Must Have Tools When You Start a Homestead
If you are thinking of starting a homestead, there are several must have tools you should have. Homesteads can be very costly when you are getting started. Land is not cheap and neither is the infrastructure to house livestock, gardens, etc. We have been slowly building up our homestead over the last 8 months. We invest in things in small bites so that we can do it within our budget. Over the last 8 months we have finished a number of big homestead projects: we have redone the horse barn, put up a second pasture, built a new chicken coop, built a fence for our dogs and built a greenhouse.
All of these projects as well as day to day homestead living have found us using some key tools over and over again. Many of these tools we already had before the homestead and some were new investments after moving here. If you are wanting to get started on a homestead and aren’t sure what you will need, this list is a great starting point!
My mom gifted us a large wheelbarrow right after moving to our homestead and it is one of our most used tools. We use it all over- in the horse barn, to clean out the chicken coop, for gardening, for hauling heavy items around and occasionally as a “table” for woodworking projects. It is a workhorse here on the homestead and everyone needs a sturdy wheelbarrow on their homestead!
2. Cordless drill
Homesteads = constant projects. We are constantly building, adjusting and adding on to our structures. Having a quality cordless drill is a must. Many spots on the homestead do not have electric and that is why cordless is necessary. We have both a DeWalt set and a Milwaukee set- both work great for our never-ending projects.
Homesteads have a lot of dirt and dirt means you need a good strong shovel. Fun fact, we actually broke our shovel this past summer building a fence and had to replace it-that shovel was working hard. We use our shovel for so many different things. We use it to clean up in the yard, building fences, taking care of puddles, moving compost and the list goes on and on.
4. Cordless saw
Going back to a similar principle as the cordless drill, homesteads have nonstop projects and they are sometimes in less than convenient locations. We are always building or fixing something and often, a saw is required. We have a sawzaw and circular saw that run on battery so we can use them anywhere on the property to make our projects faster and easier.
A staple of any homestead that has livestock. You will need a good pitchfork. Personally, I prefer the plastic variety. We use our pitchfork for cleaning out the horse barn and chicken coop, sifting through mulch or garden beds and for any project that needs earth/soil/sawdust moved. Even if you don’t have livestock, I think pitchforks are just so handy for yard and garden projects.
6. Sharp Knife
There is a reason farmers and cowboys/girls usually carry a pocket knife- they are a staple of farm life and so useful on the homestead. Whether it is opening hay bales and sawdust bags or taking care of a random weed, a good knife will be a super useful all over your homestead. I usually pick up box cutters at TSC and keep them all around the homestead.
The amount of times I reach for a basket or tub to carry things around the homestead weekly would amaze you. I am just always toting all sorts of stuff around and having a container of some sort helps so much. I use old buckets, simple baskets, plastic tubs constantly. In the garden, heading out to the barn, working on a project. While this is something you can invest in, it is also something you can probably save on by simply repurposing things from around the homestead: a cracked horse water bucket, a plastic storage tub that is missing it’s lid, an old cardboard box.
8. Jars and Jugs
I have things to store all over the homestead. I save all large plastic tubs (think kitty litter) to use to haul and store water for the livestock. I also save some milk jugs for water storage and as potentially planters. I clean and save glass jars from jelly and pickles to reuse for sourdough or kitchen storage. I like to clean and save old peanut butter jars for my husband to use as screw and nail storage in his workshop. While mostly I like to repurpose, I do invest in LOTS of mason jars for canning as well as general food storage… you can’t have too many!
If you have animals, you need lots of buckets in various sizes. You never know when a silly horse will break a bucket (it has happened to me so many times) so it is good to have backups on hand. Also, buckets are just helpful for hauling and storage around the homestead. We use a bucket to carry slop out to the pigs and to carry eggs in from the coop. Just trust me, buckets are your friend.
10. Bailing twine and duct tape
If you have ever spent time around agriculture, you know that bailing twine and duct tape is integral. As the joke goes, a farmer/cowboy/cowgirl/rancher/homesteader can fix almost anything with bailing twine and duct tape. Keep plenty on hand at all times because you will find so many random uses for it around the homestead. Bailing twine is free because you pull it off your hay or straw bales and duct tape won’t break the bank.
BONUS: A can do attitude
Homesteading is a journey. You will constantly be learning, pivoting, adjusting and figuring it out as you go. As long as you keep up a can do attitude, you will be able to tackle almost anything the homestead throws your way. Have a good attitude and enjoy the interesting journey of homesteading!