The Bathroom Tour, and Being More Grateful for Hot Water

It is an unusual thing to post pictures of my bathroom on the internet. (Hello new readers! I promise I normally don’t do this.)

But this is no ordinary bathroom. It’s been such an integral part of my transition to living in Italy that I just had to show it to you and talk about it.

First, it’s a generous size for a bathroom in Florence. We looked for a long time to find a rental apartment that had a tub for our kids.

The last time we visited Florence we stayed in a place where the bathroom was so small, the toilet was in the shower! You could simultaneously use the bathroom and take a shower, if you wanted to multitask in that way.

We’re very grateful to have a nice big bathroom, but the size is not what makes such a significant impression. It’s the water.

I was talking with an expat mom last week, and we both agreed that what we miss is steady hot water.

I don’t want to generalize and say all apartments in Italy are this way, but taking a shower here requires a lot more thinking and planning than back in the states where all I have to do is turn a knob and get a full dose of hot water that I can stand under, just…I don’t know, standing there rinsing.

Because of the low electricity supply we can only turn on one appliance at a time which includes the apartment’s heat and the hot water heater. We have to turn off the heater before we can turn on the hot water heater, and the bathroom happens to be the coldest space in the apartment.

The weather outside is key. During winter when it was so cold and rainy, the bathroom was so cold that it was unpleasant to be there wet and shivering after a shower. The pipes were cold too, so any hot water lasted only briefly.

We have two hot water heaters, a small one and a larger one, both electric. The small one takes about fifteen minutes to heat up enough hot water to do the dishes or take a really quick shower. The larger one takes about an hour or two to heat up enough water for a shower or a bath.

There are two switches on the bathroom wall so you can turn them on. I appreciate the efficiency, but this does mean that you have to plan in advance when you’re going to have hot water, and you turn it off when you’re done. And if more than one of you wants to take a shower, you have to wait for the water to heat up again.

So naturally, this required a bit of restructuring to my normal morning routine for waking up and getting into the shower. I had to turn on the hot water heater first, and then wait an hour for it to be ready, and then try to be quick about it and finish in three to four minutes. There’s a tiny shower curtain that wraps around you, and in the meantime cold air is coming in from around the window.

It showed me just how much I rely on my regular routine to get going for the day, and how hard it can be to make changes. I tried lots of variations, and I’ve finally settled on a way to get my requisite shower. (The warmer weather is definitely helping too.)

Each morning I lean over the tub first and clean my hair using cold water over my head. This way I can stay warm and dressed for as long as possible. Then I get in the shower and use the warm water, but it doesn’t take as long because my hair’s already done, and since I’m using less water I don’t have to wait so long for it to be ready. (It took me a few weeks to figure this out. I’m obviously a novice.)

It always makes me think about living in countries where there is no hot water at all.

So that’s my bathroom tour, and probably more information than you wanted to know, but it’s part of life.

(I’ll try to show you more lovely photos next time.)

Let’s all give thanks for having hot water today, shall we?

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Brr. I once spent three months in Guatemala where I had not warm water at all. Each morning I took a cold shower. The warm weather did make it a bit more comfortable, but still I hated it. I’m sure to be back in the Netherlands where I have hot water whenever I need it!

    On the other hand, you now probably are very happy when you get a chance to take a long and hot shower somewhere. I do like it when I appreciate those ‘normal’ things after been deprived for awhile.

    Take care!
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…Read more blogs about FlyLady and add your own!

  2. Hi Rachel. I’ve been a reader for a while, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before (I’m such a lurker!). Anyway, your post reminded me of when I was younger and we went camping for weeks at a time. We didn’t have any hot water, but we’d heat some on the stove for washing dishes and for bathing. A potful of super hot water can be tempered with enough cold water to make a bucketful – enough for washing if you’re really careful. Also, if you put REALLY hot water into the tub to warm it, you can fill it with lukewarm water for the kids (then you can still run your heater). Just a couple of thoughts for you. I guess now I understand why Europeans bath so much less than Americans. It’s too much of a hassle!
    Tanya´s last post…Simple Things

    • Back in February we had to start every bath with pots of hot water brought in from the kitchen. It did sort of seem like camping!

  3. When I was living in Morocco, I had a similar situation. Tiny hot water heater, which had to be turned on and allowed to heat up before a shower. But, Moroccans don’t “shower” in the sense of standing under running water for extended periods of time. And they view bathing in tub full of water a complete waste of water (which really, it is). I learned to do it all the Moroccan way (living with a family helped), which is hop in and rinse to get wet. 10 seconds, tops. Then, *turn off the water* to soap everything up. Then, rinse off – 30 seconds? You use a fraction of the hot water, and it’s a really good habit for all of us, even those of us in the States with huge tanks already heated up for us.

    • My inlaws still shower this way…they don’t waste anything! It really makes much more sense than the wasteful ways most of us Americans do things. We’re too used to abundance.

    • I think I’ve also seen this called a “sailor” shower – due to the small amount of water available on board ships and subs.

    • Hmmm, sounds like a good idea. I just bought a condo a few months ago and was so looking forward to nice hot baths again after living in an apartment with just a shower. That only problem with my dream is the fact that I get about two inches of hot water before it goes to freezing. I generally do a shower and let the shower water fill the tub to then enjoy a tub. I may have to try this strategy and see if I get any extra hot water.
      Amanda´s last post…Erasing 70-000 in debt and why Ill never do it

    • We called it a “military shower” when I was living in Spain and it’s the only way I showered while I was there. I learned living abroad why so many Europeans see Americans as being so “wasteful”. I didn’t understand that until I started taking showers the European way…
      Lindsay@Tell’er All About It´s last post…The view from downstairs…

    • Patsy Emm says:

      Yes indeedy. When I was a traveling student in 1961, only Denmark hostels had the kind of shower system where I could get wet, turn off the flow while soaping, and then turn it on again – AT THE SAME NICE TEMPERATURE – to rinse off. Seems like in a world that’s running out of clean water, we could ALL use that kind of plumbing.

  4. Yup! When I went to West Africa there was no hot water. When I lived in England we had hot water but no central heat so taking a bath (there was no shower head) was not a pleasant experience.

  5. Wow, this definitely gave me a kick in the butt to remember to appreciate my hot water again. With the end of a long cold winter, I definitely got used to wasteful, long and hot showers. New goal for the week: shorter, cooler showers. Thanks for reminding me (even though that wasn’t your goal). :)

  6. Love all the details! Sort of gives a dose of reality to the romantic ideals I have of jetting off somewhere to live for a while. I would still take it as part of the whole package deal, but I guess I mean that it’s not all sparkly and perfect and easy!
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…B &amp A- The Dreaded Laundry Closet

  7. Now I feel a little guilty about the 15 minute hot shower I just took. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately since I saw a video from a guy who went to Haiti to help a town build a well. They had to form a committee just to get clean water. He was saying that here all you have to do is walk around a house and if you jiggle enough silver knobs, water is bound to start pouring out.

    We really do take so much for granted. Thanks for the reminder.
    Jennie´s last post…-right now- in true soulemama style

  8. Love hearing all the details of your “adventure” in Italy! I’m living vicariously through your blog posts as I’ve not been adventurous enough to live elsewhere!

  9. Love your blog, this is my first comment too.

    My folks have a primitive summer cottage which until recently had no shower, a tiny hot water tank for the kitchen, and limited electricity as well. The solution: grownups washed hair in the kitchen sink then had a (quick) sponge bath (with a small septic tank hair-rinsing water got caught in a basin and used on the garden). Kids were bathed in rubbermaid bins placed on an old shower curtain in the warmest room in the house. They thought it was a riot. It was amazing how little hot water this required.

    Your separate electric hot water tanks sound like a good argument for those hot-water-on-demand units :)
    Frances´s last post…painting elves rock

  10. When I lived in Istanbul years ago, I, too, was thankful for hot water. Then, when the city regularly turned off the water for the middle of the day, I became grateful just for running water! Sure changes your perspective on what’s important. We learned to store water when it was on in the morning, saving it for dishes and such, during the day.

  11. Wow. I just have to say I am REALLY enjoying your posts about living in Italy. What an eye-opening glimpse at life in another country and at what things we take for granted. I have always fantasized about moving to some cute town in Europe and living for a few years – even took serious thought at it about 15 years ago (before kids came along) – but I never even considered some of the adjustments you have made. Thank you for sharing. I’m sharing them with my children as well, so that they see life is not the same everywhere in the world.
    Lois H.´s last post…You are not your past

  12. Oh, amen! Here in Paraguay they use the “self electrocution” shower heads. Our last house had them and I shocked myself every SINGLE day…hated that! So thankful that our current house has a hot water heater and most days the water coming into the house is also quite warm due to our high temps.
    Anyway, glad you found a routine that works for you. There’s always a way, isn’t there? :)
    Shilo´s last post…My Beautiful Family

  13. It is amazing the amount of things that we take for granted! A recent trip to Africa put my life in Canada in sharp focus. I am so grateful for what I have.
    Carla´s last post…Chocolate Zucchini Muffins Cupcakes

  14. I spent a few summers with my aunt and uncle in England, where they had a typically tiny British water heater. My American self had trouble taking short enough showers, so almost every day I would trip the breaker, and then have to grab a towel and run shivering downstairs to the kitchen, pull over a chair and climb up on the counter to flip the heater switch back on. Took me a good 10 days to get my showers short enough to avoid that!
    Jessicah´s last post…It’s crazy how much better Eleanor’s walking gets

  15. You forgot to mention the….what the heck is it, a bidet? I must know more about the two-potty thing!

    • Oh that? That’s a bidet. Lane thinks it’s funny to call it a bum washer but we don’t use it.

      • they are quite useful for baby bathing, handwash clothes soaking and leg shaving. my parents have one but its about 3metres from the toilet, so not used for its proper purpose!

    • When I lived in Spain for a few months, the bidet became my BEST FRIEND to avoid the cold and rushed showering experience. You’ve got to try it out, Rachel!

      • P.S. – I have actually asked my husband if we could install one here in our house in the U.S. That’s how great it is! :)

  16. The rubbermaid in the tub for the kiddos worked for me on a 5 gallon tank system. If your kitchen is gas, heating extra water may work well for you.

  17. as a note, things like endless hot water that people in the US (and Japan…) may take for granted are a direct cause of the astronomically high energy usage we have (as compared to other industrialized nations).

    and that energy, well, it’s gotta come from somewhere. I’d be curious to see some numbers on what the per capita energy consumption in your Italian city is.

  18. This made me remember growing up overseas – for a time we had bucket showers and if you wanted to have a hot shower, you’d have to run outside and fill up your bucket from the heated hot water tank (heated by a fire) and take it to the bath house. Then you would only have the water in your bucket to wash yourself — which was a bit difficult when I was little, considering my sister and I had long hair…
    Now I’m so spoiled but I often take really long showers because I have a set water surcharge and never use it all anyways, so it wouldn’t save me money :( however, yes, it is wasteful of me :(
    Love hearing about your overseas adventure! I have dreams of living there someday.

  19. Your posts are so enlightening and really interesting. I’m enjoying living vicariously through you.

    I know that Americans can be overly consumptive, but one thing I refuse to give up are my sometimes long, hot showers. I DON’T take them for granted, or just about anything else I have as I am generally grateful for all of the luxuries that we Americans enjoy. So I guess I won’t be living overseas anytime soon!

  20. Because we’ve been blessed with decent hot water heaters in both of our European addresses (except our first two weeks here without any hot water), I had not fully understood why others might take such few baths until now. In fact, a Portuguese friend told me the other day they couldn’t schedule something that night of the week since it was “bath night”. Another one told me they use the bidet daily for washing feet and bottoms instead. I have learned to go more days without washing my hair as others do in these countries. I could get away with it even more in the drier climate of Germany–baby powder works great for greasy spots of hair. Thanks for sharing!
    Jenni´s last post…Guest Books

  21. Hehe. My water heater is the size of a pea. It’s pretty inconvenient, but it’s also a good excuse to put off washing the dishes, shaving my legs, etc. :-P

  22. Your post brought back vivid memories of a year spent living in India. There was a stretch where we had no water at all in my apartment — hot or otherwise — and I finally took the plunge and washed my hair in the monsoon rainwater gushing off the roof!
    Kate´s last post…Six Months and Counting

  23. I wonder if they have solar water heater bags in Italy? They sell them here for camp showers.

    I also take sailor showers. They are faster and more efficient than washing with a rag in the sink. We try to conserve water but one of the big motivators for me to cut back on my shower routine was sleeping in a bit longer. Most of the time I only soap up the essentials (which keeps my skin from drying out). I put my very long hair in a bun and wash my scalp. I rinse my head so the water runs toward my face, keeping the bun dry. This saves tremendously on detangleing and drying time and I’ve also found I can skip shampooing every other day. This type of shampooing only adds a minute to my one minute shower. Once a week I splurge and take a longer shower, using conditioner and shaving and all that. I would really miss that luxury in Italy! For people with warm water looking for motivation to take shorter showers, I would recommend keeping a stop watch in the shower. It really helps to see the time adding up so quickly!

    As for the bidet. Have you tried it out!? With a wash cloth and soap you can feel cleaner and fresher than with TP alone. It’s no wonder that Europeans are more romantic ;)
    Frances´s last post…Sweet Cabbage

  24. Can I just say that this post is my favorite :) Living in an RV I now have such a grateful heart for bathrooms, real toilet paper, regular sized toilets and hot showers!
    Rambling Heather´s last post…Imagine Yourself In A Home You LOVE!

  25. Christine says:

    I have spent time in Romania and one year while we were visiting there was ZERO hot water to be had. A communist brilliant idea had been to centralize the hot water – yes, centralize, as in for the whole town/whole area! Yes, dumb. Super dumb.

    So the hot water system was down. This meant not a lick of hot water for showers and cold water without even a little warm water mixed in is stunningly cold, even when it’s 90 degrees and muggy outside. It’s like taking a shower in snow melt.

    I too perfected the flipped over hair wash in cold water maneuver. If you have to persist with a cold shower, allow me to suggest that you then take off your clothes, get your hands wet and soapy and soap yourself up. Then you only have to use cold water to rinse. Work from your feet up and save your back for last, it’s always the coldest – then jump into a towel and go put on clothes. That was how we made it work for a few weeks. Sure was refreshing!

  26. Isn’t it funny there is just no bathroom like home!!! Wherever we have traveled even if it is just away fro the weekend the shower is never as great as at home!!! When we traveled in Greece for the first time we just couldn’t figure it out – why would the shower be on a handset at any level below the waste – even knee hight… well obviously because you don’t stand lingering under it!!! And in places where they ship every drop of water in you can so understand it!!! Water on, spray, water off, soap, water on , rinse off, water off… total time with the tap running less than a minute. There is indeed a lesson to be learnt there!!!! Here we keep a bucket in the shower, while we shower and afterwards we pour the saved water out on the garden.

  27. Wow…what an ordeal! I can’t imagine freezing in an apartment for an hour to let water heat up – and to many Italians, it probably doesn’t seem extraordinary, but just “how it is”. Thanks for the reminder to consciously say thanks for my hot shower.

    After I really cleaned up my eating last year, I discovered that I didn’t stink anymore – huh! – so now I shower every two or three days. I have to say, my skin and hair thank me constantly. And in the wintertime (since I try not to use the blow dryer) I don’t have to leave cold wet hair on my shoulders for an hour!
    Maggie @ Maggie’s Nest´s last post…Family is a Verb

  28. Enzo Adriatic says:

    This is true in older buildings such as what gives Florence it Character.

    Understand these building can be 350 in Venice as well as many other areas up to 700 years old, or even older. They are concrete and not easy to update the electricity or piping without major renovations. Remember this is not drywall and wood studs like in the states.

    I live in a newer building in Lignano Sabbiadoro and we have no such problems. Of course my building probably does not have the character and charm of this Florence apartment, but my wife prefers warm showers, so there you have it.

  29. michelle says:

    Hi there! I love reading your posts! I just began reading after a friend posted something of yours on FB. This post reminded me of the coldest shower I ever took as a kid. It was while we were camping along side Lake Tahoe. The shower felt like the water was coming straight from the lake, very cold even in summer!

  30. Oh how interesting! I’ve always heard that houses in Europe had those insta-hot things in their shower. Guess it’s not every place in Europe, though! Crazy what we take for granted here in the States.
    Jennifer M.´s last post…Date a Girl Who Reads

  31. I lived in Mexico for a year. I heated my water by burning corn cobs. Living in other countries makes me realize how fortunate we are here. Thank you for the perspective you just provided.

    • A girlfriend lived in Mexico for 6 months. They had bucket showers which were always cold, until she go smart and microwaved water to go in the bucket and give warm water.

  32. How interesting. We *are* spoiled here in the US!! I would have a hard time taking such quickie showers!!
    Handy Man, Crafty Woman´s last post…Coloring on Furniture With Markers

  33. This is such an interesting conversation! We are definitely spoiled in the US!
    Funny thing, I was just watching Eat pray Love last night (for the 3rd time) and there is a scene when she comes to Italy (for those who may not have seen it) and her landlady is explaining in broken english about heating the water to put in the tub. She protested that it wouldn’t be enough water, to which the italian woman says “It will take care of the parts that matter most!”

    I love a hot shower, but I hate the time it takes to take one the way that I normally take one. May have to rethink my routine!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…Staying focused as a work-at-home mom

  34. Reminds me of our years in China. We had a hot water heater the size of a cereal box. In the summer the hot water lasted about 5 minutes…in the winter about 3 minutes. It took about an hour to heat up and it ONLY heated water for the shower–no hot water in the sink, in the kitchen, or in the washing machine. We had to boil water for washing dishes and clothes. We did that for 2 years, and then lived in Thailand for a couple years where we had the same set-up, but it was so incredibly hot there that the cool water showers felt pretty great. We have only just recently moved to an apartment (in Taiwan now) with a good supply of hot water and I never, ever take it for granted. Hot water is such a luxury to me!
    Morgan´s last post…Lightly Row

  35. Wow.
    Makes me sooooo thankful for my shower.
    And also somewhat I ashamed that I was just feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have a tub. Just a shower.

    No more pity party here.
    Just gratefulness.

    Thanks for the enlightenment.
    Enjoying your blog!
    Christa
    Christa@ themeandminebook.blogspot.com´s last post…Super Mom

  36. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing your pictures and descriptions of life there.

    I used to think I couldn’t start my day without a hot shower. Then I moved to a place with no hot water heaters. We tried heating water on the stove at first, but there is a shortage of the gas we use for the stove and refrigerator, so we have to be careful not to waste it. (We’ve been out for about a month now, and no boats can make it up the river due to low water.)
    But at least it tends to be extremely hot and humid most of the time. A cold shower or bath isn’t as bad when you are sweaty and need to cool off. And if I ever feel sorry for myself, I can just look around and see many people without even enough food to eat. That helps put things in perspective. :)
    Anna´s last post…St Patricks Day

  37. Fantastic! *big smiles* I remember living with cold water only in Asia… eventually bought a water heater that was great… Loving hearing about your life.
    angelvalerie´s last post…living in the past…

  38. You DO know that you have almost no hot water because the apartment is old and not because ”it’s like that in Europe”, right?
    Tanja´s last post…Daring Bakers Panna Cotta

  39. 1Vikinggirl says:

    I agree with Tanja,
    Generally the standard of living in Italy is higher than what you have chosen for your Italian experience; an ancient city, in an old-fashioned apartment with “character features”.

    And the many comments about being “blessed” with unlimited hot water to me spells the huge need for a more environmentally conscious lifestyle in the US. Your long showers make everybody else’s even shorter to compensate the total global environmental impact.

  40. This definitely gives a big dose of reality as to what it’s really like to live in Italy! And I will totally appreciate my hot water today (and tomorrow,and the next day…).
    Jenny W´s last post…Homemade Bread in Less Than an Hour!

  41. Valentina says:

    Am I the only one who feels the strong urge to point out that this is not the average Italian bathroom condition?!

    Sorry, I usually love your posts but while I was reading the comments I felt a little uncomfortable, I realized that many people may have misunderstood a lot about my country.

    I am Italian and I have lived in many European countries and also in the States (NY to be precise) and it has never been a “cultural shock” for me to switch from one bathroom to the other…

    Choosing to live in an historical building such as yours comes with quite a deal of compromise and discomfort, but this is the exception, not the rule.

    • You’re right, I am writing about what it’s like living in an old building here in Florence during the winter and show some of the daily life details along with the beautiful architecture and scenery. My friends whom I’ve met here also live in rental apartments in old buildings, and they have had unique challenges too, but we know it’s not like this everywhere, just like living in NYC is different from other cities. I was hoping that I wasn’t giving the impression that it is always the same, which is why I mentioned in the post that I’m not trying to generalize.

  42. We didn’t have a hot water heater for a couple of months. Once it was restored, I was so thankful for hot water. So many things that I take for granted. It is good to be reminded again.
    Kathleen Jaeger´s last post…My friend Melanie

  43. I’ve heard that cold/cool showers are supposed to be be invigorating, good for you and less drying to your skin, so at least you are getting some health benefits out of the inconvenience :)
    Jennifer´s last post…An experiment

  44. Laurie V says:

    This reminds me, when we moved into our home in Germany, I joked to the landlord about the huge tub and tiny shower, and she replied, “well, you Americans like taking baths, right?” I told her, “maybe if I was sick or for a small child…”

    Also, In the summer when it’s not too cold, I do turn off the water while shavings and lathering to cut down on water costs. We used half as much water since being here than the previous tenants, so I guess we’re doing alright.

    We’ve been lucky there’s always been enough hot water for my husband and I. The little heater for our kitchen sink doesn’t last long though.

  45. wow, I’m impressed you have such a positive outlook so far! I was getting cranky when my hot water ran out after 7 minutes! There’s so much we take for granted.
    Kait Palmer´s last post…What Must Eve Have Thought

  46. are your children young? my 15 year old would not be able to handle this.
    Terri @ wordswithmydaughter.com´s last post…sisters

    • They are four and one, so they don’t care very much about getting clean. We give them shallow baths and they are fine.

  47. I have been following your blog for a long time now, but I did not know that you’d moved to Italy! When? What took you there? I never before thought about having to ration hot water like you do, but your post totally opened my eyes. Oh my goodness.
    Tara @ Feels Like Home´s last post…Grace’s Hobby Horse

  48. This is why growing up I didn’t take daily showers like they do here in the states. I still don’t! Unless I am really filthy I just wait about three days to take showers, at least washing my hair. Here people thinks that is gross but how dirty can you get? I am not working on a farm! When I am back home at my parents though they do have to remind me to turn the switch on because I have forgotten these past ten plus years living with the luxury of ‘instant hot water’ :)
    Miriam´s last post…Tuesday March 8th- Buona Festa delle Donne!

  49. While I love the topic of your post, your use of the term ‘hot water heater’ was distracting for me. It’s a water heater. If the water were already hot, it wouldn’t need a heater! (my dad’s a plumbing contractor – it’s a family pet peeve/joke of ours.)

    Still, it makes me appreciate the warm/hot showers I enjoy on a daily basis. I was just pondering my use of water today as I was doing my dishes. We Americans could learn a thing or two about conservation!

  50. I just want everyone on here to know not everyone is the US is spoiled with endless hot water. Growing up we often lived in travel trailers with no where to “hook up” to water or electric. We took showers at camp grounds with pay showers that ran cold after 3 min even in the dead of winter in WA state. When we moved up in the world we had a house where my dad ran copper pipes through the woodstove and into a hot water tank so we had hot showers. In the winter the pipes to the house that sat above ground and was fed by a spring in the mountains froze. Back to the pay showers. People like to think there is no poverty in the US. Well you know what there is, there is very real poverty nobody ever sees.In Arkansas I met a family that lived in corrugated tin shacks with newspaper for insulation. I will not feel one bit bad about the wonderful hot showers I take. I am grateful to live in the US with all its abundance. Just don’t assume everyone gets to partake in it. Thanks for listening to my rant. : )

  51. Lol, even the worst houses in Italy have hot water, that had to be a just-for-tourist house hahaha.

  52. Having heated water in our shower is often something we take for granted. However, when we no longer have heated water, in our case our water heater broke down, we are left with a very hassling option of having to boil water on a pot and having to take a bath using a pale and a dipper.
    Jonathan Sparco´s last post…Tips on Buying a Commercial Water Heater

  53. I’ve actually had some good alternative shower experiences. I loved my shower in the Loire Valley in France – you could choose the exact temperature you wanted and leave it there for the next day. Then, visiting my husband’s family in Venezuela, we took showers out of a rainbarrel, just scooped water out with an old margerine container to get wet and to rinse off. Often, this was done in a tarped-off area outside. I loved it, it’s so hot there anyway. Outside showers in the rain are also popular there.