Winter is here in the St. Louis area, and that means it’s time to get your rain barrels ready for storage. We recommend unhooking the rain barrel from the downspout and storing it in a garage or shed. However, if you don’t have the storage space, you can leave the rain barrel outdoors during the winter if you prepare it for the elements. Drain your rain barrel, making sure it’s completely empty so it doesn’t freeze or crack. Then, remove the spigots, the screen and the hose and store the items in place where you’ll easily find them in the spring. You may also want to rinse out the rain barrel in order to remove sediment. If you are storing the rain barrel outside, turn it upside down to keep rain, ice and snow out of it. The rain barrel may stay in its location, but you might want to secure it to keep it from blowing away. After you’ve prepped the rain barrel for winter storage, you may want to consider redirecting the downspout away your home’s foundation in order to keep water from melted snow and ice away. Attach another piece of downspout if necessary. MSD plans to rain barrels for sale to customers in spring 2013. Keep an eye on the MSD website for sale details.