Plastic blue barrels are popular with preppers and survivalists for one very big reason: they are one of the most effective means for storing water and other liquids. They are a common sight on off-grid homestead properties for that reason.
But almost all preppers and homesteaders use blue barrels for their intended purpose of water storage.
That’s totally fine, but as we’ll soon see, these same blue barrels can also serve a number of other important uses as well that go beyond water storage.
Here are blue barrel uses you may have never thought of:
This is arguably the most obvious use for blue barrels that go beyond simply storing water in them.
You can create a rainwater harvesting system by attaching pipes between your gutters on your roof and your rainwater barrels.
This way, the water that is gathered by your rainwater catchment system will then travel down into the barrels.
Just make sure the gutters stay clean so the collected water will be clean too.
You can also learn here how to create an ingenious rainwater harvesting and purification system. This system is designed to store an impressive 165 gallons of water that might otherwise be lost, offering a valuable resource for obtaining clean drinking water in times of crisis.
Water Trough For Animals
Cut a barrel in two right down the middle from one end to the other. Then turn the two now cut-in-half barrel so that the open side is facing up, and fill it up with water.
This will serve as as a water trough for your livestock, such as chickens, rabbits, goats, or pigs.
As an alternative to water from the above example, you can fill up a blue barrel with hay (or other kind of feed) as well.
All you’ll need is one barrel, and you can use one half for water and the other for hay.
Planter or Raised Garden Bed
After cutting the barrel in half, you can alternatively fill it up with soil. Plant vegetable seeds or medicinal herb seeds, and you’ll have a garden going.
You can also use the half of the barrel as part of a raised garden bed by attaching it to wooden poles or legs in order to create a table-like structure.
Cut a large enough hole into the blue barrel to turn it into a seat, and then add padding around the sharp or rough edges for comfort.
Then you can drill holes into the ends of the barrel and attach hooks into those holes, you can attach paracord or rope to the hooks.
Then attach the hooks to the strong enough branches of a tree, and you have a makeshift tree swing! This may not be a serious survival use, but it will still be a fun project.
Heat Up Your Greenhouse
If you have a greenhouse, blue barrels can serve as a means to provide warmth and heat to your greenhouse.
This is because the water that collects in your blue barrels will then warm up if the barrels are stored under the sun. This heat will then be slowly released out of the barrels, which will help provide warmth to the inside of your greenhouse.
Turn a blue barrel into a compost bin for a simple and effective way to recycle kitchen and yard waste.
Drill holes for airflow, toss in compostable materials, and turn the barrel regularly.
The closed design speeds up composting by trapping heat and keeps pests out.
Use the nutrient-rich compost to boost your garden’s soil health naturally, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
Create a self-contained composting toilet using a blue barrel. This eco-friendly solution not only promotes waste reduction but also ensures a hygienic and odor-free alternative when traditional plumbing systems may not be available.
Additionally, the compost generated can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Blue barrels can be used for food storage as well, especially if you have a cellar in your home. Cut a hole into your barrel and then fill it up with the season’s gathering of potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Just make sure that the barrel is safe to use for food.
Place the barrel downstairs in your root cellar, and it will keep your fruits and vegetables cool enough throughout the winter so you can continue to enjoy your homegrown fruits and vegetables off-season.
If you don’t have a root cellar, learn here how to build your own root cellar for cheap, ensuring a long shelf life for all your supplies and homegrown produce throughout the winter months.
Create A Grey Water System
Grey water refers to water that you use for purposes other than drinking purposes, such as wastewater from sinks, showers, bathtubs, and so on.
Too many preppers make the mistake of wasting their grey water by disposing of it. Instead, you should be repurposing this grey water if at all possible.
Specifically, you can use grey water to flush the toilet and water plants. Lightly soiled gray water is also quite good for fruit or similar trees as it’s more nutrient-rich than clean water. The blue barrels can be used for storing this water before distributing it to the plants.
Make a Dog or Cat House
Cut out one of the sides of the barrel so it’s completely open. Then fill up the interior of the barrel with blankets or hay or other comforting bedding materials.
Secure the barrel to the ground so it won’t move, and just like that, it can now be a house and place to sleep for your outdoor dogs and cats.
Make sure you use barrels that are completely sealed off with no holes for this one. If you build a DIY dock out of wooden boards, you can secure the dock to the top of the barrels.
Then slide the dock over the water, and secure it to the shoreline. The barrels will ensure that the boards stay floating to act as an actual dock.
If you haven’t started stockpiling blue barrels yet, you may want to.
Look for blue barrels at yard sales or online sites such as Craigslist if you don’t want to pay full price for new ones.
If you do purchase old blue barrels, however, confirm that they are in good condition with no holes or other wear and tear over them.
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