The Ultimate Checklist for Living Off the Grid: Your Guide to Making the Change

There are many reasons why you might want to live off the grid. Maybe you’re looking for a simpler way of life, or maybe you want to escape from society’s pressures and obligations. Whatever your reasoning, it can be difficult to know where to start when making this big change in your life. That’s why we have created this checklist! It includes everything that you need to plan before committing yourself fully to living off the grid.

Off-Grid Living Preparation Checklist:

Make a list of everything that you’ll need to learn and accomplish before heading off the grid. You might want to make separate lists for practical things, like learning to install solar panels or sewing up some clothes from scratch; and more abstract stuff like how you’re going to deal with loneliness or finding meaning in your life again.

  • Draw up a budget to help you work out how much money it’ll take for your new life. It’s also worth thinking about whether you’re willing to get any extra jobs, or if this is simply an escape from the pressures of having bills and responsibilities.
  • Think about what kind of vehicle will be best for getting around in your new life. You might want to buy a camper van, tractor, or even an old truck if you’re planning on living somewhere remote.
  • Decide where you will be going and what kind of climate you are looking for in your new home country/state/province. If you still haven’t decided, it’s worth doing some research into different places.
  • Figure out how you’re going to get your home there, and if it’s possible for the size of your vehicle (and house). Or perhaps you should consider buying a mobile home instead?
  • Think about what kind of animals will be best suited to life in your new environment. Will they have access to enough food and water, or will you need to bring their food with you? Will they be able to cope with the climate there?
  • Decide if your pet(s) are coming too. If not, make sure that you know where they can stay while you’re getting settled into your new home and life.
  • If you’re taking your pet(s) with you, make sure that they are up to date with all vaccinations.
  • Research the local wildlife in your new place and think about how it can be dangerous or problematic. Do you need to take precautions like not leaving food outside? Will there be animals stealing from your farm/home if you are living off the land?
  • Research all of your health care options if you’re moving somewhere with no doctor nearby. Find out what hospitals and pharmacies are in the nearest town, how far away they will be from where you’ll be living, whether or not they have an emergency room open at night etc. Think about possible emergencies that could happen and what you would do in that situation.
  • Find out about the closest hospital to your new home, when it was built/renovated etc. How long have they been open? Are there any reviews from other people who have been treated there? What kind of equipment does it have on-site? Do a drive-by if you can.
  • Find out about the closest ambulance station to your new home and what kind of response times they have etc. Is it an emergency number? If you’re at all unsure, call them up and ask questions until you feel satisfied with their answers!
  • Research how far away any airports or train stations are from where you’ll be living. What kind of transportation options will you have to get back and visit family/friends?
  • Figure out how the local electricity works. This is important because if you’re going off-grid, it means that you’ll be responsible for making sure there’s enough power for your home!

Make Sure That You Meet Requirements Checklist:

  • Make sure that you meet all requirements for living off the grid in your new location. This might include permits, registrations, etc.
  • Get to know any local bylaws (or simply ask someone who lives there). For example, in some places, it’s illegal to build a campfire or drive around with an RV unless you can prove that you’re staying somewhere.
  • Check out the weather patterns in your new location so you can plan accordingly – i.e if it rains for most of the year, make sure that there is a good roof on your house, or else water will get inside!
  • Make sure to find out about any local emergency services and whether they are volunteer-based (in which case they could be slow to respond) or not.
  • Check out all of the laws and rules regarding firearms, knives, etc in your new location: you don’t want to break any laws when you’re off-grid!

Planning Your Homestead Out

  • Decide whether you want to own your land or live on someone else’s property.
  • Figure out where the boundaries of your homestead are and what kind of fences need to be built (or paid for by someone else).
  • Think about where you’re going to put all of your animals, how many there will be etc; are you going to have enough land for them?
  • Figure out how much work it will be to get the space ready before you move in. Are there any trees that need chopping down, or rocks/thorns, etc that need removing? You don’t want to do all of this after moving!
  • Find out whether there are any animal diseases in the area. If you’re going to be keeping livestock, it’s best if they are vaccinated against common ones!
  • Create a checklist of all of your equipment so that when you get there you can tell what needs replacing/upgrading etc. Remember to consider things like tools and tractors but also smaller things such as shovels, buckets, etc.
  • Figure out how much it will cost to get the land ready for your new home and what you’re going to need in order to do so (i.e money, tools).
  • Find out about all of the requirements needed when living off-grid: like needing a permit/license or having certain things on site before you live there.
  • Figure out how much land you need in order to keep all of your animals/plants etc and make sure that they will fit on the property or else you might have to get more!

Requirements for Growing Your Own Food

  • Find out about the local climate and what you will be able to grow there.
  • Figure out how much room your plants/food etc are going to need – remember, if they’re outside, it’s up to you whether or not they survive! Make sure that their needs can fit on your property before committing yourself.
  • Check out what pests might be a problem in your new location and whether you need to do anything about it.
  • Figure out if there is enough water for the plants/animals etc that you’re planning on having: this could mean multiple sources or just one large source!
  • Find out which kind of soil will work best in your area and how much it will cost you to get the land ready.
  • Do research about which plants/plants are best suited for your area and how long it takes them to grow etc. Make sure that they can be grown during any season!
  • Find out who is selling what produce locally so that you don’t have to travel too far when you start your garden.
  • Check out if there are any laws regarding growing produce and selling it: you don’t want to get into trouble when living off-grid!

Planning To Bring The Grid With You

Figure out how far away the nearest power lines/phone line is from where you will be staying – remember to take into account any trees or other obstacles that may block the signal.

  • Figure out how much it will cost you to set up your own power source (or pay someone else!) and whether this is financially viable for you; also think about what kind of power supply you’re going to need – electricity, solar, etc. You don’t want to get into debt just to live off the grid!
  • Decide whether you want to use solar power or wind turbines etc; what will work best in your area? Make sure that they can supply enough electricity for everything on the property.
  • Figure out how much it’s going to cost you and who is responsible for installing/building any generators, water pumps, etc.
  • Think about whether you want to use a phone line and how this works with the power supply: maybe the two need separate sources, or perhaps there is a way for them to work together?

How Can You Preserve Food?

  • Figure out what food you will need to store for the winter or just in case.
  • If you’re growing your own produce, then think about how much room it’s going to take up – can you fit everything on the property? If not, do some calculations and see whether there is any way that you could increase this space (get more land) or decrease the amount of produce that you need to have.
  • Figure out how much it’s going to cost and whether there are any ways for this money to be earned back (selling/bartering food etc). It will be a loss if you spend all your cash just getting things up and running!
  • Find out how to store the food properly and whether any of it will need to be cooked before eating.
  • Decide which foods you’re going to buy from a grocery store or just eat out – this might save some money but it’s not very sustainable!

Things To Think About Before Living Off The Grid Forever

  • Figure out who is responsible for what kind of work on the property. Does everyone have to help with building/repairing fences, buildings, etc? Or are some people just there for security purposes?
  • Are you allowed to hunt on your new land or will this be an issue if it’s not yours? If so, consider whether you can buy meat from a local farmer instead.
  • Figure out how much time you can spend on the property, both maintaining it and living there. This will affect what kind of work needs to be done! Are you only allowed to go during weekends or are you free every day? Will this change in the future?
  • If your new land is near a national park etc, consider whether there are any fees to enter the area.
  • Think about whether you want to be near people or completely isolated for most of your life; how will this affect what kind of work is required on the property? Will it make more sense if you live with others (maybe move onto a commune!)?
  • Make sure that you have a plan in case something goes wrong. If your generator or water pump breaks, do you know how to fix it? What if there is an animal attack on the property – are all of you prepared to fight back?

You’ve Made The Change – Now What?

  • Figure out whether you’re going to sell the land and move onto another one or if you want to stay for as long as possible. If it’s the former, consider how much time this will take – is there any work that needs doing before selling (repairing buildings, etc.)? Can those who are living on the property help with this?
  • If you’re going to stay, then think about whether there are any plans for the future (more land, etc.) – what will that mean in terms of work and cost? Will it be worth doing all of these things down the line or should they wait until the property has been lived on by others for a while first?
  • Make sure that everyone knows how much time they can spend on the property and whether there is a maximum number of days per month etc. Otherwise, you could run into issues if some people are taking more than their fair share or not contributing at all!
  • Decide what kind of rules will need to be in place so that everything runs smoothly. Will there be a rota for who is responsible for what kind of work on the property? What will happen if this schedule isn’t followed?
  • Think about whether you want to spend more time living off the grid or going back and forth with your old life (going out, spending cash, etc.) – how can these two lives merge together?
  • Figure out how you’re going to communicate with the outside world. Do you need a phone line on the property or is it more about getting away from technology altogether? Where will this money come from and what kind of maintenance needs doing if there isn’t one already installed?

What Skills You Should Learn?

  • Consider whether you should go to college first or not – how will this help for living off the grid?
  • Learn about mechanics if you’re going to be fixing up broken-down vehicles yourself. You might also want to learn some other practical skills that could come in handy (cooking, gardening, etc.)!
  • If you’re feeling brave, learn how to shoot a gun. This could be useful if you want to go hunting or even just feel safer on the property!
  • Learn basic medical skills too – this will help for emergencies and also allow you to find out about what kind of medicines might be available in that area. You can then create a checklist of supplies you might need to take with you when leaving the property!
  • Consider whether there will be a freshwater source on your land and, if so, how much water can be gathered from it. You’ll want to create a plan for collecting enough drinking water each day (and storing any excess) before actually making the move. This is particularly important if you’re going to have livestock as this will mean that they need a constant supply.

How to Find a Water Source?

  • The easiest way to do this is by looking on a map and seeing where the nearest rivers, lakes, etc. are located – if you’re near one of these then it’s likely that there’ll be plenty for your needs!
  • If not, think about whether there might be any natural springs in the area or even ways in which water is naturally collected. Can this source of water be tapped into or will it require a pump installation?
  • If you want to have livestock, think about how much extra space they’ll need and whether there is enough grazing land for them nearby. This might mean that the closest freshwater supply actually has to be moved…
  • Another option would be to have a water tank installed – this can be filled with rainwater or even from the nearest river, then used for all of your needs.
  • Make sure that everyone knows where to find fresh drinking water and how much should be collected each day! If there isn’t enough stored away in tanks etc., people could start getting dehydrated…

How to Find a Power Supply?

  • Figure out whether you want to stay off the grid and live completely without power, or if there is a way of hooking up your land to an existing supply.
  • If electricity isn’t important for living on the property (for example, if you only need it occasionally), then think about how much it will cost each month. Can you afford this?
  • If you want electricity, do you need it all the time or just for certain appliances (for example, lights)? You’ll then have to decide if solar panels are a good idea – how much will they cost and what maintenance needs doing on them.
  • Find out whether there is an existing power supply nearby that you can tap into. If not, you’ll need to think about how electricity would be generated on the property – could a generator power things or do you want solar panels?
  • Solar is a popular option as it’s easy and cheap to install (but expensive upfront). A generator might be better if your land isn’t suitable for getting good sunlight.
  • Make sure you have everyone on the same page about electricity. If children are going to be living there, do they understand why it’s important? Will anything bad happen if they play with electrical appliances without asking first?

How to Find Water Supply and Power Source Before Moving Off-Grid?

  • Look online for nearby properties that might already have power and water supply. If there is one, you can simply ask them about their costs, etc., rather than having to do the research yourself!
  • Figure out whether it’s possible for your own property to have a connection installed – this will be much cheaper in the long run if you plan on staying off-grid for more than just a few months.
  • If you want to be completely off the grid, think about whether there are any existing water supply or power supply options on your land that will need to be kept working during the transition period. For example – do you have a well? Would it still work if all other appliances were turned off for a few weeks/months?

FAQ

Is Living Off-Grid Worth It?

It really depends on how much you value your peace and quiet! Off-the-grid living means that there will be no neighbors, which might mean a few fewer conveniences but also a lot more privacy.

How Do I Get Off-Grid with No Money?

Ideally, you’ll have some money to invest in the transition. If not, it might be worth just cutting down your expenses as much as possible so that there is more cash available for when everything needs setting up!

How Do I Buy Land Without Money?

Once you’ve found your perfect piece of land, think about whether there is a way to get it for free. For example, if it’s owned by the government or someone with no family who might want it back one day!

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