Beginner Homesteading: My First Tools on a Limited Budget

Image by HOerwin56 from Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links from which I receive a commission. I will, however, never recommend or link to something that I have not tried and liked or would not buy myself. Thanks.

While puttering around outside, I was thinking about what to write a post about, when I started panicking because I couldn’t find my big loppers. That panic made me realize that there were a number of tools some big, most small, for which I was so extremely grateful! Thus was born this post about useful homesteading tools for beginners!

One important sideboard on this list of tools is that I moved onto my acreage less than a year ago. A second sideboard is that I did not start this venture with any great piles of money to spend. Depending on your homestead set up and your goals, you may have different needs. For example, you may not get emotionally attached to your loppers if you don’t really have a lot of trees and shrubs. So, don’t think of this list as the definitive list for all beginning homesteaders but hopefully it can give you some ideas.

My approach is to highlight the tools I have used the most in the first 9 months. I will also include a few wish list items that I am currently dreaming of for when finances allow. The wish list will undoubtedly change as the homestead does; for example when I add chickens/ducks I am sure there will be lots of different needs then.

Without further ado, here’s the list!

Tools I Am so Thankful to Have!

1. Loppers

As alluded to above, losing my larger ones almost sent me into a panic! My acreage is half wooded and has lots of trees besides, PLUS some particularly hardy weeds, so these get used all the time!

2. Chainsaw

I wrote a whole post about getting and and learning to use my first chainsaw. For things the loppers can’t handle, it’s a must!

3. Buckets. Many, Many Buckets

Do I even need to provide commentary. I have at least 10 and could use double that! I feel like I’m always reaching for a bucket!

4. Riding Mower

I was SOOOOO lucky the previous owner didn’t want to take this little bad boy with them. Although I did have to spend quite a bit to get it tuned up and working again this spring. I’m hoping to learn about how to do basic maintenance and service on it myself. I probably have an acre of lawn, which I am working on reducing, but for now, this is a must for mowing. It can also double as a little baby tractor to, in the future, pull around one of my wish list items. *ashamed whisper* Plus, it’s kind of fun to use.

5. Shovels

I’m kind of hoping these become less necessary as time goes on? But in the first few months and, I dare say, years, there are too many garden beds to create and plants to plant, so a good set of shovels are a necessity.

6. Smart Phone

An unorthodox choice maybe but I find my smart phone indispensable for 2 reasons. One for recording things on the homestead through pictures. It gives me a nice pictorial, dated, record of things in the garden, on projects and also captures how things are changing.

Secondly, it provides me with an on-the-spot information resource. Such an important tool for someone new to homesteading.

7. Wheel Barrow

It is always in use. Always. Pictured here it is receiving the mounds of bunny litter from inside to be taken to the special compost pile at the back of the property.

8. Tarps, Glorious Tarps

Like the buckets, I own quite a lot of tarps and could honestly use quite a few more! They’ve been instrumental in helping with new garden prep, in harvesting potatoes from the grow bags and I will use them soon on a trench digging project that I am really looking forward to *sarcasm*.

9. Dehydrator

I can’t leave off some of the indoor tools which are new to me and are proving to be very useful! You can dehydrate things in the oven but having a separate dehydrator is really worth it. They use less energy, have convenient trays to use and keep the oven free for other things. It has helped preserving the harvest, as well as prevent other kinds of food waste in my kitchen.

10. Instant Pot

I know it seems gimmicky but man do I love my Instant Pot and I haven’t even used all it’s functionalities! I bought it to make yogurt which it is incredibly proficient at! It does a great job cooking dried beans with the pressure cooker function. PLEASE NOTE however that the instant pot has not been approved for use in pressure canning.

I just used it this morning to cook some kidney beans in preparation of making chili. This is the model I have which is labeled “Best for Beginners”:).

Wish List Tools

  • A heavy duty, 4-wheeled garden cart like this. It will be easier on my back and allow me to cart heavier loads around.
  • A cart that can be towed behind a riding lawn mower like this. For the same purposes as above. I need to do research on whether my current mower is even up to this!
  • A lightweight, medium sized trailer for the car like this. I have a car, not a truck and if I want to be able to haul things I want some kind of trailer. Notice that I am in need of a lot of tools to move things around!
  • A splitting maul so I can split my own firewood AND some steel toed boots to go with it. I’m eyeing this one.
  • Small Woodchipper. This is a tool I’m not entirely sure about so if anyone has experience with it I’d like to hear your thoughts. I have a LOT of branches and downed wood and like the idea of making my own mulch. I still have a bunch of research to do on his one!

Tools you have known and used?

What tools do you use around your yard, homestead or farm that are completely indispensable? Those tools, that when you look at them, you get a little flutter of gratitude in your heart? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

Book Recommendation

I love books and reading, so I can’t resist including a book recommendation with each post. The book will, in some way, correspond to the post.

When I think of women using tools, one of my favorite characters pops into my head: Mercy Thompson. Mercy is the heroine of an urban fantasy series by Patricia Briggs with the first book titled Moon Called (linked below). Mercy is a really good auto mechanic; she’s competent, down to earth, and unafraid of grease and dirt. She’s also a coyote shapeshifter and is pretty fearless in that part of her life as well! She gets entangled in various mysteries and with the local werewolf clan. I love this series and generally think of it as a light, exciting adventure with good fast moving plots and great characters. That said, I would issue a trigger warning for sexual assault in book 3 or 4, so I would perhaps steer clear of the series if you’d like to avoid that. Click the book cover below for more information.

3 Comments on “Beginner Homesteading: My First Tools on a Limited Budget

  1. oooh, good list! This year, Jesse picked up a lawn sweeper that pulls behind the lawnmower to pick up lawn clippings and leaves. At first, this made me roll my eyes. I can rake and haul lawn clippings to mulch the garden manually, thank you very much! Plus, manual labor is a great workout! But we have SO MUCH YARD here at the research station and SO LITTLE TIME that it turned out to be a frivolity that paid for itself. Plus, the lawn sweeper’s mulch harvesting efficiency meant I had every bit of bare ground in the garden thoroughly covered (a few times over!), which meant hardly any time spent weeding! Another gadget we have fun with in the fall is our nut wizard (, which really makes quick work of harvesting all the apples and walnuts lying on the ground.

    • Oh my gosh, the lawn sweeper sounds pretty amazing! I’ve been pull out the push mower when I need some clippings but it won’t be enough when the garden expands…and it was kind of a pain the ass. I will put lawn sweeper on my wish list! I have 8 walnuts in my yard so the nut wizard also sounds like a good one to look into. It doesn’t bruise the apples?
      I had a laugh this week because I was working with this kid and was telling him how useful buckets are and he said when he worked at Menards and they would have a 5 gallon bucket sale people would swarm and buy like 50 buckets. That would totally be me.

  2. It probably does bruise the apples but usually apples on the ground have the potential to be contaminated by deer droppings, so they’re not ones we’ll end up eating anyways, haha. And seriously, we are always short buckets around here, it’s crazy!

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