My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Water – Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It (In your house, that is)


Funny thing, water.  Everyone needs it to survive, but most people don’t have a lick of it stored.  Is this you?  That was me a few years ago.  I had a few 20-oz bottles of water and some “expired” water in my 72 hour kit, but that was it!  Not very bright of me, if I do say so myself.

I live in an earthquake ridden desert!  Not sure why I wasn’t smarter about it, but I guess I was hoping I’d never need water beyond what I could get from my tap.


Glass of water – Now that’s the kind of water I’m talkin’ about! Me, sitting by a lake with a view of the mountains, no kids hangin’ on my sleeves, just sippin’ some ice cold, clean, clear water.


I think my biggest stress was wondering where I was going to keep all this water.  I’d even done research on how to store water, how to purify/disinfect it, etc., but I thought the best solution was water barrels, and I didn’t have any, and I didn’t have $100/barrel to spend at the moment, so I didn’t store any.


One year, for my family’s Christmas gift exchange, we opted for “preparedness” themed gifts.  My sister sent me a 25 gallon water storage kit, which was awesome!  It was a set of 5 boxes plus mylar bags.  You filled the bags with water, and they kept for 5 years.  You could stack them for easy storage.  They were light enough (although not light), I could move them around.  Also, once you use the water out of them (in an emergency), each box and bag could be used as a “toilet.”  If you don’t have water, you can’t flush your toilet, so I thought this was a brilliant idea.

Box Water Kit

Of course, I didn’t think about the fact that I had a cat who liked to sharpen his claws on boxes.  Needless to say, only one of the 5 boxes survived, and it’s no longer in the best of shape.  But I still have it, and I’m keeping it just in case we have an earthquake and no water to flush my toilet.  Still, I wasn’t much better off than I was before.

Water Storage - Mylar Bag Inside Box

So, despite my efforts, I had very little water stored, and I knew I needed to do better, to do SOMETHING!


Does this sound like you?  Well, it was me.  Then, I had a realization (about the same time as my “start where you are” realization).  The bare minimum amount of drinking water experts recommend we store is 72 hours worth (64 oz a day per person).  For me, that meant 4 20-oz water bottles a day or 12 bottles.  For my family, it meant 72 water bottles or two cases of Costco water bottles.


I was already buying water bottles on occasion, so I bought a couple more cases, and now I make sure I always have at least 2 cases of water.  If we start using one of those cases, I buy a couple more.  I don’t love our tap water here, so I use bottled water on a regular basis.  It’s also easier to send with my kids to school.  (Yes, I know I’m probably destroying the environment with each bottle I use, but at least I recycle all of them.  That’s something, right?)  I average buying three cases a month.  It’s stored in my “Harry Potter” closet, just behind the coats, so it’s easy to access.  This way, I’m rotating it, so I know it’s within date.

Costco Water - Easy to rotate and store

Once I had that down, I just stewed about it for a while.  Then some friends of ours were moving out of state, and they offered us two 30 gallon water barrels.  We jumped at the chance to have real, long-term storage water barrels and brought them home.  We didn’t have room in our garage or in our house (we don’t have a basement or much extra closet space), so we put them on the side of our house.  It’s well protected and shady most of the day, and it was the best we could do, so we did it.  (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve delayed doing something, because my efforts were perfect or ideal.  I’ve since taken my mantra, “something is better than nothing” to heart, and I do the best I can with where I am.  When I can do better, I do.)

2 55-gallon barrels and 2 30-gallon barrels

Then, someone at church arranged a bulk purchase of used 55 gallon water barrels.  There are quite a few people in my area who sell these barrels on Craig’s List.  These food barrels were used to store different things (fruit juice concentrate and the like).  The guy selling ours cleans and sterilizes each barrel and sells them for about $30 a piece.  That’s an awesome price, as I’ve seen them go for upwards of $75/each.  (And, once you use your barrel once, it’s used.  It’s only new once.)  So we bought a couple of those.

2-Liter Bottles

More recently, I’ve started storing water in used 2-liter soda bottles.  I clean them out and disinfect them (in a simple bleach-water solution).  Then I let them dry completely and fill them with water.  Plastic soda bottles are great for storing water (or grains, beans, etc.), because they are food-grade plastic, they last a long time, and they’re relatively sturdy.  Also, they fit in small spaces, like under your bed or sofa, in your closet, etc.


Now, let me ask you a question…  Do you have any water stored?  If so, what?  Do you have enough for at least 72 hours worth of drinking water?  How about for hygiene needs like washing your hands, bathing, or cleaning your clothes?  If not, what can you do today to build your water storage?


Let me know what you’re doing or plan to do by commenting below.  Share so others will benefit from your experiences!


Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, Have a question about Food Storage? Email me:

17 thoughts on “Water – Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It (In your house, that is)

  1. I like the idea that you aren’t holding out for something perfect – any water stored any way you can is the right idea.
    We’re fortunate to have a well – still it takes electricity to run the pump – and with frequent hydro outages in the winter we also have a generator to power it. Even at that – we always have on hand, a 1200 gallon cistern full for the house, and a minimum 300 gallons in the barn for the animals. In a pinch we can melt snow on our wood stove if needed. I never count on the generator firing up when it’s 30 below.
    Homesteading has taught me that I need three ‘methods’ of providing anything – aside from the well, stored water, generator to work the well – I can also have water brought in by truck should the well pump fail altogether.


  2. Yikes! I have no water storage, at all! Also I’m not sure I knew that water went bad.

    So much to think about!


    • Well, I wouldn’t say it goes “bad,” but you may need to purify the water before you use it. It’s good for at least a year. There are treatments you can add to it which extend the life up to 5 years. I’ll address that in another post later on.


  3. I’m so glad someone else finally responded who’s not already a food storage pro! I was beginning to feel like I’m the only unprepared idiot out there. Thanks “naimavanswol!” 🙂 I love the idea of storing water in 2-liter bottles. That’s a great idea and something I can easily start doing. I can also manage to buy a few cases of water bottles at Costco. The whole 55-gal barrel thing is intimidating, but I’ll start looking around on Craigslist to see what I can find. It’s a bummer that you can only use the barrels once. Is that because they can’t be resealed? How then is it possible to buy used barrels? I’m confused. Anyway, thanks Laurie!! I’ve already bought a 4lb. bag of sugar (that I never would’ve gotten if you hadn’t suggested to just pick up something extra at the store). So now if there’s an emergency, my family and I can at least have one great sugar high before we starve then dehydrate to death! 🙂


    • That’s great, Karyn! Sugar makes difficult times a little easier to handle. 🙂 Just keep doing what you’re doing. Buy one or two extra things each time you go to the store and your budget permits.

      Regarding the barrels, they are reusable, but I guess a lot of companies don’t reuse them.


    • Oh, regarding buying the barrels on Craig’s list: in CA, companies list them for sale, and you can pick them up and clean them yourself. I like buying them from the guy in my area, because he cleans them for you and delivers them if you buy enough barrels.


    • Try looking in the yellow pages for Hobby Brew places – where you would go in and make your own wine etc.
      That’s the best place to find barrels, and also ‘cubes’ (where I live anyway). They come filled with juice concentrates, and once empty they don’t reuse them. You- however, can reuse them as many times as you like.


  4. Actually, we do have some water stored!

    When we lived in Texas, the local tap water tasted just TERRIBLE. So we had to purchase all our drinking water from the local water store and accumulated many five gallon Deep Rock type water jugs. When we moved back to Denver, we kept all of them for emergency water storage. We empty and refill them about every 6-12 months. I’d say we have about 50 gallons of drinking water stored.


    • Oh, and thank you for discussing the importance of water storage. Water is something many people don’t think about and it is the stuff of life. If something happens to the city water, what will you drink? How will you cook? Great post.


  5. Never thought of storing water in plastic bottles. What a great idea!


  6. We think much alike. FYI there is also something called a Life Straw and a Life Saver filtration bottle. Either would be a good thing to carry with you at all times. It was invented after Katrina and you can find it on Amazon.


    • Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve thought about getting a life straw or the filter bottle, and I probably will. However, if I ever need water, and I’m here, it’s unlikely there will be water I can find to filter, because of our dry weather (which is considerably worse this year).


  7. We have water in two 3000 gal storage tanks for the drip irrigation on the farm, which is supplied by rainwater and groundwater seepage in our cistern. So, not the typical urban situation.

    For anyone who will have water of questionable purity as a backup system, the Berkey water filter is just super. It’s a gravity filter, so no electricity required, and is what the Red Cross takes to emergency areas. One variation is capable of filtering viruses. We filter all of our drinking water, and it tastes great. So much better than most of the drinking water you can purchase in plastic bottles.


  8. Pingback: 6.9 Wake-up Call. Am I Really Ready? | My Foray Into Food Storage

  9. Pingback: My March Preps: You Get To Hold ME Accountable! | My Foray Into Food Storage

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