Saving money isn’t the only appeal that comes with owning a tiny home. In fact, one of the reasons why many people across the nation are choosing tiny homes is the ability to easily go ‘off the grid’.
Living off the land and going off the grid is an appealing sentiment to those who become weary of the hustle and bustle of urban life. The excess costs of energy, transportation, city taxes, and utilities can mount up and add unnecessary pressure to everyday life.
Life is supposed to be happy, right? Why waste it paying bills!?
If you have been considering the idea of a tiny home, perhaps the appeal of an off the grid tiny home might draw you in. Tiny homes, by their very nature, are low maintenance and cost-efficient. Taking it to the next level might not be as far of a leap as you may think! Let’s take a moment to really explore what it takes to have a tiny home – going off the grid – and what states are the most hospitable to do so. Living off the land is no small feat, but some places are better to do it than others to be certain.
What are the most important factors to consider?
There are some incredibly harsh lessons that many unprepared tiny home owners learn when they attempt to go off the grid uneducated. Going off the grid is a long string of ‘problems’ that must be solved, and at times they can seem endless. If you are not fully prepared to deal with the start-up obstacles, you can find yourself overwhelmed. That can easily result in failure, and no one wants that.
To minimize the risk of these problems becoming overwhelming, you should stop to consider a few key factors before jumping in.
Climate is going to be one of your largest hurdles. If you choose to live off the land, in an environment where the land is hostile, you are going to have a bad time. You want to consider yearly weather, temperature extremes, wildlife, and fauna of the region. If any of these factors in your region pose a substantial threat, you will want to find ways to eliminate that threat ASAP. Paradise only exists in resorts. Living off the land, every climate will have obstacles.
To put it simply, you’re going to have to own land. You can hardly go out into the wilderness, and stake claim to that spot without the government getting involved eventually.
Your best bet is to go on real estate websites and search your desired areas for lots/plots of land for sale.
You will need water. It is a basic necessity of life. How you choose to do this is going to be largely up to you. Rain barrels, cistern tanks, drilled wells, or simply hand collecting from natural sources are all viable options provided they fit the parameters of local law.
And here is that word again – ‘laws’. Laws are likely going to be your largest set of hurdles along the way. Certain cities have laws determining how and when you can build your home, how and when you can collect water or energy, and how you pay taxes. You want to fully understand your local laws on these subjects before you dive in.
Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. You will not avoid taxes by going off the grid. At the very minimum, you will have to pay state property taxes for owning the land you live on. In addition, you might have to pay taxes on any loans you incur while buying the building and start-up materials to get your tiny home going.
So, what states offer the best of all of these?
The most ‘off the grid’ friendly states. As mentioned before, no location is going to offer absolute perfection. However, when you take the good with the bad, there are some states that offer more for tiny home owners.
Here are the states with the most relaxed, and tiny home friendly laws and environments for those who want to live off the land.
Hawaii is incredibly rich in natural resources. Growing crops, gathering water, and getting foods are amazingly easy to do in this land of abundance. The weather is perfect, and there is plenty of wilderness to explore. Hawaii is one of the most ideal off the grid living locations in the USA.
There is an interesting myth floating around that Florida has a ban on off the grid living – this is NOT true. It is just as legal to live off the grid in Florida as it is anywhere else. Not to mention, they have relatively low property tax rates as well as laws protecting your right to natural waters, solar power, and harvesting your own food sources.
Alaska is true off the grid dream. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are wild at heart, then Alaska is the land for you. They have exceptional hunting laws, abundant water and natural resources, and plenty of empty land for everyone. However, beware that if you are ever in need of emergency help, Alaska is very sparsely populated and help can be hard to find.
Oregon may not be the most abundant place for resources, but it is amazingly welcoming to newcomers in the tiny home scene. Oregon is filled with off the grid tiny home communities that share resources, energy, and lifestyle. It can be a safe haven for those who want to live off the grid, but with a community of others to do it with.
Missouri might be the perfect location when you take everything into consideration; there are almost no laws preventing off the grid living; the weather is never too extreme to prevent crop growth or livable environments; it gets plenty of rainfall, and has abundant wildlife. If you are looking for the perfect place to go off-grid – all things considered – Missouri might be it.
Now that we have taken a look at ‘where’ to live off the grid. Let’s take a look at the ‘how’.
How to live off the grid in a tiny home
Living off the grid is all about reducing waste, reducing costs, and reducing need. If you can cut back on all of the excesses of life, you can enjoy the simple things. However, it is important that you don’t take that concept to an extreme. You still need life’s basic necessities; food, water, and shelter.
In many ways, off the grid tiny home living isn’t much different from a tiny home living in the city. You will still need to become efficient in storage, and cut back on all of the unnecessary purchases and items. However, there are going to be some more cutbacks that you are going to have to get used to.
For one, you are unlikely to have running water when living off the grid. This is part of the process of cutting down excess bills and government intervention. You are going to have to get used to collecting water daily. Which brings me to the next point.
Chores – you are going to have to get used to daily chores. In many ways, living in a tiny home off the grid is similar to living on a farm. If you are going to live off the land, you must cultivate and tame the land. This means gardening, perhaps taking care of small livestock, collecting water, and foraging. But don’t worry, for many off the grid tiny home owners, these chores are actually cathartic!
Finally, you are going to have to concern yourself with power. The most common way of doing this is through solar power. Solar power is one way that tiny home owners can completely bypass energy companies and harvest their own energy completely free of charge. You should understand the upfront costs, of course, however in many cases the $2,000-$3,000 upstart cost pays for itself faster than you think! There are other methods of collecting energy, but really none of them are as cost-effective and efficient as solar.
Going off the grid requires a lot of gumption. Going off the grid in a tiny home requires downright bravery. You are going to face a lot of challenges and obstacles along the way.
However, the end result can be incredibly rewarding. You will get to live each day knowing that you are completely self-sufficient, and you are a true master of your domain!
Never let the seemingly impossible hurdles stop you from your goal of living off the grid.
Remember, for thousands of years our ancestors did it! Humans are made for this, and you are no exception!