Jodi’s Water Storage Evolution

When we first started our food storage adventures, I had 6 two liter bottles full of water for my water storage. Over the last almost 4 years I’ve gone through several different methods of water storage based on my needs and budget at the time. Below is what I consider my water storage evolution:

Getting started – FREE water storage containers

Before I ever REALLY thought about food storage I had at least made a set of 72 hour kits for my family and include two liter bottles full of water to go with them. This is a GREAT way to get started! If you don’t drink soda you can use juice bottles and/or ask your family and friends for their containers. I was able to store a nice little collection on my hall closet shelf.

Moving Up – Plastic storage jugs

When we put together the research for BabyStep 2: Water I quickly discovered that I didn’t have NEARLY enough water, and I wanted to get it in place quickly versus waiting to collect containers. At that point I had set aside a $50 budget to work on my food storage each month, so for June I purchased 10 6-gallon plastic camping jugs to get a 2-week supply of water for my family. This cost a little more than $50 but it was a good price per gallon of water stored.


Water Storage Disaster

We had some readers make comments about our water jugs saying they had issues with them cracking. We decided to stick with them and see what happened. Well about two years after I got my jugs … disaster happened. One night at about midnight, I decided to rummage through my basement looking for an important document that was hidden away somewhere down there. I just happened to glance over at my food storage area and saw a puddle of water on the floor. It was raining that night so I thought we were having a flood, but no water was running from the basement door. I poked around a bit and discovered water was pouring out of one of my water jugs in streams. I had some boxes that were damaged but overall it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. After that I knew I needed another solution.

Next Phase – Water Boxes!

Around the time of my “disaster” we had discovered Water Boxes from Emergency Essentials. They were about the same cost per gallon as my plastic jugs, but they can stack 3 high, you don’t have to rotate them as often, and they don’t LEAK! Julie had done a great little post introducing these, and I finally got around to getting some and filling them up. 10 5-gallon = 50 gallons of water and I had continued collecting 2 liter bottles to supplement that.


MORE WATER PLEASE – Water Barrels

If you have followed our blog for long, you have probably seen the 7 Day Challenge that we put on every September. We practice living through different emergency scenarios and do it along with all of our readers and we all learn a TON. Well after going through some water emergencies I started to panic about not having enough water. I wanted to get some 55 gallon barrels but was worried about storing them outside (I don’t have a garage). I recently finished my basement and have a great little food storage room but it realistically can’t fit more than one barrel inside. We were introduced to these AMAZING water barrel towers a few months ago and I knew that was the solution for me. So I’ve been gradually getting my barrels over the last few months and now THIS MONTH I am getting the tower that can fit THREE barrels into the same space that ONE normally takes up, by letting them stack sideways. I am SOOO excited for this! (this was mid basement finishing process, so I haven’t stacked it on the tower yet- otherwise I would have it on woodblocks so it wouldn’t be directly on concrete)

Diversity in Storage Solutions – Water Bricks

With my 3 big barrels I feel fairly confident in my ability to withstand some kind of disaster that last several weeks. However, it is pretty difficult to get the water out and USE it in small quantities for a short-term emergency. I decided I definitely still want to keep some smaller storage containers around. I love my water boxes but they aren’t super portable for a disaster kit and neither are the 2 liter bottles. I discovered these Water Bricks and fell in love with them. They are NOT a cheap storage solution but they have so many uses that are great for me, so I’m picking up a few every month to build my collection. First off you can STACK them floor to ceiling, so I can fill in some of my small “unusable” spaces in my storage room. Second, they are safe to freeze, so if I want to continue to add to my water storage I can start a little collection outside and I now keep one in the trunk of each vehicle too. Third, they have a HANDLE and are only 3.5 gallons so they are MUCH more portable and convenient to use and/or grab and go than many other containers. I keep several Water Bricks with my 72 hour kits to grab in an emergency, they are perfect for that!

As you can see, my opinion on water storage has evolved over the years. There are many great options for water storage containers, but only you can decide what will work best for your current needs. For some pros and cons of each solution check out this post we did a few weeks ago. And don’t forget, you don’t have to stick with what you start with … my water storage evolution is a testament to that 🙂


  • I like the waterbricks a lot!  They are really sturdy, and are easier to carry than a 5-7 gallon water container.  I’ve also used them as supports for shelving (double duty).  A board laid across the top of two or three and build up from there to form a series of shelves to store other things.  They were designed for air drops of supplies for military/relief situations and could then be used as building blocks for walls/blast zones/housing so they will hold a lot of weight.

  • Great article!  Anyone in any situation and with any budget can do SOMETHING to store water.  Linked to this on facebook.  Thanks for the great tips!

  • phoebe adams

    Question Jody…water towers.  I love the idea, but how are you going to get nearly 450lbs on the shelves?  Can a top valve be put in to fill?  My husband is disabled, and my teenager can’t lift that much.  Do you have a solution for that?

    • You fill them after the the barrels are on the shelves. We’ll actually have a video showing it too!

      • phoebe adams

        Wonderful!  Can’t wait to see it!  Guess I’d better get busy building mine.  Sorry I spelled your name wrong!

  • I read recently that one of the keys to preparedness is layers.  You wouldn’t have just one type of non-electric light, you would have candles, glow sticks, flash lights and lanterns.  I love how this post give the same ideas for water storage, boxes, barrels and bricks for each type of water storage, long term, medium term and portable.  This was so helpful for me.  Thanks!

    • Rose

      Yes, your backups should have backups! Have 3 ways to do anything, like your 3 ways to have light, there should be 3 ways to store water, filter/purify water, 3 ways to make fire, cook food. Etc.