It seems like, lately, more and more essential homemaking skills are not being passed on to the next generation. People’s lives have become so busy that they have begun to rely more and more on conveniences. Not very long ago, almost every woman at least knew how to cook, bake, sew, garden, etc. Knowing these basics is a part of what got them through hard times, such as the Great Depression. And still today, if you know how to do most things yourself, you can save a lot of money.
I am so very thankful, I learned most of these skills, when I was young, from my mom. When I got married, life was so much easier, because I already knew how to cook, clean, grow a garden, etc. But even if you didn’t learn these skills when you were young, it’s never too late to learn something new and useful!
The most important homemaking skills to learn
Cooking and Baking from Scratch
This is probably the most important skill any homemaker should know. Homemade food not only tastes much better, it is so much healthier than most packaged foods you can buy at a grocery store. And in addition to the health and taste benefits, homemade food usually costs only a fraction of the price of prepared foods. Just doing this one thing, can drastically reduce your grocery spending. If you want to start learning the basics of cooking and baking, I would suggest getting a copy of several of Mark Bittman’s cookbooks.
Growing your own food is very rewarding. Produce from the garden tastes so much better than from the store and is cheaper too. Several packages of seeds, that cost about $5 total, can easily produce more than $100 worth of vegetables. If you don’t have the land to grow a garden, consider growing some vegetables in pots or containers or find someone who would like help in their garden in exchange for produce. If you have questions about gardening in your area, contact your agricultural extension office. They can give you gardening advice, based on the area that you live in. You can also find many good books on gardening at your local library.
If you grow a large garden or buy produce in bulk, you need to know how to preserve it for later. Canning, dehydrating, and freezing are the most popular ways to preserve food. Freezing is the simplest and very easy to learn; though canning and dehydrating may be more desirable methods, because they don’t require electricity to keep the food from spoiling. If you would like to learn how to preserve food, a good place to get started is the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website.
Reusing and Repurposing
Finding new uses for old things and reusing items as long as possible, can be a good way to save money. For example, you could reuse empty containers for something else, use your dishwater to water your garden, or turn a pair of pants with holes in the knees into shorts. If you need some inspiration, be sure to follow me on Pinterest for many great ideas. I have seen so many awesome ideas, on Pinterest, that I want to try and would love to share with you!
Sewing and Needlework
This is one thing I’m not very good at, but I need to keep practicing. Knowing how to sew your own clothes and household items is so useful. Not only can you make custom clothes for yourself and family, but you can also alter clothes when necessary; like when you find a shirt you like at a thrift store but it doesn’t quite fit. If you want to learn how to sew, find a sewing class in your area or ask someone, you know, to teach you.
At first, learning to give haircuts can be a bit scary, but you will save a lot of money if you learn to do it well. I bought a hair cutting kit about 3 years ago for $40 and I’m still using it. (The same kit is now $60, but you may be able to get it on sale for less) It would cost more for my husband and two boys to go to the barber once, than it has cost me to cut their hair, myself, for the last 3 years. Boys’ hair is the easiest, so I recommend starting with your boys’ or husband’s first. Then, if you are confident enough, try your girls’ and your hair. I always cut my husband’s and boys’ hair myself, but I don’t trust myself to cut my own hair.
There are so many benefits from learning homemaking skills. If you don’t already know how to do these things you should consider learning how. They are super helpful if you are trying to save money. If you can do it yourself, you won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. And if you already know how to do these things, you could start a small business to provide these services to people who don’t know how or don’t have time.
Let me know in the comments below, whether you think we should continue to teach these skills to our children or if they are outdated and unnecessary today.