15 Simple Ways to Start Living Off-the-Grid

LIVE OFF THE GRID
PHOTO BY NIKKY WIGHT LUA, VAVA’U

When I tell people that I am preparing to live off-the-grid (OTG), they often have mixed reactions. Most assume that I will be using leaves/moss as toilet paper and eating foraged this-and-that’s from the surrounding areas. Although both points are potential off-the-grid skills that could be quite useful, OTG living can be very subjective and interpreted differently by individuals.

According to Wikipedia,  the term off-the-grid can refer to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. This does not mean that you aren’t “off grid enough” if not completely cut off from modern conveniences, but rather that taking steps towards OTG living (even if just one step, or small steps) really can make an impact.

Bottom line: you can take steps towards off-the-grid living wherever you are! You don’t have to be in a house that you crafted from hand on a remote island to disconnect from societal-dependencies. For example, if you begin making your own personal makeup products, not only does that save you money, but it also eliminates your dependency on corporate business and inflation (not forgetting the horrid chemicals and negative impact). Little steps such as this can and WILL make a difference!

Below is a list of 15 things you can do right now at home to start disconnecting from the grid – free yourself and start taking control of your life today.

1. MAKE YOUR OWN YOGURT, BUTTER, MILK, CHEESE, OIL, FLOUR, SUGAR, ETC.

This DIY to make your own all-purpose flour is so cool! You don't need an expensive grain mill to make it and it works for any grain. You can even make your own gluten-free all-purpose flour! Great easy recipe and simple tutorial to save money - you won't have to make last-minute trips to the store! :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com:
Photo source: dontwastethecrumbs.com

At first, this may seem like a rather daunting task; it’s such a convenience to have always been able to easily access these items at a decent price. For us, we will be making all of these products and more ourselves, due to the outrageous shipping prices in Tonga (dairy products are extremely high). Because of this, we will be replacing the majority of these products with organic, homemade alternatives.

Not only will this be great for our budget and health, but also a little life skill-building comes into play. Here are a multitude of fantastic links instructing DIY’s on each of these items:

2. LEARN TO READ THE SKY/WEATHER

stockvault--beach-sunrise135907
Photo source: Stock Vault 

If you’re living in/with nature, you have to be able to keep yourself safe. One of the many ways to achieve this is to be able to predict the weather by reading the sky. On a remote island, you would not want to head out on the water or trek into the jungle when the clouds turn gray and the wind picks up. A person familiar with sky and storm patterns would tell you that is the beginning of a storm, and that it would be best to stay near a safe, stable location. Here are a few helpful links if you are wanting to look further into this:

3. USE NON-ELECTRIC LIGHTING

Check out Dollar Store Crafts | How to Make Mason Jar Solar Lights at http://diyready.com/dollar-store-crafts-make-mason-jar-solar-lights/
Photo source: DIY Ready

Here is a more traditional step many off-grid individuals have taken: non-electric lights! There are many options, such as solar, oil lamp, candles, and more! This is a great way to cut back on usage, and save some money in the long run. Below are a few links listed; they are all epic ideas for lighting solutions!

4. ELIMINATE WASTE | REUSE EVERYDAY ITEMS

 

plant-1.jpg
Photo source: www.atelierdeveil.com (OBSESSED)

Okay, we can all agree that the plastic pollution has gone too far? Fish are swallowing it, dangerous chemicals are then passed to consumers (ahem, us), and then giving us defects and illnesses (all going unpunished). The concept of just throwing it ‘away’ is a good example of the error in many mentalities today. People are taught not to questions where anything goes; none of them believe the severity of the situation.

Here’s where you come in! Reuse your waste. Be aware of where it goes, and find a second use for it. There are no limitations to the creations that can be made, but here are a few:

5. BUILD YOUR OWN FURNITURE/DECOR

Small Tree Table:
Photo source: Home Talk – Cool Projects Made From Tree Stumps

This is a fun one, even for those who have zero experience. There are so many creative choices within this step, such as building mediums, style, etc. I have a very specific design taste, and can be very picky (not to others’, but to my own) about furniture; if you’re like me, this is another great reason to build your own! Living off-the-grid doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your style and ideas. Let them come alive within the recyclables, eco, and earthen materials! A few sample ideas below:

6. BUILD YOUR OWN STILL

Photo source: Man Made DIY – Copper Still

There are so many advantages: homemade alcohol, essential oils, water purification, etc.! Plus, if you really don’t want to purchase all-new equipment for this project, there are so many ways to reuse old kitchen pots/pans and household items. Check it out:

7. KEEP ANIMALS FOR FOOD/SUSTAINABILITY

photo_134_20051004
Photo source: Worldwide Aquaculture

This one is a fun one! Who doesn’t love cute farm animals? Unfortunately, you have to develop some emotional-separation from your homestead creatures, due to the fact that you will eventually have to kill them. Personally, we only plan on raising chickens and fish at MOST (in Tonga, pigs run wild, eliminating the need for them in the homestead). We are very comfortable being partially-mostly vegetarian. Here are some animals to consider and professional advice:

8. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

Two Green Thumbs Up for Small Space Indoor Gardens | Apartment Therapy:
Photo source: Apartment Therapy – a favorite!

There are SO many benefits with this one, including dependence from corporate chains, avoiding GMOs and poisonous pesticides (and other government-hidden negatives), and even being able to potentially sell extra product in a farmer’s market! Not to mention that a large majority of common plants/herbs have medicinal properties (and can purify air + produce clean oxygen). Why aren’t you gardening already? Get started today, regardless if you’re in an apartment, in the mountains, underground, etc. These will help:

 

9. HOMEMADE, NATURAL HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS (HYGIENE, UPKEEP, ETC.)

Finally, a natural sunscreen alternative that uses what I already have at home! Love these easy recipes for homemade sunscreen and the logic behind when to use them. They're definitely on my must-try list for my natural skincare routine! :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com
Photo source: Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Another point on becoming independent from retailers, as well as becoming a healthier you! Making your own household products can really made a positive difference. Imagine the impact if the majority of Americans started taking steps towards OTG living…get started here:

10. START COMPOSTING

Compost in 30 days | areturntosimplicity.com
Photo source: A Return to Simplicity

Composting is fantastic! Have some leftover scraps from dinner? Compost! Plants not growing as well as they could be? Compost! It may be a little slow at the beginning, but sticking to it and continuing can produce some serious benefits! See below to get started:

11. PRODUCE YOUR OWN CLEAN ENERGY

using solar panels to create a shade structure next to the house -- I must look into this later...:
Photo source: Greener Ideal

I am extremely passionate about alternative energy sources. There is an abundance of ways to get your electricity without burning precious fossil fuels, believe it or not. Most do not know this about me, but I am the Vice President of a little corporation called Magnetic Energy Solutions, Inc. We are currently in the process of developing a clean energy source that utilizes magnetic fields (click here to watch a demonstration).

So, from a personal AND professional standpoint, I advise all to break free and create your own clean energy via the sun, a stream, waves, wind, etc. The options are endless, and new sources/solutions are discovered daily. But if you’re comfortable with the Earth’s deteriorating state and are okay with putting money in the pockets of corrupt lobbyists – be my guest to ignore this advice. For those with common sense, here are some jump-start ways to pull the plug:

12. COLLECT RAINWATER

Photo source: Web Ecoist – Momtastic

Another beautiful way to conserve and give back to Mother Nature: rainwater collection! This can be small scale in an urban area to a very large scale on a private farm; the options are endless. Saddle up a tight water-purification system and you are all set. Interested? Read below:

13. KNOW HOW TO SEW

Sewing 101
Photo source: The DIY Dreamer

This is a small, but essential skill. From making small repairs to full outfits, sewing can really made a difference and can help you on your OTG journey. I grew up around a Grandmother who constantly was either cooking, quilting, or sewing; this in turn gave me a life-long skill that I would grow to appreciate. Beginner? Look no further:

14. REFRIGERATION ALTERNATIVES

Image source: hobbyfarms.com
Photo source: hobbyfarms.com

It’s no secret that refrigerators take up a lot of electricity. When first introduced to OTG living, I never considered the option of passive-cooling and natural refrigeration. It’s amazing the alternatives we have, and how simple life can get when making these discoveries. If you’re going solar, you might as well ditch that clunk of junk! View below recommendations:

BONUS

Here are a few extra links with super valuable information:

IN CONCLUSION

The Earth is being destroyed as we know it. Very rich and powerful people are paying lots of money for us to keep this up. In order to keep going, they need consumers to continue consuming fossil fuels, plastic products, and poisoned food and water. Break free from this detrimental cycle and take steps towards living off-the-grid.

E N D         ☽ ☼ ☾

Disclaimer: This post contains (0) affiliate links – we think it’s cool that in exchange for promoting brands (ONLY that we truly like and support), we can make a percentage from any purchased made by Escape to Vava’u readers. It is our motto to stay true to ourselves and what we love; in turn, we promote sparingly in effort to offer our readers products that we are genuinely obsessed with. Never will we only post for profit or promotional purposes.

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3 thoughts on “15 Simple Ways to Start Living Off-the-Grid

    1. Absolutely! You’re talking to a person who spent a lot of their childhood off the grid (grew own food, butchered livestock, windmill, well water, manual laundry, canning, foraging, etc.) on a 6 acre farm in the Midwest- it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s more than worth it when you cut those dependencies with the super markets, electricity and water companies, etc.

      This post represents the many, many things that go into off the grid living, and almost represents a starting point for those interested in changing their lives. And change doesn’t happen over night – you can’t just immediately snap your fingers and become off the grid. You have to take steps towards this lifestyle, and develop many skills before being able to completely disconnect.

      Many readers are interested in taking steps towards simpler living, but aren’t ready to make that full jump yet. This is the resource that says “hey, here are X amount of things you can do NOW to start your journey”.

      I believe that there are many degrees to living off the grid, and I do not appreciate those who bring down others who “aren’t off the grid enough” – off the grid living represents a disconnection from modern life; there will be those who are somewhat disconnected and those who are 100%, we do not discredit those or degrade those whom aren’t. Instead, we praise those willing to take steps towards disconnection and welcome them to the beginning of their off the grid journey.

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