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How to Transition to Live off the Grid with Success

In recent years going off the grid has become a cultural buzz phrase. From reality shows airing, to dozens of new articles and media coverage, and legal battles has stirred many misconceptions and inaccurate facts about going off the grid. Our goal here is to clear the air and provide the facts on what it really means to go off the grid and provide a beginners step by step guide to really making it happen, with success.

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  I. Off Grid Living Philosophy
    1) Sustainability
    2) Self Sufficiency
    3) Independence
    4) Minimizing Waste
    5) Communal Living
    6) Trading and Bartering
    7) Saving Money
    8) Connecting with Nature
    9) Connecting with Old Ways
    10) Work & Play Balance
    11) Alternative Fun & Play
    12) Be Realistic, Not Idealistic
  II. Strategy to Go off the Grid
   A. Home Planning
    1) Buying Land
    2) Build New or Fix Old
    3) Generating Power
    4) Backup Power & Storage
    5) Sourcing Water
    6) Managing Waste
   B. Lifestyle Changes
    1) Reduce Energy Consumption
    2) Limit Appliances
    3) Compost
    4) Rent a PO Box
    5) Reduce Water Usage
    6) Farming & Gardening

I. The Philosophy Behind Off Grid Living

There are people who don’t give a lot of thought about using electricity provided by power companies. But there are those who strive to be more self-sustaining in all aspects of their lives.

Ever wondered how you could be independent and use electricity generated “off the grid”? Or how you could live your everyday life without relying on modern technologies and outside resources?

You might be surprised on how many people all over the world are doing it now. Around 1.7 billion globally are off their respective electrical and sewer grids. More than 200,000 US citizens are living off the grid.

One way to define it is when one goes to live in a more natural setting and becomes conscious of their energy consumption.

The “Grid” once referred to the US electrical system. The idea sparked when groups of people thought how they could potentially get their source of electricity via more natural means, i.e., solar and wind power. Americans welcomed the idea of unplugging from the grid and striking it out on their own with eco-friendly alternatives.

Off the grid living has grown since then. Now, it means a whole lot more than just having your own source of electricity. The term now refers to cutting off your cell service, generally escaping the clutches of invasive technology and becoming self-sufficient. Reducing overall carbon footprint as well as living a simpler, more rewarding life is the goal of any and all off-gridders around the world.

It can be one people, a couple or a family. Going off grid will prove to be a challenge at first, but it’s definitely doable. You can effectively erase your identity and live a happy, beautiful life on your own.

Are you ready to take that first step? Here’s what going off the grid is all about:

1) Environmental Sustainability

Back in the old days, each family and community had the idea of living off the grid down pat.

Our ancestors were truly independent. They strived to have their own source of water, food, electricity, gas and other essential goods.

Think about it. If you were living in a house that generated its own electricity, had a water source nearby, had a means to acquire fuel, heat, food, clothing and other necessities, then you’d surely become independent in every sense of the word. Even when SHTF events and the apocalypse came, you’d have a strong propensity to survive!

Finding a good source of nearby water is the very first step you should undertake. It is of absolute importance that you should be independent from government or municipal facilities on one of most basic necessities of man. The more natural wells and underground orifices in one location, the better.

Let me tell you that finding the ideal location where one can get plenty of water makes your self-sustaining lifestyle 50% complete. It’s vital that you can turn to this source of water all throughout the seasons for washing, cleaning, bathing and drinking purposes.

At the very least, you should have a reliable source come high winter and during the summer, where water could be limited. Invest in a portable water purifier for you and the entire family. Learn how to create a makeshift water filter using common items found in the wild.

The next task on the agenda should be your energy source. There are many options for creating sustainable energy- solar, wind and water. The choice will depend on your location and the geographical layout.

2) Self Sufficiency

Living off the grid and self sufficiency are both similar and different in meaning. For one thing, you can be free of using public utilities (off the grid), but still rely on certain human necessities (self-sufficiency). Being independent would mean that you rely on no one for electricity, water, food, shelter, protection, etc.

Some of you might wonder if self sufficiency also means quitting your 9 to 5. After all, won’t you need money to set it all up? What happens then after you start living off the grid?

Part of the philosophy is understanding that you can truly be the master of your own self. Yes, you work hard to earn a living, but the bottom line is that you can and should sustain yourself without the help of any external elements. You shouldn’t toil the rest of your life just to meet your basic human needs. Off the grid means you will have the time to pursue your interests, hopes and dreams!

Self sufficiency is an everyday practice. At first it’s understandable to have to go to the grocery store or the laundromat as you set things up, but off-gridders should strive to become their own masters in due time.

3) Independence and Freedom

Would you believe it if I told you that you can live for free in this world?

Realizing this is one more step towards off the grid living. Look at what nature can give you- food, clothing, shelter and an endless supply of renewable, clean energy. You have everything you need to survive!

4) Minimizing Consumption and Waste

One of the rules in successfully living off the grid is preventing wastage whenever possible. Some might even go as far as saying that wasting resources is a crime. It makes total sense, because although all the resources you have is free, that doesn’t mean you should waste it. Purchase only the items that you need. The things that add no value to your life should be avoided.

Think of it this way- wasting one resource will affect how you live off grid in the near future. Don’t waste hard-earned money just to be happy for one day. Practice the art of saving and being frugal. Not wasting means you avoid the need to be greedy.

5) Communal Living and Support Network

It’s not uncommon to find off the grid communities within your neighborhood, city or state. Having a community of like-minded individuals can be a boon as you could share skills, resources and whatnot. One could be in charge of managing the power supply for the entire group; one could be farming vegetables, and one could be growing livestock.

There are advantages of living off grid in a community. A number of off-gridders have a greater chance to successfully sustain themselves as a group as compared to an individual. There’s an internal barter system in place, with each individual or family having their own skills and interests.

 

6) Trading and Bartering

It’s possible to acquire some much-needed resources with little to no money involved. Our ancestors did this by trading and bartering with one another. The concept goes something like this- you offer your talent, skill or any excess resource to those who need it, and they give you something equally beneficial to you in return. Bartering is quick and it doesn’t need to be overly bogged down with details.

7) On Saving Money

Money should be the least of your worries when you go entirely off grid. Being able to generate your own needed resources, along with the barter and trading system for the ones you’re lacking for the moment should be enough for money-free living. If you do happen to make money, save it so you will have a resource you can use for later.

8) Connecting with Nature

Living off the grid is synchronous to becoming in harmony with nature. As you begin this way of life, you become aware of the beauty of our Earth, and you’ll come to appreciate and preserve the things around you. It promotes environmental living and the Going Green lifestyle on a wider scale.

Once you touch base with your inner instincts, you’ll have the chance to “re-wild”, or reconnect with your primal survival instincts. You’ll also forego living in artificial light and learn to wake up with the sun. Instead of having to worry if you have enough electricity, why not look up and learn how to live with our sun?

You’ll be surprised by how little electricity you consume if you work where there’s natural light, and settle down when the sun sets for another day. In other words, you sleep when it’s dark and make the most of your day when it’s light. Enjoy the stars, the twilight breeze and the nocturnal sounds that will lull you to a satisfying, deep sleep!

9) Connecting With Old Ways

When people hear the word off the grid living, they usually think mere survival. This shouldn’t be your mindset, because living entirely off the grid doesn’t make it just a remake of the hunger games. The goal isn’t a survival of the fittest aspect, but it should be a reconnection of the old ways and living like the ancient days.

There’s no competition. It’s just you and nature and everything else that’s around you. Don’t think too hard on surviving. Think about living and start from there.

10) Work and Play Balance

A lot of resources and hard work is involved if you strive towards off the grid living. Life slows down to the most natural rhythm, which means you should also slow down and smell the roses. You have achieved enormous work using immense energy and time, but now it’s time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve created for yourself.

Put your feet up and relax. Take in the amazing sounds of nature. Start a hobby that you’ve been putting off all your life. Read a book. You deserve it! Off-gridding is about slowing down and experiencing a simpler life. There’s plenty of relaxing activities to do and a lot of communing with nature.

11) Alternative Entertainment and Activities

Avoid electronic activities as much as possible. If you can eliminate it entirely, all the better. This means there should be no video games, no computer and no TV. If you’re used to being surrounded by electricity and all those newfangled gadgets, then it could take a while before you could shake off the modern addiction, but there’s still a reward to be earned.

Instead of missing out on these things, why not focus on what’s in front of you? The world is your playground now. Think hard about what it is you truly love doing. You’ll be surprised at how much time is freed when you won’t have to worry about earning enough to live. Then, you’ll naturally start spending time on your hobbies and your passion. The time you spend won’t be wasted on drudgeries. You will start to understand yourself better. Your natural skills will be nurtured and heightened. Then all the days you spend will be towards the things you keep putting off. You’ll be happier and more fulfilled as the days go by.

12) Be Realistic, Not Idealistic

Before starting your off the grid project, ask yourself- what is my motivation for pursuing this kind of life?

There are many acceptable reasons. One, you might be tired of having to rely on the electrical grid and be at the mercy of their price hikes and fluctuations. Or, you may wish to be more self-reliant. Other people may be tired of the current society and want to be left alone. And there are some who do it just because they can.

Think long and hard about what it is that drives you to go off the grid. Understand the reality of going off the grid- are you sure you want to forego modern luxuries? Understanding your base motive will also help establish what type of off-grid living you will set up.

Environmental Motive. Your motive is to use the least amount of energy possible and have a renewable system of energy you can rely on for your everyday living. You’d want to be free of price hikes and vulnerabilities of living on the grid, such as power outages, water outages, gas hikes, etc.

Political or Social Motive. You want to be responsible for your consumption of energy.

Financial Motive. The distance from the grid makes off-gridding more viable and less expensive.

 

– Going Off The Grid is Going Green

Going green is a natural byproduct of living off grid. This type of lifestyle benefits mother Earth and the environment. Most off-gridders select a location where nature becomes an essential part of their daily lives. You naturally gravitate towards places where there’s more sunlight, more water and more wind because you’ll rely on it more. You’ll start living differently than those who are in the city. For example, you won’t need as much stuff as the average consumer. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how much of the stuff you owned before wasn’t that beneficial to your life anyway. You’ll be more aware that we’re simply consuming too much. Then, you’ll be awakened to the fact that everything you need is all around you, and it is all free.

Off the grid living won’t mean that you have to give up your main mode of transportation, but you’ll be less dependent on it. You’ll still use it, but that will happen once a week or only once a month.

– Trade offs, Fears, and Finances

Some people take the chance of living off the grid as a more permanent means of escape. They may have lost their trust in the government, in society and large companies that promote consumerism. These people may have felt that community is no longer what it was before- a safe haven.

Individuals may find off the grid living a necessity that’s perpetuated by hard times. But they must also consider hard work and waking up early hours if they want to survive in an off the grid setting.

You’d be surprised at how much work you need to put in if you’ve always worked that 9 to 5 desk job. That’s not necessarily a bad thing- you’ll be the master of your own home. It will be your responsibility to make it livable and comfortable. Keeping a garden for produce, hunting and growing food, finding and storing wood for fire and making water potable are just some of the basic necessities for successful off the grid living. It’s not off the grid if you buy wood from the local grocery store.

You can sure bet that there will be trade-offs to consider. More notably, modern conveniences, the latest gadgets and technologies, and of course, less vacations. Think hard and fast- are you willing to give up a modern lifestyle?

Deep down, you may have longed to be free of all stresses of your modern life. You wish for times that are much simpler. Eat, sleep and be merry. Isn’t that the whole reason you’re stuck doing that 9 to 5 for years now?

Choosing to live independent of public utilities and all those modern niceties can be a liberating thing. If you think they’re chaining you down, then it’s truly possible that what you’re searching for is an off the grid lifestyle. Think about your doubts. What’s keeping you from realizing your personal freedom? More often than not, it’s a misguided notion about keeping up with current society and living the American dream.

The idea of living in the wild and having a crooked house, with little creature comfort may prove to be overwhelming at first. There’s truth in the saying “No man is an island”, but we shouldn’t be too restricted in living in crowded neighborhoods and playing set roles our entire lives.

Understandably, we shrink from the fear of the unknown. This is why some would rather endure 2-hour work commutes and 50-hour work weeks to pay off all those mortgages, debts and loans. Shying away from the norm will take some time getting used to. Being finally free of the 9 to 5 drudgery and not worrying whether you can survive for another day is a worthy endeavor someone would give anything for.

You can try to acclimatize from being free of the grid by visiting a similar homestead. Try to live a week or a month in a city with a smaller population, or in a cabin that’s sparsely populated with living amenities. You can target off-places that are miles beyond civilization.

 

II. How To Go Off The Grid and Make Your Own Homestead

Here’s a step by step strategy if you’re planning on going at it alone

A. Home Planning

You can choose any of the options below for going off the grid

1) Buying Land

The best kind of land you can buy for off the grid living will have some of these essential elements:

– Reliable Source of Water. Land that has more than one good water source are your best bet. Look for streams, lakes and other natural water sources.

Wildlife. This factor is important for several reasons. One, it adds to the off the grid atmosphere. Two, it can prove to be a very useful source of food for when you’re experiencing regional and even national disasters where food distribution grinds to a halt.

Sunlight. Don’t forget the importance of having healthy doses of sunshine. Forested lands, mountainous areas and coastal land will need to have plenty of sunlight for your solar panels. Try to sketch out a plan where you can install solar arrays that get lots of sunlight, even when the winter arc is lowest in the sky. If not, then go look for land that has this aspect.

Natural Fuel. You’ll also need some natural fuel for cooking and for heating your home with. The key to off the grid living is finding land that has abundant resources. Land that has numerous trees are always a plus. If you could get firewood cutting permits or get your own private land, so much the better. Here, you can plant saplings for future sustainability.

– Once you establish these things, then the next natural step will be to install your own septic tank system. Set up a well or a source of water near your home. These are the basics for waste and water management.

– The best land for off the grid living has plenty of areas to put up solar and wind energy. You’ll need an established power source for your energy needs at home. Before you think of anything else that you may need for your home, consider water, sun and wood. A piece of property that has all these 3 is your ideal location.

You can reach out to any of the pre-established off the grid communities if you’re having a hard time finding the perfect land. The Three Rivers Recreation Area around Bend, Oregon has a thriving community living well away from the grid. Breitenbush is also a renowned off the grid area, which is near Salem. For a closer look at income-sharing communities, try out Earthhaven, North Carolina, Twin Oaks, Virginia or Dancing Rabbit, Missouri. Spend several days and commune with the locals to see what the off grid life is all about.

You can also visit the Greater World Community, located in Taos in New Mexico. The “Earthship” homes are made entirely from recycled materials. Buying property here would run you anywhere from $75k to $350k. The buildings in Arcosanti Ecovillage, Arizona uses all-natural material as well.

Finally, the Possibility Alliance located in the state of Missouri is a testament to how people can live in the most simplest of lifestyles. All the off-gridders here share communal work such as tending to the livestock, cooking, farming and working from sunrise till sunset. Although some of the residents here stay only for a few months, there are permanent residents who call the area their home.

 

2) Building a New Home, or Rehab an Existing One

Should you consider buying a new home to move into, or to rehab your existing one?

It’s true that each of these options have their own pros and cons. You can move into a new home if it fits the ideal off-grid setting (plenty of wind, sun, many trees and water, etc.), or if you’re already on the right location, it would make more sense to rehab your existing home. Rehabbing or upgrading your existing home will be the more viable option if you need only to modify a few aspects (making it more eco-friendly, adding sustainable features), and if your existing property is already an off the grid living work in progress.

Here are some more Pros and Cons for each to consider:

 – Building a New Home Pros

Quick, Efficient Transition. New homes are pre-built and ready for occupation. You can add in a few specifications before the house is completely built, but once that’s done then there’s little extra work to do. You won’t have to repaint, remove walls. relocate the toilets and maintain existing plumbing.

Enjoy New Design Elements. You can have a contractor put in the things you want for off the grid living before you move in. Moreover, they can add in essential elements and everything you need without having to work from the ground up.

Energy Efficient. You’ll be limited in terms of electricity and power, so you’ll want to make the new home as energy-efficient as possible. It fits into the overall theme of living off the grid.

 – Building a New Home Cons

More Expensive. Understandably, new homes are priced higher than if you were to rehab your existing home.

Little Customization. A new home may or may not have all the design elements you’re looking for. If you’re accustomed to DIY projects, then a rehab may be the better choice.

– Rehab an Existing Home Pros

Huge Savings. Working with what you already have will save you more in costs. You won’t have to wait until the right kind of property comes along.

Complete DIY. You will have complete freedom over the design choices and which off the grid feature goes where. If you have the know-how and the skills to build, then you can draw up your own plans and get started. You can take full advantage of the lay of the land and put up solar panels that will get the most sun, or build your room that has the most energy-efficient location. The end result is more or less how you envisioned your house to be.

 – Rehab an Existing Home Cons

More Work Needed. Choosing to rehab your existing home means you’ll have to put up with the extra work required. Even if you hire a contractor to do most of the dirty work, you’ll need to work with the details and get ready to do manual labor on some of the processes involved.

More Time Needed. The rehabbing process could take weeks, or even months if you want a huge remodel. Converting some of the areas of your house into one that’s better suited for off the grid living will take up huge amounts of your time.

3) Generating Power

Off the grid living is all about generating your own electricity. This is one important element that you shouldn’t skimp out on. You can build your very own energy efficient house, or buy a land or house that comes with pre-installed off-grid power sources. Setting up one for yourself may vary, but the estimated out of pocket costs will be somewhere around $10,000.

The two best sustainable energy sources are either solar or wind power. A single wind turbine would cost somewhere between $500 to $2500, while solar panels are a more complicated matter. You’ll also need a way to convert all that energy into usable electricity.

Untethered solar power can be had for an investment. It’s all worth it in the end. Imagine having your very own source of electricity that can power simple appliances and the like. The first thing you’ll need is a capable solar panel.

A mid-sized solar power array can generate somewhere around 2,300 watts worth of electricity. This is enough to run a small kitchen’s worth of appliances, a laptop computer, a TV, a refrigerator and a medium washing machine. You won’t need air conditioning since you’ll get plenty of cool air and refreshing breezes from where you’re at. Plus, ACs are a major energy hog.

The best measure of how much solar panels you will need is how many of them you can afford. The sooner you have the investment money for them, the better. Get the latest photovoltaic cells that could acquire more solar energy more efficiently. This directly translates to the quality of life you experience. You’ll also depend less on gas and firewood when you have more sources of free electricity coming from the sun. Instead of needing more firewood or propane, you can just use free electricity to heat your water and cook your food.

Don’t forget about investing in an off grid battery bank! Sure, you can get electricity as long as there’s a sun, but it always helps to have a backup power at night. You can add batteries that could store power and require little maintenance. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pour in distilled water from time to time, and check and see that the state of charge doesn’t go below 50 percent. I know how this added maintenance may seem to be a bother, but think about not having to pay an electricity bill ever again, or experience an inconvenient power outage.

A final note on off-grid batteries. Get as much as you can. This maxim applies to solar panels as well. PV panel costs are dropping each day, so make the most out of it. Oversize as necessary. It’s instant peace of mind, and you get to rely less on generators.

– Wind Power For Off Grid Living

Don’t count out wind power just yet. Installation of turbines have recently proven to be worth the effort when you wish to be living off the grid. Wind is always present, all the time. This fact could prove to be useful for when you’re not getting any sun for an extended period of time.

If you can install both solar and wind sources, the better. They can work exceedingly well and complement each other. A hybrid solar and turbine system combined will allow you the luxury of having enough electricity per day. Sometimes this combo is enough to forego the use of generators. Don’t be surprised if you would need the generator for only a few times per year!

How does one find an ideal location for setting up a wind turbine? The best sources of strong wind would be at a high vantage point, at a wide field and near a large body of water. For safety reasons, it should be 300 feet away from tree lines, silos and barns. The height should be at least 30 feet taller than any object that might cause dangerous turbulence.

Like any good prepper, you should think about all possibilities and prepare for all kinds of emergency situations. This applies to your wind turbines as well. Protect your wind turbine and ground it properly. Turbines operate in extreme weather conditions and can break if you don’t take the proper measures. Repairing broken wind turbines may prove to be inconvenient but you’ll soon thank the stars for having more than one reliable source of electricity.

– Heating Water and Your Home

So we’ve covered the wastewater management, potable water supply and electricity. The next step would be the concern of heating your home. As it stands, your house should already be optimized for being energy efficient by means of insulation and installing heating elements, but of course one should prepare for the unexpected as well. You can consider using propane to cook your food and heat water. This is not the most sustainable means but it’s a good start to living off the grid. Look deeper and you’ll find other renewable sources of heating your home.

You can start by varying your methods of heating water. Instead of using electricity to make hot water, why not let the sun go at it directly? There are many ways to install a solar hot water heater. Make a DIY or purchase one that’s ready to use. When the clouds come, or when the rainy seasons start to show up, then you can switch to other heating methods. Woodstoves are excellent alternatives for heating water. Put on larger kettles so you can heat larger amounts of water on demand. This will serve you well during the cold winter months. Install a cast-iron bathtub that retains the heat of the water and passes it on to the bathroom floor for maximum efficiency.

Most homes that are connected to the grid use most of their electricity for heating purposes. Compare this to wood stoves that use the surrounding environment for fuel. Burning wood won’t be as damaging as using fossil fuel, because it will get absorbed by the surrounding trees anyway. Use firewood cutting tools that are electrically powered to complete the loop.

Biogas can be created from scratch once you learn how. It’s not too hard to live a self-sufficient life nowadays. The more you stay away from the grid, the more independent and knowledgeable you become!

4) Backup Power and Storage

Focus on creating your own power grid that could generate 10,000 kilowatts of usable electricity per year. This figure should be enough to power a typical American household. If you don’t know anything about solar panels, wind turbines and alternative sources, now is the time to find out.

Browse around and you’ll see a lot of power storage options. The energy you acquire from nature can be stored for later use. To prepare for all kinds of contingencies, you’ll also need a back up system in place. Have propane or electric generators on hand. These are widely available on hardware stores, home improvement shops and on the internet. You can look in eBay, Amazon or Craiglist, among others.

Propane generators are better than generators that are powered by gasoline. Gas depletes easily, while propane can be kept indefinitely.

How about food storage? A freezer or any similar container should work fine here. Grow some onions and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and potatoes. A root cellar is excellent because you won’t need electricity for it. A cistern below the kitchen area will do- it’s cold but it doesn’t freeze. It also contains a high amount of humidity, which is good for storing vegetables.

5) Sourcing Water

Water use will significantly decrease once you get off the grid. A storage tank that holds up to 20 gallons should suffice. The source of water will depend on your location, but the most possible ones include a river, a cistern, a well, a lake, etc.

Here’s how you can find one:

Drill A Well. This well water will come in handy for use inside the house. To supplement this, you can purchase cisterns or make your own to collect rainwater falling from the sky. This water can grow your crops and be used for bathing. Drilling and the pump can be priced up to $15,000.

A deep-drilled water well paired up with a solar-powered DC pump fills up the water tanks quite nicely. You can also install a drip irrigation system to water your garden everyday.

Water should be collected in large batches. Pumps require a significant amount of electricity, so you can time it when the sun is up and you’re collecting solar power. Two tanks per instance should suffice. Don’t forget to put in the septic tank to complete the water process. This will cost a few thousand dollars, but it’s always worth it.

 

6) Managing Waste

In off the grid living, you’ll quickly find out that there are no municipal waste bins and garbage trucks that collect your refuse each week. An efficient waste management and waste disposal system should be set up. Installing a septic tank is the first step; the next logical one would be to create a compost pit that will be beneficial for a lot of things.

Managing your waste is very important. If you leave waste on the surface carelessly, then you could end up very sick and unable to do any work. A consistent method of disposing waste is paramount if you wish to be successful in off-grid living.

There are several ways to do this. Put up composting toilets that don’t use any water. The septic tank should be able to deal with indoor bathrooms. Your shower room could be placed outside your house to save on space. If you aren’t too keen on the idea of having to heat water, you can invest in a propane tank for hot water on demand. Since you won’t be bringing washing machines along, you should pick out functional and durable clothing that can be worn in any season.

B. Lifestyle Changes

Some people might think that off the grid living is reserved only when the apocalypse comes. They may deem it unnecessary because they are accustomed to living a plentiful life. Off the grid living is a practice of living a self-sustaining life, and it’s beautiful in its own way. One can connect with the living world and all that it can offer even when there’s no global war or SHTF scenario. If you think about it, modern conveniences veer us off towards dependency, with more and more inventions claiming to make life easier for humans. In essence, living off the grid means shaking off the shackles of pop culture, conveniences and being free from the government.

Off the grid living serves to open your eyes as to what life can give. Your current life isn’t what it totally seems. Mother Nature can provide for everything you’ll ever need. You might be overwhelmed and wondering why you ever got into this if you’re accustomed to living the sheltered life, but soon the blinds fall away and you experience a wonderful commune with Earth. Be prepared to let go of the things that seem to matter the most to you- modern conveniences, technologies and the like. Yes, you may still use them but they will not dominate every waking moment of your life from here on. Instead, you’ll get to think on your feet and work with whatever’s in front of you.

 

1) Reduce Energy Consumption

You’ll learn how to maximize the sun and the energy it brings. Work when the sun is up and rest when it goes down. If you need electricity, then put up additional generators and solar panels whenever resources allow it.

2) Limit Appliances

What goes inside your new home should be of the utmost importance. This means there shouldn’t be any space for one-use or superficial appliances. No video games, microwave oven, clothes dryer, washing machine, blow dryer, etc.

The ones you put in your home should have the highest energy efficiency rating. Nowadays, a larger energy efficient unit is better than an old refrigeration unit in terms of electric consumption. Since we’re talking about appliances, let’s talk refrigeration. Food should be stored to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Opt for small refrigerators that consume very little power. The 3 most power-hungry appliances are the following- the water pump, the TV and the fridge. For these 3 appliances, it would be worth it to invest in a better, more efficient unit.

3) Compost

Composting is a must-have. Learn the ins and outs of waste disposal. Read up on how you can recycle most of your waste, and leave the rest to the local dump sites.

4) Rent a PO Box

Living off the grid usually means you won’t be living in a residence anymore. If you have family and loved ones that you’d want to stay connected with, then you can opt to rent a PO Box for this matter alone. It’s optional, but one of the few things you should consider.

You may also want to keep an open line via mobile phone and other communication devices. An emergency radio is one of the most important things you can bring with you, which could be useful when such situations and scenarios arise.

5) Reduce Water Usage

Water can come from the basins that collect rain, barrels and cisterns. You can heat the water you’ve collected using a wood stove, an installed solar water heater and the like. For washing your clothes and eating utensils, you can use hand soap and the nearest water source, i.e., rivers, lakes, etc. You won’t be using as much water because you’ll be conscious of it all the time.

Your water usage along with your power usage will naturally lessen. You’ll learn how to shower, flush and wash your clothes only when necessary.

 

6) Farming and Gardening

Farming and gardening is a must-have if you wish to thrive off the grid. Get all the information you can and start farming and gardening, even if you haven’t escaped yet. All that you eat can be acquired from the land. Some of the most important food you need are fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Plant crops, preserve food and know when the best time is for harvesting. You can gradually add to your food source by keeping livestock. Farming is hard work, but it is ultimately rewarding. You won’t get to be good at it overnight- keep at it and you’ll find your skills improving day by day.

Propane stoves would be great for cooking your meals. Consider other alternatives such as an outdoor fire pit or a DIY barbecue grill.

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