Emergency Kit

With regular large scale disasters already common in North America, it’s a good time to talk a bit about disaster preparation and how a 5 gallon bucket can help provide some good physical insurance against a catastrophic situation.diy bucket emergency disaster kitA well designed emergency kit will contain the best bits of modern technology and healthcare packaged neatly in a carryable 5 gallon bucket. Continue reading “Emergency Kit” »

Water Boiler

Count how often in a day you use hot water out of the tap. I can think of several – washing hands, taking a shower, cleaning clothes or as a shortcut to boiling water for pasta.

hot-water-5-gallon-bucket

Hot tap water is the ultimate modern luxury, but you can’t always count on it being there. Your hot water might vanish during a water boiler breakdown, plumbing trouble, a natural disaster, or even something as mundane as going camping.

With an efficient 5 gallon hot water system in place, you’ll never have to go without. Continue reading “Water Boiler” »

Autumn Leaves Scoop

I’m distressed to admit that summer must finally be over as the trees drop their leaves in preparation for their winter hibernation.

As you scoop those raked piles of leaves into bags, consider how much easier it would be with a square bucket for a scoop! Drag it along the ground to scoop up five gallons of leaves in about two seconds.

fall-leaves-bin

From there it can go into a larger bin, or better yet a compost pile. Never let a good leaf go to waste!

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Sailboat Anchor

Sailboats today are selling for a tiny fraction of the cost of building one, making them both a great deal, and a terrible one. Great because you can buy yourself a place to live for one month’s salary – and terrible because buying the wrong boat, or buying a boat for the wrong reasons, can be the first step in a long road to financial quagmire.

A small percentage of the population actually live aboard sailboats. It’s one of a tiny handful of ways to avoid both paying rent and paying a mortgage. One of the best known full-time liveaboards is fellow blogger Dmitri Orlov anchored in Boston Harbor.

I lived on a 44′ sailboat myself for just over a month in Cadboro Bay, Victoria – an experiment cut short both by bad weather and bad weatherproofing.

cadboro-bay-sailboats

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Firewood Carrier

Fewer people than ever heat their houses with wood through modern winters, which makes wood heat more viable each year. You can now find large quantities of wood for cheap or free, and you couldn’t ask for a cozier heat.

Like any heating method, it has its drawbacks. In addition to the extra work needed to obtain large chunks of wood, then chop it down into smaller pieces, it’s heavy and takes up an immense amount of space.

firewood carrier and wood pile

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Grocery Bag Trash Can

Tell me if this makes sense. Most people buy a lot of one sort of bag (garbage bags) while simultaneously throwing out lots of another kind of bag (grocery bags.)

Despite our best efforts to take reusable cloth bags and backpacks with us to the grocery store, we still somehow manage to end up with way too many plastic grocery bags than we can possibly use.

If this sounds like a problem you might be familiar with, then this is the solution.

grocery bag trash can

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Flour Container

Faced with a severe shortage of kitchen space in our new Vancouver apartment, we had to find a good way to keep large portions of flour tucked away taking up minimal space.

The solution as always was to stuff everything into buckets.

flour-containers

I scored these 2.5 gallon buckets from the Safeway deli. They are a matching pair, both with lids. Visit our Free Buckets article for a list of places to get free buckets.

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Grain Thresher

When wheat, barley, or other grains are harvested, the grain must be separated from the rest of the plant before it can be used to make flour. This separation is called threshing. In the agriculture of today, threshing is done with massive machines called combines.

As you probably have figured out by now, you can make your own ultra-cheap thresher with a 5 gallon bucket.

wheat-kernals-in-hand

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Solar Hot Water Heater

Heating water is probably one of the biggest line items on your energy bill. The average American family of 4 in 2012 spent between $250 and $550 that year to heat hot water. A cleverly designed solar hot water system can eliminate 50% to 100% of that cost, depending on usage.

DIY Solar Hot Water Heater

This is the “gateway drug” for heating water with the sun. You can build it yourself, in an afternoon, with 20$ in supplies. After you prove to yourself that indeed this solar hot water thing isn’t snake oil, you can move on to more advanced solar hot water systems.

diy solar water heater

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DIY Biodiesel

Few things make more sense in the 21st century than biodiesel. Using old french fry oil to power that cube van is good for every single entry of a triple bottom line.

josh_biodiesel_van

Cost of Home Biodiesel

Assuming you can get your hands on a source free oil, which is getting harder but still very possible, you can run a diesel engine for 58 cents a gallon. The most common outlets for a source of free used oil are fast food establishments and oriental restaurants.  Continue reading “DIY Biodiesel” »

Bucket Carrier

If you’re an experienced bucket wrangler you’ve probably at some point become dissatisfied with the stock carrying mechanism that comes with most buckets – its handle.

Fortunately you’ve got options when considering bucket transport. In this bucket carrier guide, I’ll run through just a few of the ways I’ve found to carry 5 gallons of fun around.

Bucket Backpacks

Bucket backpack

Ever noticed that you can squat three times as much weight as you can bench? That’s the same principle behind the bucket backpacks, a rare breed of bucket accessory frequently used by gold prospectors. Continue reading “Bucket Carrier” »

Bucket Seat

Need a chair? Easy. Just flip a 5 gallon bucket upside down and park yourself on top.

It’ll support your weight, but it won’t feel nice. Buckets in the raw weren’t designed to be sat on comfortably, they were designed to be practically indestructible. Buckets have a lot of plastic ridges and seams which like to dig into your butt. It’s fine if you’re just sitting down for a few minutes, but increasingly painful the longer you sit on one.

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