Off the grid, tiny house living, in the city!
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Off the grid, tiny house living, in the city!


Welcome to my off the grid in the city teeny tiny house life My name is Rob Greenfield and I live here in San Diego California without a single debt or bill to my name. It wasn’t always this simple though. I used to have a half-dozen credit cards, a fair amount of debt, and wanted to be a millionaire. But now my life is all about happiness, health, and living for the benefit of the earth, my community, and myself. I’m largely able to do this through simple living and today I’m going to give you a tour of my simple place. So how do I not have a bill to my name yet have a sweet spot like this? In exchange for using someone’s unused backyard, I am building him a fence, rainwater harvesting system, a garden, doing yard work, and improving the place. Plus he’s just into what I’m doing and wanted to be a part of it. So come on inside! This is it. All 50 square feet of it. It’s real simple but it gets the job done. I don’t spend most my time in here, but what I do in here is sleep, read, and cuddle. Most my time I spend outside, either out my community or out in the great outdoors. So this is it. I’ve got my possessions down to pretty much what you see here but that’s it So let me show you the outside. How about off the grid. What does that mean? It simply means not dependent on public utilities. Here I’m energy and water independent These are the solar panels which I use to charge up a couple the batteries. I also harvest rainwater. Right here you can see the gutters that I built on my neighbor’s house. That just channels the water down into the downspout, then through the diverter, into these blue barrels and since I’m a couple feet higher up than my neighbor I actually have to pump it out of those barrels using this pump into these 5 gallon jugs just like this and dump these 5 gallon jugs into these barrels which can store 165 gallons of rainwater Then to use it, I just turn on the spigot and then I can use this for everything I need. This is my outdoor kitchen. Some people would just say I’m permanently camping and I have no problem with that. The rain that I collect goes into these jugs and I pour that into the Berkey filter and the water comes out of here worry-free, no chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, lead. It takes care of everything like that as well as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Then I fill up my cup and drink the purest water, at least the purest water to around here and it is delicious. So this is the cabinet / refrigerator and I don’t need to refrigerate really because I buy my produce often and very fresh and everything else I buy in bulk dried goods that I put in jars. So you can see here all my jarred food at the top which I get from the local co-op. Then below I have my kombucha. I have my staples like honey, olive oil, and then my spices. I have my produce that I buy in small quantities often and just two bowls, two plates, two forks, and two spoons. So this is the kitchen sink and stove. It’s pretty darn simple. Not a single drop of water goes to waste here at my home. When I wash the dishes or wash my hands or whatever I have to do the water goes down this little drain into these 5 gallon buckets which I then use to water the garden. Here is the stove. It’s just a simple propane stove which is hooked up to a 5 gallon propane tank. I used to use a rocket stove which was more environmentally friendly than this but what’s good about this at least is that by not being hooked up to the utilities where there’s a seemingly infinite amount of fuel I at least, since it’s a 5 gallon tank really have to pay attention to and watch my usage so I’m much less wasteful. This is my bathroom welcome inside. It’s very simple. The most important part of this is the toilet. The average American toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush. Since I only have about 2 gallons of water per day total for everything I can’t have a flush toilet. This is a compost toilet. You simply sit on the toilet and you go just like any other toilet but afterwards instead of flushing you grab some leaves and put the leaves and you put the leaves on top of your poop and then this goes into the compost. Also there’s a sink right here. This is just a basic sink that I can use to wash my hands and then this water of course is used to water the garden as well. So very simple bathroom. This cost me about $60 to put together. Next we’ll head off to the compost. In a typical house you would find food scraps as well as yard waste in a compost pile but here I’m doing humanure as well which is human poo and pee. If you’re ever going to do this I recommend checking out The Humanure Handbook which has all the important information in there. It’s important to do this right, but the amazing thing is that it doesn’t smell at all. I mean it’s important to heat the temperature up to at least I think it’s around 130 degrees fahrenheit and as you can see here there is actually steam rising. You can just feel the heat coming out of this. So everything breaks down and with humanure You have to let it sit for an entire year. This tarp is simply over it to keep the moisture in since I live in a dry climate. This is a great way to reduce your impact by not having an agency or the city have to deal with your own poo and pee. Instead I turn it into nutrients which will then be used in the garden. This is my favorite spot. This is my garden. What you see here, these are called wicking beds which are really awesome for drought tolerant gardening and just making your water go further. Below here is a reservoir that’s filled with rocks and there is burlap over that and there is soil over that and you water the reservoir below through the PVC pipe. I planted all this food from starters about 2 weeks ago and it is looking great. I’m just excited to have organic, delicious, nutritious greens and this is another reason I don’t need a refrigerator because my food will be growing right here and I’ll just pick what I need when I need to eat it. So as far as the city code goes I’m actually pretty much in alignment there. As crazy as a lot as this may look I’m doing pretty well but for me it’s not actually city code that I follow. I follow Earth Code. It’s about doing what’s right for the earth. for my community, and for myself and that’s what’s most important to me. You will also probably have noticed by now that I don’t actually have a shower here and it may come as a surprise but I actually have gone 2 years without showering. That would be pretty surprising to me 2 years ago as well as I had been everyday showering dude but I learned that you don’t need to shower every day. Instead I go for a swim in a natural body of water and I learned that I don’t need soaps, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, colognes and all that. My body functions just fine as it was intended to do so I go for a swim here in the Pacific Ocean which is 5 blocks away. And lastly how do I get around? That would be my bamboo bicycle I’ve actually biked across the country the the last 2 summers in a row on a bamboo bike so biking around town, not too big a deal at all but when I am feeling real tired or I have something to carry that doesn’t fit on my bike trailer I take an electric car through car2go which is an electric car share program because I sold my car about 3 years ago to live more environmentally friendly and just without so many bills. And as far as internet and cell phone goes I don’t have either of those. When I do need to use the internet I hop on my bike, ride to a cafe, and share internet with other people. So life is pretty good here and life is pretty simple. FOR INSPIRATION TO LIVE HAPPY, HEALTHY AND FREE SUBSCRIBE! Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 Comments

  • gizmo atplay

    for mooving ur water up hill without actually carrying u should look into grant thomsons youtube video on pvc water pump,diy,cheap easy and no carrying just pumpin and looks like it moves 5 gallon in a few stokes of the pumps ,im sure if this isnt strong enough it could be modified to be,just a thought for you to give a try ,hope u let me know if u doit or not ,and id love to have a friend like u have to allow you to use theiR yard the way u do ,great job no w as ist and no harm to our planet for the most part

  • macha xouiva

    wow, this is a great eco friendly lifestyle that i would wish to live one day. by the way, do you use money?

  • Michelle Suarez

    wait, the ONLY thing I didn't get… was who's property ID that??? how much do you pay to stay there with all that?? otherwise, it's awesome!! I personally think we should all live like you, the government would flip out ya think!!! lol nobody paying shit just living the land, isn't that out right?? buy I'm hearing lately that of the grid people are getting evicted and pushed out of their places and property because they're not plugged into the power they provide I mean before ask this ugliness and greed for $$$ people did just that lived the land, am I right?? man, money and power have ruined mother earth it makes me so sick to my stomach what we have done to this planet… nothing is safe anymore, even it ocean is polluted dolphins are beaching themselves, fish, Wales are dieing birds faking from the sky, OK getting off base here with the main question but I just got heated thinking about all this, WE the PEOPLE HAVE the power to overthrow government, but people talk the talk but don't walk the walk, they're a bunch of SCARED pussies!!!!

  • Inside Tha JackaLs Head

    Now this is off grid living! Holy crap……. More of us gonna have to learn to live this way one day if the liberals have their way. 😀

  • Jack FnTwist

    Believe it or not, your living condition is NOT healthy, at all. Rainwater collected off of roofs is usually pretty toxic. Fed into plants that you eat just compounds it. Living next to your own, untreated waste is a great way for you or any one of your neighbors to catch one of many (potentially fatal) diseases. And you should invest in some sunblock.

  • Logan

    The way Rob lives is how our ancestors used to live hundreds of years ago. In the old days, people do not take showers. They only take a bath once or twice a year and for special occasions like weddings. Our amazing, miraculous body is self cleansing and self healing. The salty ocean water is actually good for the skin. If you have acne on your body, take a dip in the ocean, the acne will go away. If your city permits, have 2 chickens so you can have fresh, organic eggs. Quote from Ronald Reagan, "All the answers to life's problems are between the covers of the Catholic Bible." Jesus said do not chase after wealth, power, and possessions of this world. We came to this world with nothing and we shall leave this world with nothing.

  • jess charb

    Hi! I'm very interested in you jug that filter your water. Where do you ought it? Love your litlle sace you create.

  • Shazam

    In my city, a capital of a EU state, we pay taxes on the rain water, not for collecting it, not for the drainage system, just for raining in my piece of land 🙂 And the amazing fact is my country is still some of the poorest of them 🙂

  • DistantEarlyWarning 611

    YOu can't deny that living in San Diego helps too. I know. I lived there for six years. Hardly ever rains. Beautiful place to live though.

  • mike rega

    Rob you are taking it back to a more primative lifestyle but i enjoy watching you because its interesting. we are destroying the earth with man made chemicals. We really need to take it back and you are teaching us that.

  • cindybin2001

    I was just going to comment that it's great you don't have tattoos! And then in that shot of you in the water, I saw the tattoo on your chest. UGH. What is wrong with you? Why would you do this to yourself?? I have ranted against tattoos for years online, trying to help people understand how having tattoos creates a bad impression, attracts the wrong type of people and limits your job opportunities. Haven't you read a thing I have written???

  • Claire Rodriguez

    Lol another "free" tiny houser able to live because someone is letting him squat on their property. What are you gonna do if the owner decides to sell his house?

  • simplyme93

    I love it.me and my husband will pay our mortgage for the next 27 years and both working 40 hours a week .Sometimes I want to think selling everything we own and live in a very simple life with no mortgage:(

  • damiansdroid

    Jesus didn't come in a suit and tie, But he is KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS, He Loves you and the only one who offers Salvation for eternal life to all who ask him and him alone

  • Off-Grid

    Great Video! Check out my new series: STARTING AN OFF-GRID COMMUNITY – EPISODE 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCd5KRXZbug

  • dan

    Descusting man shitting in someone's garden then dumping it in random places, throwing all his puke and left over food over naboures fence and the guy let him squat there for free. Pssss would u look at that

  • Marcello57911

    Hi Rob, i do appreciate all the amazing things you are sharing with the community. Could you tell me how you found this land? thank you and good luck!

  • Y T Comment Police

    Some tutorials are funny when they say things like noooo one knows exists…..like guess what off grid means!!!

  • Big Dan

    And I doubt you're still living here. For someone who pretends to be so carbon neutral it's amazing how often you fly around the world. Do you understand that you are the face of Agenda 21? This entire tiny house movement is just the preliminary step toward the pack em and stack em homes of the future. Enjoy nature while you are free to explore it because future generations won't have that luxury. Enjoy having little to nothing. Enjoy believing it's your choice while schools are dumbing down you and your children and brainwashing them to accept everything the government tells them to do. Watch climate change while military installations create natural disasters of epic proportions destroying your homes and declaring your land a natural disaster area and changing the zoning so you cannot rebuild even if you could afford to, and insurance doesn't pay because you decided to live in a high risk zone for fire or flood or earthquake or tornado or hurricane or mudslides.. Watch as minimum wage goes to $15 an hour and the cost of living triples and EVERYONE who works a trade is poor, and every retired or disabled person is forced to sell their homes and move to the affordable stack em and pack em homes 14 stories tall with paper thin walls, floors, and ceilings so people can walk or bike everywhere and are shuttled to the jobs the government chooses for them via trains..

    You idolize tiny houses and minimalist living now but soon people won't have a choice. No one will be growing their own food. Big corp will own all seeds [getting there], will own all land "for natural reserves to replenish" and lay ownership to all water that falls from the sky [already happening] There will be no living off grid. The only life you'll have is one of tightly moderated minimalism. There will be no bathing in the ocean, you will have one gallon to shower with, and 64 ounces to drink. ALL food will be genetically modified, and humans will be the labors of the land again while machines are scrapped to build new homes for the displaced masses..

    But since you're already prepared for it it won't be much of a shock.

  • ArcturanMegadonkey

    I've just come across your video as I've spent the past 3 months researching off grid living.
    Really like it but then what happens in winter? taking a wash in the sea is surely very cold?
    I'd be investing in some large solar panels, inverter and battery bang for some lighting etc
    nice video

  • Kicky

    What a life! I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I feel burdened by all the stuff I've accumulated over my lifetime. They're beautiful to me, but I don't have enough time to enjoy them. Lol, Those old movies where the female character reaches under the bed for a valise, fills it with all the contents of the dresser drawers, then catches a bus out of town, I would think to myself that it would be nice to live that simply.

  • Prestige Photography

    Hello. I'm from Miami Florida. My family and I follow your channel. I have learn so much from watching. I'm considering leaving my city life and moving to the country. We are so tired of the rat race. Well, congrats. Continue doing videos. Thank u.

  • Jay Paglia

    For every environmental and green measure you take, there are a dozen new immigrants that come in from the third world with their half dozen kids that could care less about the environment that counteract everything you do. Love you brother but all this seems for naught.

  • Praise Worship

    The wood cladding on the outside of the tiny house looks good. What kind of wood and treatment did you use?

  • The Unicorn

    Do you have to have a vegan diet to compost human waste, or is it just better to consume minimal animal by-products in order to compost? Could you compost waste and still consume meat and dairy? What about pets' waste? I always had the misconception that you couldn't compost waste if meat is consumed, but is there still a way to do it if you do?

  • Cherry Lynn

    I’m curious to know if you’re still living this way. The government is cracking down on off grid living. Once I’m living off grid I will not be making videos or statuses about it. I’ve read about too many people getting shut down once they started making videos about their off grid life

  • henree simp

    Awesome rob the only thing i would have to have my phone with unlimited minutes because i watch netflix and youtube and i read but everything else i really like.

  • Dominick Bundy

    If you want something to talk about, here is this guy .I told you about living in someone’s backyard in San Diego. Very interesting setup he has created for himself. He left a professional high paying job . For this by choice. This I found to be interesting.enjoy!

  • Estee Howsare

    Rob, you’re an inspiration to what I dream of living like. Thank you for sharing this video for inspiration and tips! Do you do consulting work?

  • Lulastic Hippyshake

    Hey! I am new to your channel ☺️ I live in a yurt in New Zealand and also have the focus of living in harmony with the earth ☺️ looking forward to delving into your channel ☺️

  • Lone Star Travelers

    Rainwater is free lol love it… as a child my mother rinsed my hair in it… Love your bath idea now that is a huge tub lololo…I love the car2go…looked it up only in Austin darn dang it..

  • Sunshine Is my name

    My concern, u water your garden/vegetables with used water from sink ..i think that is more gross😆..oh yeah i hope u didnt water the leaves,,..only the soil part

  • Arun Sharma

    What the water filter you use is called? And how long does it last before changing the filter unit? And how much does it cost? Thank you

  • Stefany Zubizarreta

    Great job Rob! Im so happy and excited to see people like you still exist. Beautiful intelligent and simple person

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