When visitors come to our home the most asked questions is usually, “How difficult is it to start living off the grid?”. For most people we have to assume that they are really asking us, do you think ‘I’ can do this?
With a reasonable amount of energy and determination anyone can achieve these same results. Here is a list of our Top 10 Tips to get you started.
1. It’s all about the land when you are considering living off the grid.
Picking the right piece of real estate can be as easy as asking some neighbors or as difficult as moving all the way across your state or province (as our family did). The choice is up to you.
What kind of land do you want? How big? and where do you want to live? Different areas are more desirable to some people.
Our main criteria was that we wanted a big enough parcel that we would have firewood and building material resources. We wanted a good water supply. And lastly we wanted quiet.
After the hustle and bustle of the area we came from a quiet area away from the main road was a top priority for off grid living.
2. Debt free living = Happy.
Before considering any move or change in your lifestyle consider your financial situation. Living debt free is a major consideration when starting something new. Do we have those old nagging monthly debts following us around? How do we get rid of them?
A simple plan like the one we followed really has allowed our family to live free once again, free of the ‘wage slave cycle’ that envelopes us and keeps us where we are.
Change is very difficult to implement for most families and those monthly bills, once eliminated can be a real liberator for you and your family. That is the place to begin once you have set clear objectives for your family.
Your plans must cover the elimination of debt for you to succeed.
3.Involve your entire family.
Kids are smarter and more industrious than we sometimes give them credit for. Involving even small children in the move to living off the grid can really change things for the better. It turns a potentially frightening change in lifestyle into an adventure.
From our own experience our kids were really pumped about the great adventure that awaited them moving to our own property.
4. Learn about solar panels and whether they can work for your family.
From the beginning we employed solar panels to run our home. It was a good choice and one that allowed us to live how we wanted.
Solar panels, especially if you build your own solar panels is a great choice and a real time and money saver for your family. Every dollar invested is a dollar (and more) saved from your energy bills each month.
5. Learn about wind generators and whether or not this option can work for you and your family.
Just like solar panels, wind generators could be the answer. Providing a great supply of electrical energy when the wind blows this is a great compliment to any home renewable energy system.
In fact, we would recommend a so called ‘hybrid’ system combining the two for anyone considering such a move to off grid living.
6.Invest in some form of backup power system.
Even if you only have to run it a couple hours per week, a good gas or biodiesel generator is a good investment.
Our family invested in a Honda Generator, only 2000 watts, that is quiet and has passed EPA testing standards and it has turned out to be a great investment.
Granted we only run it for maybe 1 hour per week, just to charge batteries when it is particularly cloudy or not windy, it is good to know it is there.
7.You need to embrace technology to be successful.
In the beginning we thought we were pioneer homesteaders and lived as such, but the amount of work necessary to make a homestead run is tremendous. As we got older we knew we could not keep this up forever.
Not that 40 is old by any means, but we did want time and energy for more enjoyable pursuits, not just for the mundane tasks of everyday living. Satellite internet, solar powered water pumps, satellite TV, and of course our renewable energy system all have contributed to our enjoyment of our life here.
8.Remember that it takes time.
Just like any sizable project this will take time. Do not expect that you can simply pick up where your neighbors left off, this is a project you need to grow into and get used to.
Building your own renewable energy system is a fairly large project, and building your own home which you might also choose to do is also a big project. Look at this as long term and break it all down into manageable sections and you will be fine.
9.Make time for gardens and hobbies outdoors.
Remember that you can work too hard at a project, and you need other activities to balance everything out. What might appear to be fun time, building and working outdoors, compared to your regular ‘job’ work, will quickly become ‘work’ too if you are not careful.
Take the time to plant a garden, sit in the lawn chair, and enjoy the birds and animals of your new location too. After all that is the reason you have embraced off grid living in the first place,isn’t it?
10. Keep learning.
It always amazes me that when people get done school they think they know everything they need to know to live a successful life. The ones who treat education as a lifelong process are the happiest and most successful.
Never stop learning about ways to live better and embrace a better life and living off the grid will turn out to be the best decision you ever made.