Off the grid…

I’ve been thinking a lot in recent years about off-the-grid living. I think it would be really hard, and really interesting, and I’d probably eventually return to The Grid but have the knowledge to make a lot of changes and seriously reduce my “footprint.”

I just read about a family living in an apartment in New York City who are entirely off the grid. No electricity in the apartment, no carbon-consuming personal or public transport, no commercial cleaning products,  no shampoo, no packaging on any products purchased, no toilet paper.

That’s right, no toilet paper.

I could give up (and have given up) a lot of  things, but toilet paper is not one of them. Of all the modern conveniences we enjoy in 21st century America, this is right up at the top of my list. I recycle absolutely everything that’s possible to recycle, I don’t run the water when brushing my teeth, I don’t use disposable feminine hygiene products, I only run full loads in the dishwasher and clothes washer, I compost my food scraps, I don’t put chemicals on my yard, I drive a hybrid car, I open the windows instead of using the air conditioner when it’s cool enough (hard to do in Texas, but I try). 

So I’m not giving up toilet paper. Call me extravagant and wasteful if you will, but I think that the karma I gain from the abovementioned lifestyle practices is more than enough to make up for it.

One thing that I am interested in doing is substituting environmentally harmless substances for the cleaning products I currently buy. We have 409 spray, bathroom cleaner, Windex, carpet foam, etc, and I would like to start using home-crafted formulas using ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, borax, and bleach (although I’m not sure about bleach… must do more research).

Ideally I’d love to live in an underground house made largely of natural and recycled materials (cool in summer, warm in winter, without an air conditioner) with a huge vegetable garden, sunlight reflecting tubes, an outdoor shower, giant arrays of solar panels, and use a stationary bike to help charge up batteries.


  1. Anonymous

    Personally, I think that guy is a nut case. Of course, being a cynic, I also think that he’s doing it to write a book and make a lot of money.

    I’ve got lots of other thoughts about going “off the grid” but I’m not going to clog up your comments with them. 🙂


  2. Murdock Scott

    Could I have a single room in the underground house with a monster AC system, huge entertainment center and a 8 core workstation computer with 3 monitors… all ran by cats on treadmills mind you. : )

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