials are the most active group on the second-hand market: 61% of them have sold something online in the past year, making on average $1,958.

Generation X is right behind them, as 54% of them sold used goods online with average earnings of $1,637.

Baby boomers are not slacking either, 51% of them participated in the second hand economy in the past 12 months, cashing in $910 on average.

What can you sell

The answer is simple - anything.

The best way to go about it is to start with decluttering your space.

If you need motivation, there are best selling books about creating order in your home.

These offer tips for parting with things that don’t offer utility or joy.

We all have things we don’t use, need or want.

Go through your closet, clean out your garage, check your attic.

Spring cleaning or moving house is a great opportunity to find a lot of unused items in your household. 

According to the Gumtree report, 65% of unwanted items are clothes, shoes and accessories.

If you’re bored of your old clothes don’t let them sit in your closet for ages.

If you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months, you will probably never wear it again.

Sell it online, make some extra money and free up that space. 

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The same goes for other items.

The most reported unwanted goods are books (57%), DVDs and CDs (54%), games and toys (48%), and electronic goods (47%).

But don’t be discouraged if your used items don’t fall into these categories - as they say: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

So if there’s something you don’t need anymore, there’s a good chance there is someone out there looking for it.

Taking Care of a Wooden Floor – Tips, Tricks and Hacks

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Taking Care of a Wooden Floor – Wood floors look amazing. They really add a certain character to the room they are in.

No matter what color they happen to be and what wood they are made of, they can add prestige to the room like few other flooring materials.

If you have a wooden floor you are particularly proud of, you are going to need to know how to take care of it.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to care for a wooden floor.
Tips and Tricks for Taking Care of a Wooden Floor

Tips and Tricks for Taking Care of a Wooden Floor

Choose Engineered Wood

If you are the one who installs the floor, consider choosing real wood engineered flooring over something else.

Engineered wood has been treated with a special sealant which makes it entirely more durable.

This means it is less susceptible to mess, scratches, and other things which could potentially damage it.

If the floor is in a room where furniture is moved about frequently, choosing engineered wood will help you to make sure that the floor isn’t damaged prematurely.

Add Feet to the Furniture

Head to any hardware store and you will find little felt feet to attach to your furniture.

These can come in two styles; either pre-cut or as a sheet so you can cut them yourselves.

They will also usually have one adhesive side.

Stick them to the feet of any and all furniture which will be touching the floor.

So, for example, if you had a dining room with a wooden floor, you would stick the felt to the feet of all the chairs and the dining room table.

These felt feet prevent the furniture from directly scraping against the wooden floor.

Not only does this save your ears the screech of wood on wood, but it also helps to protect both the floors and your furniture from scratches, gouges, and other unsightly injuries.

Clean It to Properly Take Care of a Wooden Floor

Cleaning a wood floor is actually more straightforward than it might initially appear.

The first thing you should do is sweep it daily if you can with a soft bristled brush.

This will remove any dust or dirt that collects on it.

You could use a vacuum cleaner but make sure you have the right attachment.

If you use anything which was not designed to vacuum wooden floors, you run the risk of scratching it.

Once a week (or when you have to remove a stain) clean the floor using a microfiber mop and a floor cleaner specially formulated for wooden floors.

Never steam clean a floor as this can cause some serious damage and even warping of the wood.

You may also want to occasionally apply a polish or oil to the wood to bring it back to life.

Don’t be afraid to consult a flooring specialist if you aren’t’ sure whether you can use a product.

Wood floors are easier to care for than a lot of people realize.

Take on board some of the tips listed above and start taking better care of your wooden floors today.

They will serve you well.

Image: Pixabay

Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land?

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Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land – Whether you have a house, a homestead or a farm, no property is complete without a reliable fence around it.

It marks out your boundary, provides privacy for those living and working within its confines, and the right fence can also be an attractive addition to your landscapes.

For those reasons, you could even find that adding fencing increases the value of your holding, but just what kind of fencing is best for your land?

We’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of three of the most popular fencing materials.

The Right Fencing for your Property
Which Fencing Is Best For Your Land?

Wooden Fencing

Wooden fencing is the most traditional fencing material of them all, having been used for this purpose for centuries.

For that reason, you may think this is ideal if you want a traditional or rustic look around your homestead, but it’s also important to think about how it will look after it’s been in position for a number of years.

Fences have to take whatever our unpredictable weather systems throw at them, and wooden fences, in particular, can soon show the signs of weathering.

They will need regular maintenance if you want to keep them in great shape, and that can mean treating them with preservatives on an annual basis, or even more frequently.

This can be a huge job if you have a lot of fencing in place, but failure to do so can see the fence lose its color or become prone to rot and algae.

Metal Fencing

Metal fencing can make a good addition to the security of your property.

It’s strong and reliable, and its austere appearance alone can be enough to deter any felons who may be thinking of trespassing onto your land.

This positive can also prove to be a negative in another way, however, as there is no denying that metal fences don’t have the aesthetic appeal that some other materials can bring, and depending upon the type and strength of metal used, they could also be liable to rust over time, which can look unsightly.

Vinyl Fencing

More and more people are installing vinyl fencing from specialist manufacturers like Northland Fence, and it’s easy to see why.

Vinyl is a very versatile substrate so that fences made from it can be purchased in a variety of styles and colors.

Even more importantly, it offers superb value for money, as not only is purchase and installing inexpensive, but it also needs very little maintenance when compared to wooden fencing.

Vinyl won’t rot with rain or fade with the sun, and that means you won’t need to do anything to it other than wash it occasionally to keep it looking at its very best.

Vinyl is also very tough, and you won’t have to worry about warping, insect or algae attack.

Wooden fences have a quaint appeal and metal fences can look daunting, but for most homesteads vinyl makes a very smart choice.

Wood vs Vinyl fencing

Not only can it last a lifetime without having to put in hard and expensive maintenance work, but it also has a modern, fresh look that will look good today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

5 Kinds of Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

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Realistic Off Grid Power Sources – With the rising prices in electricity, and the growing concerns of the environmental impact of power plants to the planet, more and more people are saying that they want to go “off the grid” and produce their own power.

This kind of option is a dream for most people but sadly often times, that’s what it is- a dream.

They want to do it, but they don’t know where to start, or even what their options are.

Also, people think that going off the grid means having to leave the convenience of living in a town or city, which most people don’t want to do.

The good news is that with new research and technology, there are a lot of renewable energy options that are available that can fit any type of property that you currently live in.

Off Grid Power Solar Roof Tiles
Off Grid Power Solar Roof Tiles

Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

Here are the top five cutting- edge realistic off grid power sources.

Solar Roof Tiles

Lots of people are put off from putting up solar panels on their homes because of primarily two reasons: it cost a lot, and it’s not very aesthetically pleasing.

But technology has reduced the size of these heavy solar panels and created photovoltaic roof tiles also known as solar roof tiles or solar shingles.

These tiles not only look better than your traditional shingles but are also tougher like Tesla’s much-awaited solar roof tiles.

These solar shingles can be used to replace your old shingles, or if you are building a new house from scratch, you can ask your contractor and architect to integrate it into the building design.

It should be something that can be done especially if they are using a commercial construction project management software.

The cost of installing solar shingles on your roof would be between $20,000 – $50,000 for a 2500 square foot home (232 square meters) depending on how you want it installed in your house, as well as state and federal tax incentives if you live in the USA.

Make sure to check with your country’s government for any incentives that can be available to you.

Yes, it’s a hefty price to start, but, think that solar shingles can cut your monthly electric bill from 40 to 60 percent or even to zero if you go full solar.

And considering that a system like this can last for 30 or more years, it will definitely pay for itself in a few years’ time.

Residential Wind Turbine

The wind is another renewable, and sustainable energy that can be tapped for off the grid electrical systems thru the use of a wind turbine.

Like solar panels, wind turbines have been significantly reduced its size so that it can be installed in residential houses.

And if you like in an area that is windy, and you have at least in an acre of land, then a residential wind turbine can be an option if you want to go off the grid.

If you want to talk about cost, a typical 10Kw wind turbine will cost between $50,000 to $60,000.

It is a considerable amount of money to fork out, but if you think that you’ll be saving up to 90% or even 100% of the electricity bill every month.

The whole system will have an ROI in about 6 years.

And, because it’s renewable energy, countries like USA, China, Korea, Belgium, Ireland, Spain etc, offer varying tax incentives ranging from 12 to 30 percent depending on where you live.

So, if you’re thinking of installing a wind turbine for your home, make sure that you check first with your local government to what incentive they are offering.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal energy is a clean, and sustainable heat energy that comes from below the earth’s surface which can supply energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Geothermal energy is harnessed thru geothermal plants like the Geyser Geothermal Complex in San Francisco in California.

Now, your home can harness the power of geothermal energy thru a geothermal heat pump.

If you’re wondering what a geothermal heat pump is.

It’s a central heating and cooling system.

It uses the ground as a heat source when it’s cold in the winter.

In the summer, it uses the earth as a heat sink.

It can be easily integrated into your existing HVAC system, or it can be installed in a new build project.

It works pretty much like your fridge where it transfers the heat coming from the earth into your house or the other around thru loops of pipes that are filled with liquid in the form of water or an antifreeze solution.

These pipes are then attached to a geothermal heat pump in your house which acts like a heater or an air conditioner depending on the weather.

Microhydro Electricity

If you are lucky enough to live in a property that has a source of running water like a brook or a stream, then you might want to look at micro-hydro electricity to power your home.

Like its name, hydroelectricity uses running water to generate electricity usually from energy coming from water flowing from higher to lower places.

A micro hydropower system works by converting the flow of running water into rotational energy that is in turn transformed into electricity using either a pump, a turbine or a waterwheel.

Compared to solar, wind, and geothermal energy, micro hydroelectricity is relatively cheaper and easier to build.

However, the downside is that it requires a very specific on-site condition.

This means that if you don’t have a river, stream or some form of running water in your backyard, then you pretty much can’t have this system.
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Solar/Wind Hybrid System

If you want to live one hundred percent off the grid, you might want to have a system that can handle the fluctuations of weather in your area to make sure that electricity is generated all the time because we all know that the weather can be fickle.

The solution to this problem is a solar/hybrid system.

This kind of system is more dependable than using just one power source because your power grid is not dependent on one source.

In addition to this, it’s also cheaper because it uses smaller components for each source compared to what would be needed than if you only used either solar or wind power.

If you are curious about the cost, a base hybrid system that can generate 7.5 kWh per day starts at around $35,000 and can go up to $65,000 for a system generates 15.5 kWh per day.

With new advances in solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy, going off the grid is now not limited to moving out of the urban setting.

Now, because the systems are smaller, you can install an off the grid system no matter where your home is located- whether it be in an urban or rural area, or even in a remote area.

And yes, admittedly, the upfront costs are expensive, but it is expected that, as technology progresses in this area, these kinds of systems will become more and more affordable in the near future.

Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice?

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Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice – When it comes time to replace your fencing, the question arises whether to install some wooden fencing or to opt for modern vinyl fencing?

Thinking about a vinyl vs wood fence, it’s fair to say that wooden fencing used to be the automatic choice when steel or brass materials proved overly costly.

However, with improvements to materials and production methods, vinyl fencing now has a lot more going for it than in years past.
Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice

Wood or Vinyl Fencing – Which is the Best Choice

In this article, we take a look at the pros and cons of each and give you our verdict on the matter. Best Fencing

The Right Fencing for your Property

Pros and Cons of Wood Fencing

Wooden fencing is the traditional choice.

It’s a classic.

If you just must have real timber with definable wood grain patterns on it, you’re locked into that choice and the realities that come along with it.

Beyond the pleasing appearance, wood has to be treated with a protective coating to avoid it getting damaged by the weather.

It can suffer from insects eating away at it or general rot as the wood gets excessively wet and cannot dry out quickly enough.

As wooden fencing can degrade significantly over time, it can impact negatively on the curb appeal of your property.

Without proper and regular maintenance, you may need to replace the whole lot eventually.

And if you don’t, it can leave a negative impact with potential buyers if you plan on selling the property further down the line.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing is a newer choice.

It comes in non-textured plain colors, and you can choose either brighter or darker tones depending on what fits well with the look of your home.

There’s also a wood-like appearance through Timberland color choices that resembles wood from a distance without the negatives.

Another direction to go is BuffTech which is a fencing color that adds real texture, so it feels more like wood as well.

Maintenance is easier with vinyl than wood.

The vinyl fence only needs a spray down with water and perhaps a soapy wash every half-year or so.

There’s no patching up holes or re-applying paint or a protective coating to the wood.

Most homeowners are also unaware that vinyl is a lot stronger than wood.

It provides both strength and flexibility which means it is less likely to need replacing over time.

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Which Fencing Option is Best?

Unless you’re sold on wood as a fencing material, then vinyl is going to be an affordable option.

It provides far greater flexibility with color and material selection with a wood-like appearance but without the drawbacks.

A good vinyl fencing that is made with thicker PVC can last a couple of decades too.

This is longer than most wooden fences will manage.

When it comes to replacing your fencing, vinyl is usually a far better material of choice.

It’s not expensive because it’s made from PVC and is easier to manufacture, meaning the homeowner saves money as a result.

Off-Grid Living: Surviving the Great Outdoors When You’re Not So “Outdoorsy”

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Off-Grid Living – Almost everyone has seen the reality shows that showcase how to live off the land.

The majority of us look at those and think there’s no way we’d be able to do that.

Living off the land is definitely no easy task, and would certainly be a huge life adjustment to have to adapt to.

So if you’re thinking about this lifestyle, really take the time to do your research on it.

When you hear the phrase “living off the grid,” what’s the first thing you think of?

Most people think of trying to survive in the freezing cold, living in a tent, being several miles away from civilization, and fending off bears.

It’s common for people to think that because not too many people know exactly what off-grid living actually is.

Off-grid living

“The grid” is a common phrase used to describe the power grid.

The power grid is a system that sends electricity to every structure connected to it.

The term “grid” has expanded to encompass other utilities and is what keeps homes and businesses connected to power, water, gas, and phone line access.

Going off the grid removes access to those utilities.

You are creating your own power/energy, living without relying on the luxuries of technology.

In essence, it means being completely self-sufficient.

Living Off Grid
Living Off Grid

If you think about it, what did the early settlers do?

They knew how to “live off the grid.”

Do you know why?

Because there was no grid to live off of!

They didn’t have emergency radios to prepare them for when bad weather was coming.

They just had to live through it as situations occurred.

Living off the grid was their way of life. Realistic Off Grid Power Sources

We have been spoiled! With all the advances in technology, the thought of giving that up is unheard of.

However, the fact that living off the grid is becoming more and more popular, it has to at least spark your interest a little bit.

It has to at least make you wonder why people choose that lifestyle.

Is it financially smart, or do they just love nature THAT much?

Well, living off the grid is not as easy as it may seem.

You can’t just leave your home and pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere.

It takes lots of planning.

If you’re one who is seriously considering off-the-grid living, then there are some basic essentials you will need to survive.

Shelter/Safety

In the minds of most people, going off the grid means sleeping under the stars.

Some people really do sleep out in the open, but you have to be a little realistic here.

You need to have some type of shelter to protect you from the elements of nature.

You can opt for a small log cabin, RV (RVshare), or even a yurt.

Now keep in mind, it’s not going to be like a real home with all the luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to.

The key to finding shelter for this lifestyle is small.

If your shelter is small, it’s easier and less time consuming to heat up.

You also want to check to see if there are any laws or regulations you may have to follow that could potentially prevent you from making this change in living arrangements.

Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid
Our future home site – Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid

Off-Grid Food Source

How to get your source of food might be the hardest part of off-the-grid living.

You can’t just run up the road to your local Kroger or Publix.

No, you have to work for your food with this lifestyle.

Nowadays, you can’t really survive off the land just by eating berries, plants, nuts, and wild game.

You run too high of a risk eating something poisonous.

It’s also jut not that plentiful as it was in past generations.

A safe way to self-provide your sources of food is to grow your own garden, and invest in livestock.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables minimizes the poison concern.

Learn to compost to add richness to your garden.

The goal with livestock is to produce your own milk and cheese from them, and then breed them to produce sources of meat.

Waste Removal

Failure to dispose of bodily wastes can be very toxic to not only yourself but also to the environment.

It can cause several diseases such as intestinal worms and cholera.

Outdoor toilets are popular among those “roughing it,” but living off the grid is also about utilizing every resource you have, so people also will take their bodily wastes and compost it with a composting toilet.

From there, you can take that compost and use it to fertilize your garden.

But be sure to do your research on how to properly compost human wastes.

Human wastes can even be used as a source of fuel to heat your little home.

The whole process sounds somewhat gross and complicated, but just know when it comes to removing waste, nothing goes to waste!

Off-Grid Water

Having clean drinking water is essential to living off the grid.

Before you decide where you want to live, you need to make sure that a reliable water source is nearby.

Yes, being out in nature, you would think that there would be several sources of water via lakes, ponds, rivers, and even rain, but even those sources can be full of bacteria and can make you very sick.

Those living off the grid will dig water wells or harvest rainwater.

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The land was beautiful beyond what we could have imagined.

Transportation Living Off-Grid

Just like everything else with living off the grid, the way you get around will be very minimalist and simple.

Depending on where you live, you may consider in boats, canoes, tractors, and horses.

The most common mode of transportation is by foot.

Walking to get to a location definitely takes time and energy, but it certainly is free.

Another mode to get you where you need to go is bicycling.

Cycling is definitely a lot more convenient than walking, and it gets you to your destination in a quicker time frame.

For those times where you have to get back to civilization, cycling typically isn’t a common form of transportation used in cities, so you want to be especially careful when cycling in town.

Accidents happen all the time, so for those occasions that you do have to go into town for something, you want to, of course, be careful, but you also want someone who will help in case an emergency does occur.

The important thing with off-grid traveling is safety.

Bicycles have none of the fancy safety features that newer model cars do, so just mindful.

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Off-Grid Power

Last but not least is considering your power source.

This is the most important aspect of off-grid living because the whole point of off-grid living is to produce your own source of energy.

There will need to be a source of power to cook food and warm up your home.

People adapting to this lifestyle utilize natural resources such as wood to produce heat and fire for cooking.

Luckily with the advancements in technology, people can now opt for solar panels, wind turbines, and generators.

These particular power sources are not cheap and can be quite expensive to install.

Therefore, make sure you do your research on which power option is best for you, and which one can fit into your off-the-grid budget.

Keep in mind not just the purchase price, but also the costs of maintenance on the electrical and mechanical parts of the power source.

You can certain live off the grid.

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Remember, it’s not something you have to do all at once.

You can take steps to begin off-grid living in one way and add on the the others as you are successful.

3 Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

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Essential DIY Skills for Homesteading has always been a very hard knock life.

It was hard for our ancestors who first settled on the frontier in the days of the American Colonies, and it’s just as hard for those who choose to live in some the most remote locations that the United States has.

Sure – we enjoy far more advanced technology than our forefathers and mothers had, but for the homesteader, there are certain aspects of life that no fancy computer, or piece of machinery can solve.

Technology can’t stop water lines from freezing in below zero temperatures, or coyotes from trying to get in the coop, or a drought that leaves crops withering and dying on the vine.

No matter how you look at it, there’s a multitude of challenges that farmers and homesteaders alike have to deal with in order to pursue this way of life.

So when it comes to keeping the house running smoothly, you can’t afford to leave all of your repair work to someone else.

Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know
Essential DIY Skills that Every Homesteader Should Know

Besides the high costs associated with hiring carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to make repairs, there’s the delays because of scheduling, and a lack of qualified technicians available.

You can get away with having an electrical outlet or two that won’t put out a current, but having a faucet leaking so bad that it floods the kitchen?

That just can’t wait.

If you’re a homesteader, or you’re considering pursuing this very noble, but very hard, way of life, you need to be able to do the bulk of your own repair work, and below are the most critical DIY skills you need to keep your homestead running smoothly.

Fix a Leaky or Clogged Faucet

One of the most commonly associated problems with any house, whether it’s a farmhouse in the Big Sky country, or in the heart of Brooklyn, is the faucet.

They freeze up, won’t put out enough water pressure to clean hardly anything, and sooner or later, develop a leak.

A slow trickle of water that runs into the sink won’t do any harm, but a faucet that’s shooting out a geyser, or flooding the cabinets and floors of your home, will quickly wreck your home.

Fortunately, these are usually the most simple repair jobs, and require the fewest tools:

DIY Homestead Plumbing Tools You’ll Need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • WD-40
  • Hammer
  • Towels
  • Clog Remover (I’d recommend Draino or Liquid Plumber)
  • Latex or Dish Washing Gloves
  • Pipe Brush

How to Fix It:

  1. Start by shutting off the main water valve to your home, both to stop the leak, and to keep water from spraying everywhere while you make your repairs.
  2. Check the water hose connecting to your faucet. Ensure that it is seated in the grooves, and is twisted down tightly. If not, tighten with your hands or your adjustable wrench.
  3. If the line connector is already firm, check for rust, cracks, or breaks. If this is bad enough, you’ll need to replace the house. If it isn’t too advanced, remove with your adjustable wrench, and use WD-40 if it’s difficult to remove. Clean off any excess rust and reconnect the hose.
  4. If you’ve noticed that water has been slow to drain, or pooling in the sink, begin by pouring approximately half the bottle of your clog remover down your drain. Wait a half hour, then flush with hot water.
  5. If that doesn’t fix the problem, put on your latex gloves, and place towels below the PVC piping to catch excess water and filth.
  6. Remove the PVC piping connecting to your drain using your adjustable wrench, lighting tapping with a hammer if you need to to loosen the connector.
  7. Using your pipe brush and fingers, remove as much gunk, filth, and stoppage as you can.
  8. Repeat Step 4, and ensure the water is draining normally.
fencing barbed wire
fencing barbed wire

Repair a Strand of Barbed Wire

If you’re a homesteader, odds are you keep livestock of some form.

Even if you don’t, homesteaders are often easy prey for rodents and critters that target your garbage and crops for an easy meal.

It’s essential that you keep some sort of fencing up in order to help keep these varmints at bay, and your own herd contained.

Sooner or later, you’re going to have a wire break, either because a cow or horse panicked and ran through it, or because its rusted from rain and snow, and finally snapped.

When this happens, you’ve got to detect the break quickly, and fix it.

Fence Repair Tools You’ll Need

  • Thick Leather Gloves or Wiring Handling Gloves
  • Eye Protection Goggles
  • Strand of Barbed Wire
  • Fencing Sleeves
  • Heavy Duty Pliers with Cutter
  • Hammer
  • Fencing Staples

How to Fix Fencing

  1. If yours is an electrified fence, begin by shutting of the breaker running a current through your fence.
  2. Wearing your gloves and goggles, begin by removing any barbs about six to eight inches past both sides of the break.
  3. Measure out enough wire to extend about half a foot past both sides of the break when pulled taut.
  4. While keeping the wire taut, use fencing sleeves to crimp the replacement strand to the broken strand. Crimp the sleeve down, leaving about one inch of loose strand on each end.
  5. If the entire strand needs replacing, find the fencing staple connecting the broken strand to the fence post. Cut the strand with your pliers, leaving about three to four inches. Staple the excess back into the fence post using your hammer and fencing staples.
  6. Measure out enough new strand that you’ll be able to wrap about halfway around the fence post when pulled taut.
  7. Cut the new strand with your pliers, then connect to the fence post using two fencing staples on each post.
  8. In either type of break, check the tension when you’re finished. The new strand should move no more than about half an inch under steady pressure. Check your other strands while you’re at it.
  9. Turn your breaker back on. Test the current by either using a multimeter, or taking a blade of long grass with your bare hands, and touching the tip to the new strand. You’ll receive a slight shock, that won’t harm you, if the current is live.
fencing old branch fence
fencing old branch fence

Install a New Fence

Whether you opt to use barbed wire or plain old wood, I’ve already emphasized that you need fencing of some kind in order to protect your home, and corral your livestock. Best Fencing

A self made fence is a time honored tradition amongst homesteaders, and it’s one of the most basic tasks that you should be able to perform.

The Right Fencing for your Property

Tools You’ll Need to Install Fencing

  • Leather or Workman’s Gloves
  • Wooden Planks (3/4‘ to 5/8‘ thick)
  • Shovel
  • Wood nails or staples
  • Hammer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Level
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Ink or Paint Pen
  • An Assistant

How to Fix Fence

  1. Before you do anything else, measure out the area where you’re going to install your fence. The distance between fence posts can vary, but I’d recommend that you go no more than 15 to 20 ft. in between posts. You also need to how high you want your fence to be, and the gap you want to leave in between each board. Common livestock fences are usually between five and seven feet high, but if you keep horses, it may need to be higher.
  2. Using your measuring tape, measure out the distance between your fence posts. Mark the position using a rock, flag, or whatever you choose.
  3. Wearing your gloves, and using your post hole digger, dig a rounded or squared hole. Dig at least a foot deep, and keep your dirt in a consolidated pile.
  4. Insert your post hole. Have your assistant hold the pole upright and rigid. Using your leave, ensure the post is straight up and down, and level. Ensure the post reaches the desired height. If not, pull out and replace some dirt, or dig deeper.
  5. Pack the excess dirt in around the base of the post using your shovel.
  6. Repeat Steps 2 through 5 for a second post.
  7. Use your measuring tape to the position of the first plank between the posts. Mark the position with your ink or paint pen. The plank should extend halfway across the post.
  8. Have your assistant hold the plan in position, and hammer in the top corner of your plank on either post.
  9. Using your level, ensure the plank remains horizontal and flush with the post.
  10. Hammer in the remaining corner.
  11. Use your measuring tape to gauge the gap between planks.
  12. Repeat Steps 6 through 11 until your fence is complete.

Share Your Homesteading Knowledge

I hope you’ve find these three DIY tips useful, and will make your hard life at least somewhat easier. Taking Care of a Wooden Floor. Air Conditioning Maintenance.

The greatest resource that you have with a rural lifestyle is your friends and family.

They’ll be there to support you, both in the good times and bad.

Return the favor by spreading the knowledge that you’ve gained while you go about your day.

Get on your social media, or start your own blog, and share your advice with those who you may not even know need it.

There’s no such thing as an easy life when you’re a homesteader – just a life well lived.

10 Home Maintenance Tips that Will Save You Tons of Money

Home Maintenance Tips that Will Save You Money

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Home Maintenance Tips – Just like your car, your home requires proper maintenance, or you’ll end up paying a big price with it coming back to bite you in the end.

A house is the biggest purchase most people ever make, and regular maintenance helps to ensure that you protect that asset, avoiding expensive repairs later.

One of the primary reasons a home doesn’t sell when it’s put on the market is that it’s been poorly maintained, resulting in many repairs that the buyer will need to make – or forcing the seller to make them before the sale can close, which may prove too costly.

For example, as Kiplinger reports, replacing a roof in Florida runs around $6,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home, or $25,000 for one that’s 4,000-square-feet.

Buyers, particularly first-time home buyers, are likely to be scared off by that.

The good news is that home maintenance doesn’t always have to be costly. Essential DIY Skills for Every Homesteader

Home Maintenance Tips that Will Save You Money
Home Maintenance Tips that Will Save You Money

Home Maintenance Tips that Will Save You Money

There are ways to do-it-yourself that can save you money now, and in the future, keeping your home in good working order for many years to come.

Keep Your Roof in Shape

As mentioned, it’s important to keep your roof in tip-top shape.

By periodically checking it for damage and quickly replacing any worn or discovered shingles can prevent the need to replace it.

Pay special attention to shingles around the chimney, vents, and skylights as they tend to be most prone to leaks.

Protect Hardwood Floors with Area Rugs

Area rugs can help your hardwood floors stay in good condition as well as provide cushioning on the hard surface.

While there are plenty of pricey rugs you can buy, there are cheap giant rugs that can be purchased to suit every budget.

Taking Care of a Wooden Floor

Tools

Replace Weather Stripping

Most doors and windows come with weather stripping, the lengths of mental or rubber that seal gaps while allowing the door or window to open and shut properly.

It tends to wear out after time, so you’ll want to be sure that it’s redone on a regular basis.

Caulking on Windows and Doors

Sometimes it’s better to use caulk than weather stripping to keep doors and windows insulated.

It’s cheap and can be used indoors and out to help seal any cracks.

Change HVAC Filters Regularly

Filters for cooling and heating systems should be changed once every month or every two months, depending on how heavily they’re used.

You may need to change them even more often, every two weeks, if your a/c is running all the time during the summer, or if you live in a northern climate subject to harsh winters and use the heat continuously through the season.

Always Clean Out Your Dryer Vent

Allowing lint to build up in your dryer’s vent not only means clothes will take longer to dry, reducing its efficiency and requiring more energy, it could possibly lead to damage.

Replace Worn Out Washers in Faucets

The primary cause of a leaky faucet is worn out washers as they’re made up of rubber.

They’re easy to replace, just turn off the main water supply by unscrewing the handle that controls the flow of water to the spout, remove the washer and drop in a new one.

Touch Up Interior Paint

While you can transform the look for your home by repainting the entire interior, it can be rather costly and take quite a bit of time.

Instead, be sure to save paint from the current paint job, and then you can use that to do simple touch ups, rolling it over dirty spots on the wall. When it dries, it will look as though it was freshly painted.

Prevent Hair Clogs in Bathtub Drains

Strainers for your bathtub drains are extremely cheap and can prevent clogged drains. Guide to Composting Toilets

It will allow you to easily remove any hair that accumulates after a shower to reduce the amount that gets into the plumbing.

Keep Gutters Clear

Be sure to clear out your gutters on a regular basis.

If you don’t and they end up clogged, it can lead to wood rot, bug problems, roof leaks and even a cracked foundation.

Best Home Maintenance Tools

I shop for tools primarily online at ToolBarn.com and Amazon.com.

Ways to Save Energy this Winter

It can seem easier to save energy in the warmer months, but it’s just as important (and even more economical) in colder weather.

To get advice on ways to save energy in the winter, I asked the eco-friendly home performance experts at Air Heating and Cooling for their advice on reducing our carbon footprint in our homes from December to June.

Their best tips, as well as our our advice for work, school, and travel, are included in our 10 easy ways to save energy this winter:

Here are easy ways to save energy

Turn your thermostat down just a few degrees

This will give you an excuse to break out the hot cocoa or that favorite fuzzy bathrobe, and will save you hundreds over the course of one winter.

It’s surprising how quickly you can get used to a new ‘baseline’ temperature in your home.

Have your heating and cooling system maintained and cleaned yearly

A thin layer of dirt on the inside coil of your system can reduce efficiency by 10% or more.

Few people think about this hidden efficiency issue, but almost all local heating and cooling industry professionals will offer this service.

Replace your most used lighting with CFL or LED lightbulbs

LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.

Get over the initial sticker price and change out your bulbs this winter!

Ride your bike to work

Yes, you can still commute to work by bike in winter!

Wear rain gear over work clothes to make the transition into the office easy, and make sure you have a quality safety light if your commute will be in the dark.

When going on extended vacation, turn down your hot water heater to “vacation mode”

Or “low”, unplug unused/un-needed appliances or electronics to combat “vampire” usage, set your thermostat to 60-65, and turn your thermostat down on your pool or spa.

Have your home “performance tested”

Determine any duct leakage, under-insulation, or excessive air leakage in the house.

In our area of the northwest, for instance, duct leakage is 25-40% on average.

This can cause efficiency concerns obviously, but also health, safety, and comfort issues in the home.

Make sure the air you breathe the most–the air in your home–is not making you sick this winter!

Carpool to school or work

My family is involved in no less than four different car pools to accommodate my kids’ school and activity schedules.

While sometimes difficult to keep track of, carpooling saves us hundreds of dollars in fuel costs and reduces our carbon footprint.

Don’t block registers, radiators, return air, or baseboard heaters

Be sure to check the vents under beds and in closets, which can easily become blocked by blankets, clothes, or boxes.

Buy (and prepare) seasonal produce

Instead of having your fresh fruit shipped from abroad, find out what’s seasonal locally.

Look up recipes using seasonal ingredients, and find inspiration at your local farmer’s markets.

Light candles instead of switching on lights

I’m not suggesting you do everything by candlelight, but winter candles can add a nice touch to the dining room during meals or the living room while you’re only needing low light.

Only do this when there are adults present, not when children will be around and especially not around toddlers.

Accidents happen in just a second.

These are very simple and easy ways to save energy that you can implement immediately.

What ideas do you have for reducing energy use during the winter months?

Saving Money with an Outdoor Wood Furnace

Large outdoor wood furnace

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An outdoor wood furnace is an investment that many people are turning to these days in order to save money on heating their home.

It can save you thousands of dollars each year, not only on fuel, but even with your home insurance.

This is what started me on my quest to find the perfect unit for my home.

But a word to the wise, it’s important to do your research because not every outdoor furnace is manufactured to the same quality, standards, or efficiencies.

pristine series outdoor wood furnace
pristine series outdoor wood furnace

Saving Money with an Outdoor Wood Furnace

After a year of researching I chose Crown Royal Stoves RS7300E Pristine Series Outdoor Wood Furnace, and I have to say, I couldn’t have made a better choice.

This outdoor furnace is definitely built to last, and simple enough to operate that my neighbor’s kid could operate it if I was away for the weekend.

The best part, aside from all the money I’m saving, is how extremely efficient it is, in the amount of wood it consumes.

The Crown Royal Stoves RS7300E is a sleek looking, modern furnace with flush mounted doors with an integrated silicone rope gasket and a roller bear latch system, giving it one of the tightest seals I’ve ever seen.

Not only is this unit going to provide my home with heat for the next decade, but it will look good doing it at the same time.

The control panel is conveniently located to the left of the loading door and features a basic aquastat with simple setting.

pristine series secondary combustion chamber
pristine series secondary combustion chamber

My favorite feature on the control panel is the Load Switch which turns the blower fan on for about 90 seconds, forcing all the smoke through the chimney when I go to load more wood.

No need to worry about getting a cloud of smoke in the face anymore.

A water level indicator is located at the top of the furnace, which I can easily see from looking out my back door.

It even includes a Stainless Steel chimney that allows for additional lengths to be attached, or a chimney cap, to stop the rain from getting inside.

The firebox and water jacket are both constructed from 409 Titanium Enhanced Stainless Steel making it highly durable.

Something included in this wood furnace, that I haven’t seen in others, is something they call “Air Panels”.

These individual panels are hung from a single hook and are meant to help destitute the air flow around the fire and take the brunt force of the heat without damaging the water jacket or poured refectory.

pristine series roller bearing door latch
pristine series roller bearing door latch

Plus if anything happens to them, they can be easily replaced.

Gasification Outdoor Wood Furnaces

When they say they have the “most advanced Gasification process” in any Outdoor Wood Furnaces they weren’t joking.

Their poured refectory is literally a ‘gasification manifold’ injected hot air directed into the combustion zone, igniting even more gases, creating a hotter flame in the second combustion chamber.

Included in the Crown Royal Stoves RS7300E are Heat Exchanger Cleaners which have a dual purpose.

Not only do they self-clean the Heat Exchanger Tubes with a simple pull of the cleaner handler at the front, but they force the hot air to slow down by spinning through the Heat Exchanger Tubes, increasing the amount of heat transfer.

pristine series adjustable hinges
pristine series adjustable hinges

I’ve had my Crown Royal Stoves RS7300E Pristine Series Outdoor Wood Furnace installed for nearly two months now and I can already tell this coming winter is going to be one of cheapest I’ve had in years.

If you decide an outdoor furnace is how you want to heat your home, just make sure you do your homework.

This is one investment you don’t want to cheap out on.

Putting Up Fencing 5 Installation Hacks

Hand holding flowers

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Putting Up Fencing – Have you been looking around your yard feeling that it’s got a real lack of privacy, and you just don’t feel as though the space is your own?

If you don’t have a fence, then that could be your problem right there.

Installing a fence around your property, specifically your backyard, creates a designated area that offers privacy and the ability to really make the space unique and your own.

If you have pets or small children, then a fence also acts as a safety measure making sure everyone and everything is kept safely within the backyard.

Essential DIY Skills for Every Homesteader

backyard vegetable garden
This is not our garden–just a country European photo I love!

5 Hacks for Putting Up Fencing

So, before you jump right in and tackle the job yourself, there are some tips that you may want to consider.

Know Where Your Property Line Is Before Starting

Here’s a tip that seems too simple to mention, but all too often people just assume they know their property line only to install the fence in the wrong location.

You may also be required to get zoning and building permits before you start building.

Because you will need to dig in the ground for the posts, you will also need to locate where the underground utility lines are.

Your local utility company can come out and mark those areas for you.

Rent a Post Hole Digger

If you have plans on digging the holes for the posts by hand, then it’s time to think again.

The holes required will be quite wide and deep, which means a whole lot of grunt work on your part.

It is much easier and faster to rent a post hole digger.

Talk to Your Neighbors in Advance

It’s also a good idea to speak to your neighbors and let them know about your plans before the job actually begins.

Putting up a fence will affect them too, so it’s just common courtesy to at least let them know.

long rail fence along road

Give Thought to the Kind of Fence That Would Be Best

You will also want to give thought as to the kind of fence you want to install. Best Fencing

There are different materials, designs, and heights, all of which accomplish different things.

If you want a fence for privacy, then it’s best to look into privacy fencing.

If you’re just looking for a basic fence to keep the kids in the yard, then maybe a chain link fence is all you need.

The Right Fencing for your Property

Hire a Professional Even If It’s Just for Part of the Job

It’s no secret that installing a fence is very tedious, time-consuming, and very labor-intensive.

With that said there is also knowledge that is needed in order to install it properly and securely.

What this means is that a professional such as those at Northland Fence can really come in handy.

The professionals will be able to install not just the traditional wooden style fences but also chain link, vinyl, and ornamental fencing.

These can require specific tools that you may not even have on-hand, never mind how helpful it will be to use someone with experience.

Each of these tips will help to ensure your fence is exactly as you envisioned.