When we started talking about living off-grid, we didn’t realize how much planning it would take. First you have to decide where you want to live. Luckily, we already had property that had been left to me by my parents. We were able to start the site preparation right away, I’ve shared that here. Once you’ve chosen where, you need to investigate the cost for the land. Check into the permitting costs also. Some areas have more minimal permitting and therefore a lower cost to build. Don’t forget to check the property taxes, you don’t want to get blindsided by high taxes after you’ve purchased.
You should also consider how far away you want to be from the city. It is an hour drive from our property to town and we enjoy being that far out.
Income is another thing that you must consider. Although living off-grid is less expensive, there are still things that you’ll need. Auto, health and life insurance as well as items like propane, fuel and satellite services. We are planning to open an excavation business, so we started buying the equipment while we are still in the city. We will also sell our house and hopefully get enough to get the business off the ground. If you don’t have a way to make money from your property, either an online business or a service business, check the local job market for your options.
Off-Grid Power Sources
Don’t forget to figure out what power source you will be using. We decided on solar and propane with a back-up generator. Solar generators are an option that may work as well.
Lastly, don’t forget about water, we must have a well dug and then we will use a solar pump system with a small generator back up to get water to the cabin.
Cabins for Living Off-Grid
There are a lot of cabin plans online, I like Texas Tiny Homes. I am still looking for that perfect floor plan, moving off-grid, I don’t want it to be too small or too large.
I started making a list of the features that I want including windows, cabinets, storage options and bedrooms. Deciding on a 1 bedroom with a half wall to separate the kitchen and living rooms. By utilizing a half wall, it will make the cabin feel bigger and help with heating.
As I was making the list, I realized that I had a lot more to consider. I’d been concentrating on the cabin itself and not thinking about the outbuildings or gardens. It will add to my requirements, but I think it will be better to plan out everything.
Our property is forest management land so we are required to take down certain trees routinely and, with opening an excavation business, we will also be helping others clear their land.
Due to having a surplus of available firewood, we will be getting a wood stove to use as our main source of heat. I’ve been looking around for the right one and discovered that we could also utilize propane heaters for the tool shed and outbuildings. Northern Tool has a lot of option for both types.
We purchased a used RV refrigerator, stove and hot water heater. They all run on propane so we won’t have to get as large a solar panel system as we would if we were using residential appliances and that will make living off-grid a lot easier.
The lights and satellite will need power, but I believe that a 1200-watt solar system would be enough and we can use a generator for back-up.
Behind the cabin we will be building a woodshed and tool shed. Again, we haven’t decided on the size of the building. The woodshed will need to be big enough to hold at least 6 cords of wood as our winters get very cold. The tool shed won’t need to be as large because we will also build a garage, but it will have to be big enough to do small jobs. I will purchase solar lights to install in both areas.
It is my intention to have a large vegetable garden as well as fruit trees, strawberries and raspberries. That meant I needed to learn how to can. I turned to my mother for help as she had always canned when I was a child. She gave me her canning supplies and spent an entire fall teaching me everything she could. This will help with my food budget and if we can’t get to town food won’t be a problem. I can also participate in the local Farmer’s Market for a little extra cash.
Our growing season isn’t very long so I will start everything in a small greenhouse. I plan on making my own compost so I will be able to provide the proper nutrients without having to purchase fertilizer.
Living Off-Grid Can Be Done
Be patient, take your time and plan well. I have made many lists trying to get everything laid out. We have our site prepped and will start building next summer. It is a challenge, but living off-grid and away from the chaos of the city, will be worth it. We are excited to begin this adventure and can’t wait to live up in the mountains where life will be more as is should be.
Please leave me your comments, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas and you can learn more about me here.