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4 essential tips for moving to the country

Living in the country is a brave new world for city dwellers. If you're planning to move somewhere more rural, be sure you know what you're in for.

Rural life offers many pleasures - among them privacy, land and the opportunity for greater self-reliance. However, for people planning to move from the city to the country, the transition to greener pastures may not always be a smooth one. 

If you've adjusted to city life, you may be used to close living quarters and plenty of noise. You may have also become accustomed to thriving nighttime scenes and instant access to almost any amenity or service. Such conveniences aren't necessarily easy to give up, but you may just well have to if you're moving somewhere more isolated. Here are some tips for making the adjustment, so you don't have to learn the hard way.

Stock up

Living in the country provides you independence, for better or for worse. If you live in a rural area or even just a small town, you won't have access to 24-hour convenience stores. In fact, the nearest grocery store may be far enough away that making a trip every few days becomes a hassle. As such, your life will be made much easier if you learn how to stock up on essentials. 

You'll want to make sure you have more than enough of general toiletry items such as toilet paper and toothpaste, but more importantly, you'll want to make sure you have plenty of food to last you more than just a week. This is especially true in winter months, when the possibility of getting snowed in could mean living off reserves.

Firewood, medical supplies and gasoline are other things you might want to stock up on, especially in seasons of inclement weather. 

Be prepared

This is related to building reserves. Again, given that you may be miles from other people, let alone a hospital or pharmacy, it's essential that you have the right supplies to take care of yourself and others. Your home and your car should both have a first aid kit. You should also have the necessary supplies to outfit your car for driving in bad weather. 

Get to know your neighbors

While you may be far from any city, you're still closer to civilization than you might think. Neighbors in the country can be invaluable resources throughout the year, whether you need help hauling wood or getting a lift into town. According to Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, neighbors may also share tools and advice about maintaining the land. Don't forget that they are just as valuable when you're weary of solitude. 

As such, the DNRC recommends that people be cooperative with their neighbors and learn to see the relationship as a two-way street. Respect their privacy, but also know when to lend a helping hand. 

Learn to conserve

Living on your own often means being disconnected from many public resources such as a main sewer line or weekly garbage pickup. You may be living closer to the land. That means you'll want to conserve energy and resources, and generate less waste than you might otherwise. Start a compost heap and better recycle supplies. You'll also want to know how to combat weeds and care for surrounding vegetation. Additionally, the DNRC noted that many rural homes have private septic systems, which require routine pumping and careful disposal of certain items. 

Respect wildlife

Finally, you should be mindful of your surroundings, especially your furrier neighbors. Depending on where you live, you may encounter bears, foxes, deer and other such wildlife. It's important that you know how to interact with those indigenous species. For example, foxes may be of little concern, but in bear country, you may want to carry around bear spray at all times, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. 

In general, country life is about becoming independent, while still recognizing the importance of being able to rely on the people around you. Do that, and you'll be well on your way. 

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