6 Surprising Lessons Learned from a Planned Water Outage

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
6 Surprising Lessons Learned from a Planned Water Outage

Over the past few days, something has become very clear to me: Backdoor Survival readers are a community.  I have been reading the 176 (and counting) comments to the recent Buzz, and more than a few of you have mentioned that you learn as much from comments as the from the articles themselves.  Nothing could make me happier!

Along those lines, recently I received an email from Karen in Nebraska.  The topic was “What I learned about water recently” and she wrote about the lessons she learned during a planned water outage.

Six Surprising Lessons Learned from a Planned Power Outage | Backdoor Survival

Normally speaking, we prep for an unexpected water outage but that does not mean a planned outage is any less convenient.  (I was going to say miserable but as preppers, we are well prepared so we are NOT miserable.)

With Karen’s permission, I share her experience so that you, too, can learn from it.

6 Lessons From a Planned Water Outage

A couple of weeks ago, we had a water outage (we knew in advance they would be working on our water main for about three days.) I thought it would be a perfect time to test our preps, especially since it was so cold out.

Here’s what I was surprised by.

1. We used a lot less water than I thought we would.

We ended up finding excuses not to use water, when we knew it would take more effort.

We used baby wipes and Clorox wipes for cleaning and hygiene. We used mouthwash instead of rinsing our teeth with water. We used a lot of hand sanitizer instead of washing our hands. (I know, not the best, but mostly that was my husband and kids when I wasn’t looking!)

We ate a lot of canned soup, the kind that doesn’t need water, and we used almost all of our paper plates, bowls and cups, and plastic utensils.

2. We made a lot more laundry than usual.

We ended up using almost every piece of clothing we owned, and figured out what didn’t fit anymore or looked bad or shabby, because we didn’t want to use our water for washing clothes.

I had already not done laundry for several days beforehand because, well, busy life, so clean clothes were at a premium. Clean socks became a barter item by the last day!

3. We need to revamp our toilet strategy.

The boys could go outside for number one, but we girls couldn’t. We filled our tub up before they shut our water off, and used it all in one day flushing the toilet.

By the third day, the house was pretty stinky. It was like although the kids knew they needed to flush less, their bodies needed to go more often than usual! We were using our portable toilet and kitty litter, and putting our TP in a separate bag to go out to trash. It was still pretty stinky. So we are going to make a separate area in the basement for next time.

4. We ended up getting dehydrated a little.

Because we knew we were only going to have the water we had in the house, we all kept finding excuses not to use it. Unfortunately, drinking ended up being one of the things we didn’t do.

We had milk and juice in the fridge, and used up more of those than usual. I didn’t realize this until we ran out of milk earlier than usual, and I took a look at our bottled water. We’d only used a few bottles, where I figured we’d be almost out!

So next time we have a water test, I’ll be encouraging more water drinking. It was easy to overlook their water intake, because they were still going to school and work, and I was busy too. I won’t make that mistake again!

5. Cooking was harder than it had to be.

I didn’t realize until I looked back, but I kept choosing meals that didn’t use much water.

It was easier to open a can of soup than haul a gallon of water into the kitchen to boil something or use paper plates than haul water to wash dishes. (Plus I hate doing dishes anyway!)

I spent one whole afternoon trying to figure out a meal I could make without any water at all. (Hot ham and cheese sandwiches, canned corn, and canned peaches!) By the end of the three days, my husband said he would be happy not to have soup for several months!

6.  I am not at all sure anymore whether we are ready for a longer term emergency.

This was the first time I tested my water preps, and it didn’t go at all how I thought it would.

I have several tweaks to make, and my mindset is definitely different. I am not at all sure anymore whether we are ready for a longer term emergency, especially since we took the lazy way out for a lot of things.

We wouldn’t be able to do things the way we did if the water was shut off unexpectedly and we didn’t know when it would be back on. So I will be reworking my plans and restocking my canned goods. I learned a lesson here, and I just wanted to tell someone who might understand!

The Final Word

What are the takeaways from Karen’s experience?  Let me list them for you.

1.  Stock up on disposable goods, including paper plates, utensils, TP, plastic garbage bags and even disposable cookware,

2.  If a planned outage is scheduled, do laundry ahead of time.  Actually, keeping up the the laundry is a good idea regardless.  You never know when an unexpected water or power outage will occur.

3.  Stockpile extra socks!!!

4.  Think through how you will deal with human waste.  This is where extra heavy garbage bags come into play.  Some are available with odor-control features.  Hint:  bigger is not always better.  A bag full of human waste will be heavy.

5.  Even with all the preps in the world carefully stored away in your prepper-closet, there will always be surprises.  Take a weekend or even a day to shut off the water and practice your preps.  That is the very best way to discover your prepper strengths and prepper weaknesses.

I would like to thank Karen, once again, for sharing her experience and the lessons she learned from a planned water outage.  I don’t know about you, but I am now on a mission to find some extra socks!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Hanes Men’s 10-Pack Ultimate Crew Socks: I do not know anyone that does not have a clothes dryer that eats socks.  After reading Karen’s email, I ordered these for Shelly and for me?  I ordered these.  (My clothes are typically very conservative but I love colorful socks!)

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49 Responses to “6 Surprising Lessons Learned from a Planned Water Outage”

  1. I’m on only a few Prepper sites so maybe this has already been said or discovered by all, but if not, I’ll put in my two cents worth. I save almost all my plastic grocery bags for bathroom use. I realize plastic takes forever to disintergrate, but in an emergency situation, they cost nothing to keep and small enough for a one time use and then to bury.

    • Hi Elizabeth, “I realize plastic takes forever to disintergrate” I think that the modern plastic disposable grocery bags…which are getting banned here and there…actually do disintegrate fairly fast. They seem to break down into ever smaller flakes, although I’m not sure what the tiniest flakes turn into.

    • those tiny flakes (or granules) don’t break down. that’s why they’re so harmful to the environment and wild animals. they eventually filter into everything–dirt, water, etc–and become part of the food chain, which is not a good thing because they have no nutritional value. that’s like a human trying to survive on a diet that’s partly styrofoam–the stuff takes up space but doesn’t nourish. many animals, especially aquatic animals, starve to death for that reason. also, of course, various toxins leach out of the plastic over time and become part of the biosphere.

    • Dear Teabag, do you know what happens to kitty litter? Does it break down? If buried in the woods does it hurt the trees and foliage? What about the urine in the kitty litter? Does that hurt the trees? I’ve been doing this for awhile. Instead of scooping the litter box into grocery bags and then the garbage, I started dumping it in a hole in the woods behind my house. I’m asking because you know a lot about plastic so I was hoping you could answer this question. Thanks

    • kitty litter is just clay, processed to have a certain texture. i assume that used litter would fertilize the trees, since it contains organic waste! it certainly shouldn’t harm the trees unless you bury so much of it that all that clay interferes with the drainage capacity of the soil.

  2. Hmm, I think I might’ve just found an indoor/outdoor reason to get one of those pricey (and versatile) ice shanties fishermen use.
    I’ve never spent a day on the ice in anything like that, dang, I bet I could have learned some things doing that. I.e. the unmentionables. I wonder how ice fishermen handle all that.

    Also, do you think twenty Bucks is too much to pay for 100% lama wool socks? I encountered some locally and am hesitant to buy.

    I read a review on Amazon about some socks advertised as 100% wool which complained that the 100% wool socks weren’t exactly 100%, there was an elastic band at the top to stop the sock from slipping. Some people might find that band a bit uncomfortable. It seems you have to sift through the reviews to find which socks have that band and which don’t.
    I have some with that band and no matter how much I stretch and yank on that band, it never seems to yield and be a bit looser. I’m tempted to snip them with some scissors. However; I imagine doing so would cause an unraveling mess.

    • Yes, $100 is too much to pay for llama socks. There is a lovely alpaca ranch in Mora, New Mexico ( I think that’s right- Google it)— and you can probably get lovely alpaca socks for less $$$.

    • $100 would be too much, but $20 (which is what was mentioned) is probably not too bad. Just go to your local sports store and see what ski socks go for.

    • Llama or alpaca socks are amazing. But we have found they are much more wearable and last much longer if they are not 100%. There should be some other fiber or they do not wear well and they loose their shape.

    • Fleece socks are much better and don’t shrink like wool does. I have wool socks that are almost impossible to get on after washing.

      Look for THICK fleece socks with an elastic top.

      Mine have lasted for years now.

      They can be hand rinsed at night and hung out to dry near a heater or put on a boot dryer to dry quickly

  3. We had about 4 or 5 days without water. We used to go South in the winter to an RV park. And we’d come home for G-kid activity in February. Usually we left the house water on. One year we had our city do a temporary shut off.

    We decided that we would not have them turn it back on one year for the 4 to 5,day visit. Before we left, We filled a big covered garbage can in the back yard for flushing water, and kept a bucket of the water in the bath tub for convenience.

    Flushing– [you could use rain water collected off your composition roof, as this is not for drinking and NOT for the veggie garden]

    Bottled water for cooking. Microwave meals or pantry meals, sandwiches– since our refrigerator was almost empty. Baby wipes for baths, and cold cream for face cleaning.

    Dirty clothing went in the hamper ( realizing a lot of clothes were left in our trailer down South.) Tries not to use pots, pans, or dishes. All disposables from our camping totes.

    We have a city near us whose water was contaminated for 6-8’weeks. There was LOTS of bottled water trucked in, and probably doubled there food budget. If you didn’t have that option due to civil unrest, national emergency, etc— you’d have to have a well, good stream, or s lot of those big blue 44-55 gallon water storage containers.

  4. Venting an ice shanty (turned into a makeshift indoor outhouse to help control odor) through a window via a vent such as they use for the newer free-standing air-conditioner units, wouldn’t work without using an exhaust fan, would it?

    [Note to self: those composting units mentioned in the comments section of Daisy Luther’s toilet blog post might fit the bill here, too. BTW.]

    Am I wrong in thinking that a portable ice shanty makes for a better temporary Winter outdoor outhouse than would the Summer-y tent-like temporary outhouses sold in the camping section?

    Anyway, now I have something to think about while I’m at the dentist later today. I’ll have to ask, “Have you ever been ice fishing?”. Ha. “Are you experienced?”

  5. One last thought: animals such as raccoons would rip into a tent-like outhouse and make a mess of things, wouldn’t they. Rats!

    …The best laid plans of mice and men.

  6. Really great article. Thank you Karen in Nebraska and Gaye Levy!

    The most important thing I got from your article is that your family willingly participated and you all pulled together to use less water.

  7. As an middle age+ American, I understand the need to force fluid intake to be at a certain level or health issues will result. So it might make sense to keep track of each person’s water intake to make sure everyone is getting enough to stay healthy.
    And it’s great you had so many soups to keep hydrated, but for folks relying on freeze dried foods we have to plan on having enough extra water to rehydrate the meals as well as for drinking, even if we stick with your idea of baby wipes and hand sanitizer for personal hygiene. It’s why one of my first serious prepping purchases was a Berkey filter system. I’m lucky in that I have a river less than half a mile down the road and can lug water around on a garden cart in 5 gallon jugs, but having a purifying filter will be a life saver in a real emergency. That said I’m still trying to make room in my basement for a 250 gallon water tank to extend the time we can survive on our own without venturing out to get more. You can never have too much potable water. 😉
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s always great to hear what things other people run up against so I can see what I haven’t thought about and need to prepare for.

  8. If you have electricity, it still takes less water to run your dishwasher than to wash dishes in the sink. You have to “babysit” your dishwasher, and while it’s time consuming, it’s not that hard. Open the door, add water until the float rises, shut the door, allow it to run until it empties and starts the next cycle, open the door and add more water. Use the water saver cycle.

    She said the boys can go outside for #1 ~ so can the girls ~ you SQUAT. In fact, while it’s not pleasant, especially if it is cold, you can all go outside for both #1 & #2. Or get a chamber pot and take it outside and empty it. You can buy them on eBay. A five gallon bucket also works, although you won’t be reading while using it as you won’t find it all that comfortable and will quickly be looking for a better seat. You need to empty these immediately as they will quickly smell bad just like an un-flushed toilet.

    You CAN actually wear the same clothes more than once. Unless you’re working hard enough to sweat through your shirt, or you’re covered in mud etc, it won’t hurt to wear outer garments for two or three days if necessary. Underwear and socks can be rinsed out by hand in a small amount of water and hung up to air dry.

    I do not recommend putting human waste in plastic trash bags, no matter how heavy the gauge of the trash bag; one tiny leak equals HUGE unwanted mess, and with a limited water supply, you better have some window cleaner etc on hand.

    Window cleaner is great for spot cleaning clothes, carpets, etc. It dries quickly, it leaves very little soap residue, and because it has rubbing alcohol in it, works as a disinfectant. Keep lots of it on hand. Dollar General has refill sizes for $2.50, and the jugs you put in your car to wash your windshield are gallon sized for about the same price and work just as well. Works great for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms from counters to floors.

    • We’ve used home-made waterless composting toilets now for 3 years (just a wooden box with a toilet seat, and a 5-gallon bucket inside). Just think of all that saved water!! We went to a local sawmill to stock up on sawdust for the toilets. Now, instead of wasting valuable water each time, we just use a scoop of sawdust (or peat moss)…no smell at all (except that of pine wood, which is nice). When it’s getting full, we put it in a normal-looking compost heap in the back yard and cover with a thick layer of loose straw. One or two years later we have nice black good-smelling soil for our plants. There’s a lot of info about this online (particularly, look up “humanure handbook”)…if done correctly, there’s no danger of spreading pathogens. It may just be the way to save the world…or at least your family in an emergency. 🙂

    • Hi Donna, another way to go outside in comfort avoids squatting or sitting on a bucket rim: Get a bucket toilet seat from Amazon (keywords: ‘bucket toilet seat’. They run $10-$20 each). They are particularly important for people who can’t squat because of bad knees or balance. Even for the rest of us, a proper seat reduces stress in an already stressful time, and that is what prepping is all about.

      Better yet, get two and use two buckets. If you cut a roughly six inch hole out of the bottom of one, and add two or three bricks or small boulders for stability, it will drain directly into the ground. The other bucket can be lined and hold kitty litter if you like, and can be used for solids only.

      When cutting, be sure to wear heavy gloves, and point the sharp edge of a pointed knife away from you. Buckets are easy to cut through- just be careful.

      If some people using the toilet have stability problems, it’s important to have a sapling or some other sturdy handhold next to it so they have something to grab onto to.

    • A pool noodle makes a nice 5-gallon bucket seat. Cut length to fit around top edge; slice one side to go over edge.

  9. Sani-bags are used in hospitals. You can find them on amazon. They are good for 3-5 uses. Has odor control, fits the toilet. Use it, close it, throw it away will decompose,

  10. You are still able to use your toilet inside without water.

    Turn off the incoming water valve, flush the water out, place a liner in the empty bowl (plastic trash bag, grocery bag, etc.), lower the seat and use. Add the kitty liter/sawdust and it’s ready to use again. Seal and dispose of bags as needed.

    This is an easy workable solution for the elderly, incapacitated, or very young that may have difficulty “adapting” to a new bathroom routine.

    • for those who need a stable place to sit, you could also get a bedside commode (people sell them for cheap on craigslist). this provides a comfy place to go, and it’s easy to dispose of the bags afterward (or to empty the pot). of course, this takes up a lot of space in your preps unless you pack carefully around it or get a folding one.

  11. For water filtration, check out the Sawyer mini, retails for about $20.00, filters 100,000 gallons of water. The down side of the life straw, is it filters only about 300 gallons. Check out the Sawyer site, they offer a nice selection of very reasonable water filters, priced so there is little to no excuse for not having one, or two.

  12. Consider separating liquid from the solid deposits. Save larger detergent bottles (inner neck thingie removed) to use for liquids. They have a tight-fitting lid (no smell), and everyone could use their own bottle (less ‘ick’ factor). If there are no drugs in the individual’s urine, it can be diluted and sprinkled around the edges of a larger property. If using a toilet for disposal, then everyone’s urine can be dumped at the very end of each day and that way the toilet would only have to be flushed one time (saving an enormous amount of water vs. multiple individual flushes).

  13. I was working very long hours in the oil field. I had a waterline break underground,between the meter and my house. I could not take the time to fix it until I had a day off which would be 4 more days. No problem I though. I have hundreds of gallons of stored water in the house. By the time my day off rolled around and I took a look at all those empty water containers that used to be full,,,,I was shocked and appalled at how grossly I had under estimated our needs,even while being somewhat conservative. I actually dug my own well after that.

    • Hi BCTruck, your testimonial about water is very sobering. I will not soon forget and I will keep cramming stored water in the house. Anywhere and everywhere. Short heavy-duty containers can go in the crawl space.

  14. Karen, make sure your bathtub drain/stopper is not leaking. Pour a gallon in and check every 15 minutes. If it’s leaking, next time you need to store water, seal it with duct tape. A few more tips:
    Don’t flush #1, only #2. Tell the kids “if it’s yellow let it mellow,if it’s brown, flush it down”.
    Use a smaller bucket (2 gal mop bucket) for flushing. Pour the water quickly, but carefully directly in the bowl, not the tank. Practice while you have water, you’d be surprised how little water it takes to flush.

  15. If you live in a trailer or similar shelter with no washer or dryer, you learn to wear the same clothes more than once! It’s a big job to haul everything to the laundrymat (and an expense), so you become quite judicious about ‘making more laundry’ for no reason.

    In the old days, folks made do with a pan of water to clean the ‘smelly bits’. I’d recommend one bucket of water (pour out a little to wash) with a second similar amount for rinsing. A wet washcloth can do a fair job of body cleaning. You don’t have to use everything throw-away. Give each person his/her own towel/cloth (different colors, of course). You should be able to get by a few days anyhow that way.

    About the throw away dishes etc. You can assign each person and child their own ‘bag’ of utensils, including cloth napkins. Write their name on them the bag and plastic silverware (if you need to). Spoons etc can be licked then rubbed on the cloth if you’re fussy. Forks and knives really don’t get all that dirty. Here in Great Southwest, folks used sand (in plentiful supply) for dish cleaning when water is scarce.

    About the poop problem, well, now you know why there was a ‘special hut’ for that purpose! My grandmother kept a chamber pot handy under the bed when we visited even though she had indoor plumbing! Old habits die hard.

    The hardest thing is probably assessing your everyday life style. We develop habits like using paper towels or napkins constantly without even thinking what would we do if there were no more?

    • Before laundry was a (relatively) easy task a person was given a clean napkin once a week on Sunday & used that one all week. Personalized napkin rings kept track of whose was whose. That’s why you see so many engraved napkin rings at antique stores!

  16. The TP smell issue brought to mind my son’s cat box. He has a gadget (non-electric) like a diaper genie that holds the clumps from the litter box and really does a remarkable job of keeping the smell to a minimum. A camp potty with kitty litter & one of these gadgets might be a temporary solution.

  17. We live off-grid and get our water from a spring which freezes every winter, so we spend the winters and a good part of spring hauling water. We’ve learned to be very conservative in our water use, the three of us use between 5-10 gallons per day total. One of the things I’ve learned to stretch our water is to use a tub of water more than once. As fresh water, I use it for bathing, rinsing dishes or laundry (I do both of those by hand). When it’s time to change my washwater, it goes into a bucket for “dirty cleaning” and the rinse water becomes my wash water and I get new rinse water. The dirty water gets used for mopping, washing lamp chimneys, etc. After that, it’s pretty awful and gets use for flushing the toilet. In short, use clean water for clean jobs, grey water for not-so-clean jobs and blackwater for the worst jobs.

    • Lori, I love your story. Very inspirational. Being on town water and sewer paying $180 quarterly whether I use it or not, no financial motivation. But conserving the environment and practicing for the lean times to come is big motivation. Also I can store this expensive water for SHTF.

      Thank you for sharing your family’s efforts and methods. I’m going to do some things differently. Karen.

  18. I’ve been camping and hauling water to our property for over thirty years. I use old milk jugs, the gallon size, and fill them at home. Together, my wife and I use a gallon each per day, so thirty jugs sit on shelves in our outdoor kitchen and we usually have one or two left over at the end of two weeks. Wearing clothing for a couple of days isn’t a problem unless I’m working in the woods with a chainsaw and splitting maul…even then, I don’t change trousers unless they’re muddy. Yes, there is a big load to do by the time we get home, but it’s not all that much more than when we’ve stayed home…it’s simply a matter of getting used to camping over the years.

    We do bag our poop (double bag) and when we get a couple day’s worth, it goes into another (larger) plastic bag. We use a shed for our ‘facility’ that’s away from our living quarters and I hang the bags on a nail in the wall so critters can’t reach them. The car sometimes gets stinky on the two hour drive home–then it all goes into the trash can. I figure it gets buried sooner or later in a landfill, but I don’t feel bad because of all the other trash that gets buried along with it. Besides, I don’t have to bother burying it on our property with the possibility of contaminating our ground and ground water.

    I’ve been watering my cherry trees for years with urine…they don’t seem to mind. It is a little less convenient for #1 when its raining out.

    We either wash our few dishes and/or use paper plates and canned foods and we don’t usually generate much more trash than we do at home…we burn all of the paper in the fire pit in the evenings along with our campfire (a great source of visual entertainment, BTW). Pots and pans get washed daily, but we still seem to not use an inordinate amount of water.

    I do have to force myself to drink 12 oz. of water before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and before bedtime, other wise I’d forget to keep hydrated…life outdoors is completely different than living in the city and it has its own priorities.

  19. Remember “grey water” can flush toilets. Water from dish washing or laundry, even water used for bathing can be used to flush. Simply save the “grey water” instead of letting disappear down the drain. Water from nearby ponds and rain water also work.

  20. Thanks for sharing. Here are a few considerations for the water consciencous.
    1. Reuse water. Water for dishes can be used for flushing by putting it in the toilet tank.
    2. Capture the first few moments of your shower water (the part where it’s still too cold) and re-use it for flushing/dishes/etc.
    3. Rain barrels at your gutters will collect very drinkable water if you know how to chlorinate.
    4. Stock up on bleach and know how to use it. Westerners are “immuniological virgins”, so bacteria will cause you to have the cha-cha’s–a VERY effective way to dehydrate one’s body
    5. Canned foods have water…but they are als high in salt content. Salt dehydrates.
    6. Save plastic water/soda bottles, fill them and put them in your freezer. They are more dense than air, help keep your freezer cold when power goes out, and can be used for drinking water once everything Thaws.
    7. Fill your bath tub or any other large container (to include swimming pools) with water. It is far easier to filter/treat this water than to “create” water.
    8. Stock up on toilet deotorizer. This allows you to not flush for urine (but ALWAYS flush #2).
    9. Start wearing undershirts. Washing only underwear, undershirts, and socks will allow you to get more usage from your “outer clothes” before they get too rank; while minimizing wash-water usage (which will be used to flush the toilet).
    10. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This almost makes life unbearable, but these do a real good job of excellerating dehydration.

    • Great post, thanks for sharing. Just a few items.

      #4 – Liquid bleach degrades fairly quickly. Check out the blog entry here on Calcium Hypochlorite (aka Pool Shock) so you can make your own bleach, as long as you’re careful about it.

      #7 – An easier way than having to use treatment is to get a WaterBOB or similar food grade plastic bag for your bathtub. They protect the water from any gunk on the sides of the tub or from stuff falling into the tub, and give you easy access to lots of drinkable water without the need for treatment.

      #5 – Salt is a tricky subject, some folks need more, some need less. If you’re not used to eating canned foods then it’s a good idea to skip them. Although reading the labels on cans can help you make good choices. Just remember, everyone needs salt in their diet in some amount. Electrolyte balance is critical – you just have to know what your body is telling you and adjust your consumption to match.

  21. We live in the country and usually experience at least 4+ major power outages a year that last a minimum of 12 hours. We have been without power for a long as 2 weeks in the past. An average power outage here typically is about 3 days. What I do is save all my laundry detergent jugs which are about 1 1/2 to 2 gallon capacity and when empty of soap fill them with water and store. This water usually has some soap in it so it is used for washing. Dishes and people, then eventually for flushing the toilet. I keep back all the heavy duty gallon jugs like vinegar comes in and store water in these as well. I am concerned with the quality of the plastic. I don’t want any of them to break down and leak. I also don’t use milk jugs. I also save any glass jars with screw on lids that come from food products from the grocery store. Like spaghetti sauces, or canned beans. I also ask friends to save their jars and lids for me too. I wash and fill with water, then run through a boiling water bath for 10 min. They will re-seal. This is our drinking water. I also have several glass gallon pickle jars that I can water in and this I use for cooking. I do can my own food but don’t want to tie up our canning jars holding water.

  22. To the person saving and refilling laundry soap jugs. Such a great idea. I do this myself. Those jugs have plenty of soap residue. They will be great for washing dishes, clothes, and people. Sounds like you’re finder a way to save water in every possible container. This simply depends on labeling them with the purpose. I save non-potable water in kitty litter plastic jugs. Here the important thing is the space to line them up on the floor because they do not stack and the lids are not water tight.

    To Gaye, already wearing wool socks. You it’s not even sweater weather yet.

    • Fleece socks are much better and warmer than wool and also stay warm when wet.
      I buy fleece products at after Christmas sales at Kmart like vests and jackets on the cheap.
      I use a fleece long sleeved zip up jacket under my wetsuit when river rafting.

      IT WORKS!

  23. You should have several five gallon buckets with lids (from Home Depot or Lowe’s) full of water nearby for flushing your toilet with a water scoop only large enough to make the toilet flush. Also laying toilet paper inside the toilet before you go will make it easier to flush the poop with less water. A toilet brush wetted will clean off any residue that stays behind with a little rinse water.
    People all over the world (primarily in Asia) simply squat over a hole in the floor which also is the preferred position to allow your body to properly eliminate your stool and may also make wiping your butt easier.

    In my RV trailer, I simply put a 13 gallon trash bag (purchased at Walmart in large rolls) to poop in. I pee in a urine bottle kept by my bed because I have a bad back and hate getting up at night several times, so try to pee separately before you poop in the plastic bag (less chance of leaking if you get a hole in the bag). I can do about three poops before i tie up the bag and put it in the trash for disposal but with more than one person using the toilet you my only use it once before disposing the bag. Although having several people use the toilet successively isn’t much worse than using a public outhouse. You can always squirt some Fabreze on the waste and cover it with TP between usages.

    This all began when my water lines froze one winter and I couldn’t flush my toilet because there was no water and the flush pedal froze. My RV toilet is already a portable toilet. It just has a larger separate tank to empty which would freeze in the winter if not constantly emptied.

    You can also get one of those seats for the top of a five gallon bucket with a plastic bag inside the bucket to poop in that hunters use, called a ‘honey bucket’.

  24. On the farm it was common to wear work clothes until they could stand on their own after a month of wear. But there is a trick to that, it is having the right kind of clothes and changing and washing in between changes of clothes some times bathing 2 or 3 times a day.

    First polyester cotton blend work clothes Like the Dickies or work sport brand are great for this purpose. Second for the feet wool socks the higher the quality the better omniwool is nice, a smart wool or my new fave Darn Tough.. I like the regular work slacks and the long sleeve button down shirts. They are light breathable and can be layered and don’t forget tough as well as being in muted earth tones, greys and the hard to find work greens, like my grandfather wore while he was a mechanic and while he was working till the end of his life. It is not uncommon for me to wear 2 pairs of these lite work pants in cold weather. It traps air and will not sweat up on you when you are working hard and then you can always add long underwire when it is minus 10 or colder. These type of clothes can be soiled and remain wearable much longer then jeans and t-shirt/sweat shirt. And clothing made with button is easier to fix then ones with snaps or loop and hook type clasps.

    I know that this may counter intuitive but a half gallon sponge bath will keep the clothes clean. Have a clean water pail and dirty water pail. For a sponge bath allows you to save water for flushing and other uses. It is also a good plan to wash the sweat before going to bed it help to keep the bedding clean.

    On another note I reuse laundry soap jugs for sanitation water. the push dispenser controls water use and the red colors is near as effective for warm in the sun as a black container so there is no need for wasting time to paint them.

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