Every Wednesday, we highlight a unitasker on Unclutterer. These humorous posts point out a product that does a single thing, and for the majority of people has little utility. Today’s post is about the opposite, a multitasker with high utility: the five-gallon plastic bucket.
I have dozens of these, and I’d gladly take a few more. This unassuming little tool is about the most useful thing I have around my house. I believe every homeowner can find uses for several. They’re inexpensive, durable, and infinitely useful. The following are ways I use my buckets around the house for cleaning and organizing.
Toting things around. Moving and holding things is a bucket’s obvious and primary function. Since buckets are highly durable, you can haul all sorts of things easily.
- Weeding. I always use a bucket when weeding the yard. The bucket is light enough to carry around and capacious enough to hold a lot of weeds, which allows me to spend more time weeding and less time running to empty the bucket.
- Painting. The buckets hold a lot of paint and have accompanied me on many jobs.
- Washing the car. This seems rather obvious, but they work great for holding sudsy water.
- Transporting small things. Small rocks, collections of toys the kids have strewn about the house, pretty much anything you need to move from point A to point B.
Fire safety. We have a fire pit in the back yard. Whenever we use it, I have five gallons of water and five gallons of sand standing by in buckets. Should there be an emergency, I’m ready. This safety precaution also makes it quite easy to extinguish any hot embers as the night ends; much easier than fiddling with the hose in the dark. If you have an indoor, wood fireplace, metal buckets are great for holding ashes for a few days after a fire to allow the ashes to properly cool before disposal.
DIY bird feeder. The kids and I line up a few buckets upside-down and pour a bit of bird seed on each bucket bottom. The birds love it and we have a great time watching the birds.
Mixing. There’s no better mixer for calc, cement, sealant, and so on. Best of all, it’s got a handle, so it can come along with you.
Camp seat/storage. My family goes camping a couple times a year, and our bucket “Sit Upons” always make the trip. They’re super simple to make: get some polyester stuffing, attach it to the bucket’s lid with decorative Duck Tape, and you’ve got a lightweight, portable seat that also carries your favorite camp items.
Organizing your supplies. Add a few simple inserts into your bucket or pockets for the exterior and you’ve got a fantastic portable organizer. You can make a craft supply bucket or purchase tool supply pockets to fit on the exterior of your bucket.
The sky is the limit. Be creative. If you’re really handy, you can apparently make a portable air conditioner that is perfect for a shed, workshop, and so on. You can even grow plants in them, like tomatoes.
The point is, you can spend less than ten dollars and get a tool that you’ll have for years, is nearly indestructible, and is incredibly versatile. Don’t overlook the humble five-gallon bucket.