Before you can even get started you need to have a plan for what I call the 3 Ws. These three things are absolutely essential. Without a system in place you will almost immediately come to trouble. It can be life-threatening trouble or visits from different authorities trouble. So if you don’t want to get sick or endure a visit from the county officials, make sure that you have a system in place for these three necessities.
Unless you plan to hook up to community water, you will need to decide how you want to manage your water. How will you get water? How will you make sure it is safe to use? How will you store water (if needed). How will you get the water into your home? How will you heat the water? How will you get the water out of your home when you are done using it?
Your trash can pile up fast. And while reducing your output is laudable, there is always a certain amount of trash that will accumulate no matter how thoughtful and eco-friendly you try to be. I started out with the goal of achieving 80% waste-free lifestyle and slowly work up to 95%.
But don’t forget bodily waste. Here you have a whole host of other concerns that need to be addressed. But believe me, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by your own excrement. So be ready to dispose of your bodily waste appropriately too.
Unless you are living in a tropical/sub-tropical region, you will need some way to keep warm about nine months out of twelve. And living off-grid, electric heat is just not possible. You will not be able to practically store up enough electricity to run a heater. Be ready to give up your electric clothes drier too. Shoot, you need to be thoughtful about running a toaster! Be ready to get creative because warmth is the most expensive aspect of off-grid living. But the alternative is freezing to death in the middle of winter. Be prepared.