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Off Grid Checklist: Become Self-Reliant with these Steps

Off Grid Checklist: Become Self-Reliant with these Steps post image

All through social media and in blogs across the net, we see inspirational people who have completely cut ties with the grid…

There is that story of the man who built an off-grid dream cabin for his bride – for just $4000.

Or the story of Calamity Jill who has lived off the grid for over 30 years on a sustainable farm.

There is even an entire Dutch town which will live off grid, grow its own food, and handle its own waste.

And let’s not forget about the entire island in Vancouver where 350 people live in an off-grid community.

In short, it is very possible to live off grid!

How to Get Started Living Off Grid?

The hardest part is always getting started.  With something as “drastic” as going off grid, it can seem pretty daunting.

Do you start by learning carpentry?  Or how about how to grow and preserve your own food?

The process of going off-grid will be different for everyone, but this checklist should help you out.  If you are already living off-grid, please let us know how you made it happen!


How to Go Off-Grid Checklist

Download a printable version of the Off Grid Checklist as a PDF here.

1. Initial Planning

  • Get financials in order
    • Create a budget
    • Reduce unnecessary living expenses (new clothes, cable TV, eating out, etc.)
    • Start saving
    • Pay off debts
  • Research off-grid lifestyles
  • Research local laws about off-grid liing
  • Decide how far you want to go off grid (electricity, water, sewage, etc.)
  • Decide how remote you want to live
  • Think about your health and how it will factor into off-grid living
  • Define WHY you want to go off grid
  • Think about what skills you already have (carpentry, gardening, first aid, etc.)
  • Consider ways to make money while living off grid

2. Start Producing Your Own Food

  • Learn about gardening
    • Start a garden at your current home – choose just a few plants for starters
    • Learn about other gardening methods, such as: permaculture, greenhouses, hydroponics, and aquaponics
  • Learn how to hunt
    • Get a hunting license
    • Get a gun
    • Set up practice area or go to range
    • Learn about animal behavior and tracking
    • Learn how to butcher animals
  • Learn about raising animals for food
    • Take a tour of a small farm
    • Volunteer/apprentice on a farm

3. Learn to Preserve Food

  • Learn how to pickle produce (lacto-fermentation and vinegar method)
  • Learn how to can produce
  • Learn how to dry and smoke meat
  • Learn how to make a root cellar

4. Buy Your Property

  • Choose an area to live
  • Prioritize your needs, such as accessibility, access to water, whether there are neighbors, soil quality, and natural resources on the land

5. Plan Your Off-Grid Home

  • Consult with an engineer or architect who specializes in green homes
    • Learn about green homebuilding methods and materials
    • Decide how large your home needs to be
    • Consider how to expand home later, if necessary
    • Decide whether you want to build the home yourself
  • Plan the layout of the property
    • Consider sunlight exposure, access to water, well locations, waste disposal areas, gardens, sheds and outbuildings
  • Plan your plumbing and water supply system
    • Research rainwater harvesting systems
    • Determine whether you want to use a compost toilet, latrine, and/or septic tank
    • Hire a geologist to locate well locations on your property
  • Plan your electric system
    • Decide whether you want to be completely off grid or still connected
    • Decide if you want to use solar power, wind power, or both
    • Research whether you can gain any rebates for going off-grid
    • Consult with a solar power engineer
      • Calculate your energy requirements
      • Calculate equipment needs
    • Plan your heating system
      • Decide what type of insulation you will use
      • Decide what heating system you want to use (wood stove, wood furnace, solar heating, power generators, coal, animal dung as fuel)
      • Secure access to heating fuel
    • Build a root cell
    • Plan transportation methods
      • Learn auto mechanics
      • Consider bikes, motorbikes, quad bikes, 4WD vehicles, or other forms of transportation suited for the area
    • Reassess your budget
      • Plan for building expenses, permits, tools, labor, machinery, repairs, and other startup costs
      • Prioritize costs
      • Make a project plan for your off-grid home
        • Include an itemized list of expenses per project
        • Determine what projects you will do first

6.  Moving Into Your Off-Grid Home

  • Construct your home
    • Decide at what point you will move in
    • Consider living there on weekends in an RV or tent if you can’t completely move in right away
  • Water and plumbing
    • Install toilet system
    • Drill well
    • Set up rainwater harvesting system
    • Set up greywater harvesting system
    • Set up a solar shower
  • Heating
    • Install heating system
    • Start stockpiling fuel for the winter
  • Electric
    • Install solar system
    • Get generator
    • Practice reducing energy use
  • Waste
    • Start a compost pile
    • Learn to reuse and reduce waste
  • Start your garden
    • Calculate how much food you need to plant to survive the winter
    • Decide what types of foods you want to grow
    • Design your garden
    • Budget for and buy any tools you need
    • Plan crops by season
    • Plant an orchard for fruits and nuts
    • Start sprouting seeds for your first crop
    • Learn to maintain and repair tools
  • Get chickens
    • Build a chicken coop
    • Buy heat lamps for chicks
    • Buy chicks and raise them indoors
    • Move chicks to their coop when the weather is warm
  • Get livestock
    • Build pens, fences, and pastures
    • Build a barn if necessary
    • Go to livestock fairs to start learning about breeds
    • Consider how you will transport livestock
    • Buy your livestock
    • Learn veterinary care
  • Build greenhouse
  • Build aquaponics system
  • Stay healthy
    • Learn first aid
    • Learn natural remedies
    • Set up a medicinal garden
    • Stay active and eat healthy to prevent disease
  • Be happy because you are living off the grid now!

Download the Off Grid Checklist here!

Let us know in the comments or our Facebook group!