When thinking about living a vintage life there are many ideas that come to mind.
For some, a vintage life is living in the country with farm animals and a garden.
For others, it’s to live a simple life by incorporating old traditions that have held true throughout the generations.
Like managing a home within a budget.
It can also mean making homemade recipes and creating DIYs with your hands.
Or surround yourself with vintage finds that have an old nostalgic feel that may have been passed down.
Whatever it looks like it’s an intriguing lifestyle.
Especially for this city girl, right here.
As I take you through these practical changes to living a vintage life, they are things my family and I are practicing, right now.
It’s an idea.
We don’t live in an old house.
But within the walls of our city home (built in 1998) I have created a Victorian Farmhouse styled home that reflects my love for antiques and vintage finds.
Our backyard is a small lot.
By taking the space we have we are building a backyard homestead.
It’s living the dream right where we are.
With the crazy world we live in it is no wonder we are looking to the past.
But I want to encourage you that it’s possible to live the life of your dreams.
It takes work and a mind shift to move in the direction of living vintage.
And it can be done right where you are.
Is living a vintage life worth it?
Every step towards a simple lifestyle is worth the effort.
It takes planning but the truth is it is in the trenches where we learn.
Stepping out and changing how we do things can be scary.
Who doesn’t like the cozy comforts of our life as it is?
But if there is a ringing desire for something more.
To live free of stuff.
Free from the chaos and free from the overload of noise.
Then I want to lay out some practical changes you can do now to live a vintage life.
Now, this isn’t going to be easy.
There is an uncomfortable feeling when stepping out of your comfort zone.
But this is how you can adopt new ways of living simply by doing them one step at a time.
Here are some practical things you can change right now:
- Live within your means.
Buy used instead of new.
Did I mention it wasn’t going to be easy?
Living within your means is hard work.
I love beautiful things.
And saying no to myself has been excruciatingly difficult.
But one day I learned a lesson and here is my story.
Several years ago I would thumb through the pages of Pottery Barn catalogs and drool over the newest collection of rugs, home furnishings, and table settings.
I’d spend an enormous amount on shipping to purchase antiques off of Etsy.
But then one day, I found myself at our local Goodwill.
On the shelf was a gorgeous Pfalzgraf tureen that I had been wanting for $5.99.
I’ve seen them on Etsy for $40 to $200 + shipping.
I was humbled at that moment and realized I had it all wrong.
My vision was so small before because I thought acquiring a beautiful home meant purchasing expensive things.
The home of my dreams didn’t come from ordering from catalogs and spending unsurmountable shipping costs to get the look I desired.
It could be possible to find treasures at my local Goodwill.
I realized that consumerism was a big part of who I was.
And it still can be that way sometimes, if I’m being honest, even though we’ve scaled back tremendously.
And so, the journey began to transform our home with thrifted finds.
I’ve had to stuff my pride down a notch or two to look past the dirt and grime in a second-hand store.
When I did the possibilities opened up to me.
Like this Goodwill shelf and mirror that I painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint.
Buying used is not a downgrade.
It’s just a different way of thinking.
And we’ve found out it’s a beautiful life to live.
Not to mention a great way to live within our means.
Another thing to change:
- Get rid of the things you don’t use.
This is as practical as it gets.
Don’t scroll too fast cause it’s a sensitive subject for some and may not sound relevant to living a vintage life.
But it is so relevant because clutter creates chaos.
And if living a simple life is what you desire, then this is a practical step to getting your life to a place you can breathe again.
A practical daily routine you can adopt is to declutter for 10 minutes every day.
You will need a garbage bag and a box.
Go into any chosen room in your home and find things you don’t use.
Ask yourself, do I love this?
If not, either toss it out in the trash bag or put it in the box to send to Goodwill.
If it’s worth a lot of money you can list it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
But most of the time I just send it out the door to Goodwill.
That is a bonus of owning mostly used things.
It keeps future purchases to a minimum because it hurts to get rid of things.
Am I right?
Another habit to adopt:
- Choose to eat whole foods and make foods from scratch.
I know, you’re probably asking me how is this living vintage?
Well, it’s an old-fashioned way of life like the olden days when Grandma made homemade jam and fresh bread.
Back in the day, they didn’t have all of the prepackaged foods we have at our fingertips.
Our family has become aware of the chemicals used in a lot of our food today, that it has become a mission to eat organic, as much as possible, and make homemade meals.
We’re leaning towards taking our life back and resorting to old ways of doing things.
And eating whole foods and making food from scratch has been a learning curve.
It’s easier to buy frozen dinners.
To buy big Costco-sized bags of premade chicken strips and french fries, for example.
But instead, we are buying local farm chicken, and using fresh organic potatoes.
Finding local meat farms that don’t use chemicals in the feed for raising chickens, cows, lambs, and pigs is crucial in this day and age.
I’ve emailed meat companies asking if they use vaccines.
While I know this is controversial (and maybe stepping on toes), it is important to choose what is best for your family.
And let me be honest with you, I think it’s ok to be cautious about what goes into our body.
It’s a chosen life our family decided is worth pursuing.
And knowledge is how we can prepare for the changes in our world.
- Become self sufficient.
There is a preconceived idea that we have to live on 5 or more acres before we can live a vintage life.
Especially when it comes to being self sufficient.
At least that’s what I thought.
But my husband shared with me, one day, that he doesn’t want to wait until we live on our dream property to be self-sufficient.
His thoughts were why do we have to wait? Why not do it now?
I’m like, yeah! Let’s do it!
With all the research under our belt, it just made sense to take the steps to become self-sufficient.
We may not live on acres of land or have a farm but we still can live like a pioneer and trudge through the unknown.
We’re not farmers, nor do we know how to garden like a pro.
But we do have the willingness to trek through the steps one day at a time and learn along the way.
And that is all you need to become a pioneer by trekking through the unknown.
Here is a video showing the beginning phase of building our backyard homestead.
And if you don’t have a yard, that’s ok.
There are things you can work on to become self-sufficient.
And one of the ways is to have a container garden.
Having containers for vegetables, fruit, and herbs is easy and doable for almost anyone.
Here are some ideas of produce that do well in container gardening:
- Zucchini Squash
- Potatoes of all varieties
- Yellow Squash
- All lettuce (romaine, bib, Boston, for example)
- Kale (beautiful for decorating a porch)
- Mint of all varieties (pineapple mint is my favorite)
You could make a wonderful meal with these fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
This list is not exhaustive.
But it gives you an idea of what you could grow on your deck or patio of an apartment where there’s some sunlight.
Or if you don’t want a full-fledged garden with raised beds then this is a wonderful option.
Other ways to be self-sufficient is learning new skills.
You may already do some of these, but here is a list:
- Bake homemade sourdough bread
- Make an all-natural homemade laundry detergent (get my recipe here).
- Learn to preserve food (from your garden) by canning, dehydrating, and fermenting.
- Prepare for power outages by getting a generator to keep your food from spoiling in the fridge and/or freezer. And to heat your home.
- Buy bulk foods for emergencies, like dried beans, rice, and freeze-dried veggies and fruit, for example.
These are examples of skills and steps to take that don’t require living on land or a farm.
It’s becoming independent from others for your needs.
Living a vintage life is different than what is our current norm.
It’s a way that gleens from the past to our present world, where it’s becoming more desirable to return to our roots.
These changes I’ve mentioned are just a part.
There is much more to uncover, and I will share those ideas soon.
Since we’re talking about gardening, I want to share this bargain with you! I found raised garden beds for under $60 each on Amazon. Such a great deal! Go grab them before they are out of stock.
- Milky White Raised Bed – 67″L x 20″W x10″H – Here’s the link.
- White Galvanized Raised Garden Bed -3x6x1 – Here is the link.
And here are some rectangle-raised garden beds that come in a pack of 2 that I think are worth sharing.
- 2 Pack Raised Garden Beds – 68”x36”x12” – Here is the link.
To see these raised beds in our backyard, here is a YouTube video sharing the process.
We would love for you to come along on our journey, so subscribe to our YouTube channel here. Lots of new things are coming up soon.
For a step-by-step guide to building a backyard homestead from scratch, go here.
For some decorating inspirations, go here.
For DIY projects and inspirations, go here.