Buckets, buckets, everywhere buckets

Empty buckets from laundry supplies

Buckets are a very versatile and useful commodity. You can find them just about anywhere. In stores, you can find them ranging in price from just a few dollars on up. I like to reuse buckets that would otherwise find their way into landfills. At work, I have access to more buckets than I could ever use. It seems as I find a new use every week. As a general rule, the buckets I currently use, previously contained laundry soaps. That being said, once clean, they can be used for just about anything. Here is a brief list of what I use them for.
• Weights—Once filled with water or soil, 5 gallon buckets weigh 40 pounds or more and serve well for weighting tarps.
• Container gardens—With a few holes drilled into the bottom, a layer of rocks, and then filled with well amended soil, a bucket makes a great container for many garden vegetables that will not take up a large space.
• Fodder containers—Buckets with lots of 1/8 inch holes drilled in the bottom make great containers for growing fodder for animals.
• Stacked storage—Given the proper space or location, buckets marked with contents make excellent storage.
• Racked Storage—With an appropriately sized rack, buckets with holes cut in the sides make excellent storage for commonly used items.
• Plant collars—After cutting the bottom 4-5 inches off the bottom of a bucket it can then be pressed into the soil in your garden. Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash can then be transplanted directly inside that collar.
• Feed/Water pans—The bottom of buckets ( see plant collars ) make excellent feed pans and water containers for small livestock.
• Transport containers— When working on a particular task (plumbing) you can use a bucket to carry your various supplies to a work area.
Of course, this in no way exhausts the various uses of buckets around your home, but hopefully it provides an example and inspiration for your own use. Remember, if your bucket ever gets cracked or damaged beyond repair, they are accepted at most recycle centers.  The buckets I use, even though they get squeaky clean because of their previous contents, should never be used for any sort of food storage.  For any food storage, I highly recommend making sure you get a good quality food grade bucket. Most will be marked as such, so always check the label!  Remember if you get a good clean bucket that was initially used to transport food, it is still food safe unless it has been used for something else.  If you plan on using buckets for long term storage an item I have used with great success are Gamma Lids.  These are screw top lids with water/air tight gaskets and allow you to reseal a bucket over and over. They also come in variety of colors which are handy for color coding contents.

Do you have any creative uses for buckets?  I’d like to hear them.