The realtors are having a good season! More and more people are selling their city homes and moving to the country. A lot of them are yearning for a simpler life and some even are aiming for off-grid altogether!
Changing from a city environment to a country home will make major changes in your life.
If life was hard in town, it’s most likely going to be harder outside the city limits.
However, once you’ve grown accustomed to the new environment you’ll discover that your stress goes down. You’ll have peace of mind and a peaceful existence where others are still scrambling.
A true off grid home will be without ‘most’ electronics. That means no electric cookstove, no traditional refrigerator, no tv and probably no cell service. Of course those that are using alternative power sources such as wind or solar can have these conveniences. They make propane powered refrigerators as well. Part of the reason you’ll often see propane tanks on a country property. They’re probably at least using a propane powered cookstove or oven.
Cell phone coverage may be spotty or nonexistent. Where I am, plus the fact that my home is an earth-shelter means that the signal just doesn’t come inside. In fact, one time, during an ice storm, I had to sit outside in a lawn chair on a high spot with my cell walking someone at the office through a tricky procedure. It can be done. Also, some cell phone companies have these little devices that extend the range into the house. AND there are other options as well, the old dish on the roof, a tower, etc. However a simpler life means less electronics in general.
Off grid living as well as homesteading in general means you need different skillsets than what you might have had to use in the city. You’ll need to improve your cooking skills. Can you cook a meal over an open fire? Use a sun-oven? You’ll need to up your gardening and animal husbandry skills as you’ll want to rely more on yourselves and less on the grocery store. You should invest in a hunting gun(s) and practice your hunting/shooting skills in the event that the need arises.
Declutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use or have no practical use for. Do you need that set of fancy business suits? Sure, keep one just in case but a closet full you don’t need unless you’re commuting to an office job in the city.
It’s true that two is one, and one is none. This applies to not just shovels but other items that need to be utilized in the country, however you probably don’t need a shelf full of glass flower vases. Do you need a cabinet full of coffee cups? Fancy bakeware you haven’t used since you bought it? Keep the basics. Keep what you use. Sell/trade/donate the rest.
Take a stab at living outdoors, this means camp out. Do it in your backyard if you have to. Learning to camp with the basics can give you an idea of what it’s like to live off grid. Don’t camp with bags of snacks, camp with food you have to cook over an open fire. It’s good for you. It’ll be fun.
Your search for a nice country property may include a bit of driving the countryside or you may opt to enlist the help of a realtor. Look for a property with the amenities you desire. I’m not referring to a dining room but more simple refinements such as a fireplace that burns WOOD. You’d be surprised how many of the more recent builds have either fake fireplaces or ones that burn gas only. You want one that will burn wood, you know, just in case.
Of course it’d be nice to find the perfect home, on the perfect size acreage, with a producing orchard, a prepared garden spot with a year round spring, a cellar for storing food, fully outfitted with solar panels but that’s probably not going to happen. Look for a place that’s as close as possible to your dream but open your eyes to the fact that you can add to the place as you grow. You can add wind and solar later.
Be wise. Take everything into consideration. The housing market is hot right now with listed homes sometimes selling the day they’re listed! Be prepared money wise with a pre-approved mortage limit so that you know what you can afford. Take consideration if you’ll continue to work in the city as vehicle/commuting costs can add up.
You CAN move to the countryside and become more self-sufficient.