In a busy, modern world, there seems to be less time in the day and never-ending to-do lists. It’s no wonder people prioritise convenience over quality. With such busy schedules, we often forget to take a moment to slow down and appreciate old-fashioned homemaking skills like baking a loaf of bread, planting some lettuce seeds in the backyard or making a batch of homemade jam.

A corner of Makylas cottage kitchen filled with staple pantry ingredients for from scratch cooking

It’s amazing how many of the skills our grandparents had are becoming popular again. These past few years have made many of us stop to think about our way of life and what we want our future to look like. These old-fashioned skills are not just hobbies but also help us live a more sustainable and mindful life.

As I get older, I find myself finding more joy and comfort in a simpler life. Reading, learning and practising old-fashioned skills continue to fill up my cup, and the joy and satisfaction it brings has been unmatched by any jobs I’ve done. There is something truly beautiful about embracing new but old skills and enjoying the simple things in life.

Preserving equipment in Makylas homemaker kitchen making cherry jam

By all means, don’t overwhelm yourself by learning how to grow your vegetables, preserve, bake bread and sew all at once. Simply take each day as it comes and schedule a small pocket of time to try new skills out. Try baking a fresh loaf of sandwich bread on a Saturday morning and planting some easy-growing spinach leaves in a pot on a Sunday afternoon.

These things take time, and I think that’s what so many of us are craving in our lives…time to slow down and get back to the basics. But I must warn you that these things can become addictive because they’re so much fun and satisfying!

Here are 9 old-fashioned homemaking skills that are still worth learning today:

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1. Gardening

So many people say gardening is a form of therapy for them, and I get it. Gardening can be really relaxing and allows you to ground yourself with nature. Getting outside, embracing the fresh air, digging in the soil, and growing things are so rewarding. Since I work from home, I love to take breaks out in my garden and do small chores when I can fit them in.

Homegrown onion harvest

There are a few misconceptions about gardening, such as the need for a lot of space, the need to know how to grow everything, and the idea that it’s expensive or too hard.

These aren’t true! You can grow a lot of food in pots, and starting with easy-to-grow plants will help you become a confident gardener. Gardening has been around forever. Our grandparents didn’t have fancy tools or expensive watering systems.

Learning how to grow a few simple vegetables first can help supplement your grocery bill and also help you grow your skills. It teaches patience, care, and the reward of enjoying the fruits of your labour.

Snap peas and rhubarb harvested from Makylas cottage garden

2. Cooking from Scratch

If you were to choose just one of these old-fashioned homemaking skills, cooking from scratch should be the top priority. Cooking from scratch is an invaluable skill that helps you save money and nourishes your family how you see fit. When I first moved out of home, I knew a few simple recipes, but since then, I’ve found so much joy in experimenting in my kitchen that my skills and knowledge have grown immensely.

Our grandparents didn’t have the same conveniences we have today, so they made a lot of food from scratch, like bone broth, bread, cookies, pie crusts and soups. Learning to prepare meals from basic ingredients allows for healthier eating, reduces waste, and brings a sense of accomplishment that no pre-packaged meal can. It’s also a wonderful way to pass down family recipes and traditions.

Homemade spelt flour crust quiche

3. Bread Making

There’s something so comforting about the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Breadmaking is a skill that seems almost magical, turning simple ingredients like flour, water, yeast, and salt into a loaf of bread.

There are many ways to make bread, but the main two are yeast and sourdough. I recommend learning to make yeast bread products before jumping into sourdough. It will help you develop breadmaking skills quicker and feel more confident using a sourdough starter. Yeast bread is quick-rising (a few hours and baked on the same day), compared to sourdough, which is long fermented (8+ hours or overnight rising and baked the following day).

When you get a taste for bread making, you’ll probably want to make cheese rolls, pizza dough, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, bagels, and English muffins.

Homemade bread in a loaf pan

4. Preserving

Preserving food is a very popular old-fashioned skill, especially for homesteaders or homemakers with gardens. It involves canning, drying, fermenting, and freezing. Preserving food is a great way to extend the life of your garden’s bounty or take advantage of seasonal produce. Learning to preserve food reduces waste, saves money, and allows you to enjoy the taste of summer in the middle of winter.

You can make so many amazing things, like homemade jams, jellies, curds, bottled fruits, dried herbs, tomato sauce, relish, chutney, syrup, and so on.

Canned jars of homemade apricot jam preserves

5. Sewing

Sewing is a wonderfully practical and creative skill. If you’ve been here for a while – you already know I love to sew. Whether it’s mending a tear, altering a garment to fit perfectly, or creating something entirely new, sewing offers a way to express creativity while being mindful of consumption.

Makyla sewing on her sewing machine

When you learn the basics of sewing, you can make many useful things, from pillowcases to pot holders to skirts. It allows you to create custom items for your home or family at a fraction of the price, and you have full control over the materials and fit.

I have lots of helpful sewing guides to learn how to sew here on my blog; this guide to sewing is perfect to start easily.

6. Homemade Natural Cleaning & Beauty Products

Nowadays, many cleaning and beauty products contain harsh chemicals. We use these products without a thought throughout our homes and on our skin. What if I told you that making cleaning and beauty products is easy, affordable, and safer?

Using simple, natural ingredients to create effective products benefits your health and the environment.

Here are my favourite homemade natural recipes:

7. Budgeting

Budgeting might seem like a basic homemaking skill, but managing household finances has always been important for living a calmer, sustainable lifestyle. Being a frugal homemaker and budgeting effectively means more than just keeping track of your expenses; it’s about making mindful choices that reflect your values and priorities, ensuring that your resources are used to support your family’s goals and dreams.

If your family has only one income, creating a simple budget can help you see where your money is being spent, how to reduce expenses in one area, increase them in another, or save for a rainy day.

Saving money on groceries is one of the most flexible and easiest places to reduce your budget. Consider buying in bulk, shopping at your local farmers market and making more food from scratch.

With everything so readily available nowadays, getting into debt or overcommitting is easy. Setting a budget lets you know exactly where your money is being spent and how to adjust for your needs.

8. Setting Routines

Establishing routines might sound mundane, but they are the backbone of a peaceful, well-run home. Routines bring structure and ease to daily life, reducing stress and leaving more room for joy and spontaneity. They help manage the everyday tasks of homemaking, from cleaning to meal prep, making time for what truly matters.

Routines were popular back then because families had animals to feed and cows to milk. Waking up early and doing these outside chores before breakfast was normal. There wasn’t such a get-up-and-rush-to-work-and-school attitude.

If you don’t have a routine, consider setting yourself a morning routine first and see how you get on—remembering that it has to work for your family. Adjust accordingly and test to see what works and what doesn’t.

9. Slowing Down

Perhaps the most important old-fashioned skill is the ability to… slow down. In a society that prides itself on busyness, choosing to slow down is a wonderful act of self-care. It’s about savouring the moment, whether you’re kneading bread dough, tending to your garden, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of tea.

Makyla holding up her favourite cafe au lait dahlia in her garden

Slowing down allows us to appreciate the beauty in the mundane, fosters mindfulness, and deepens our connections with ourselves and our loved ones. This is what Makyla Creates is all about!

Find your peaceful moments. What brings you joy? Can you fit this into your daily routine and slow down, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day?

Final Thoughts

Embracing these old-fashioned homemaking skills offers a pathway to a more intentional, sustainable, and fulfilling life. They remind us of the beauty of creating with our hands, the value of self-reliance, and the importance of nurturing our homes and families. So, let’s dust off those aprons, roll up our sleeves, and rediscover the joy of homemaking together!

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