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 kit

Image Credit: SafetyKitStore.com

A well designed emergency kit will contain the best bits of modern technology and healthcare packaged neatly in a carryable 5 gallon bucket. Continue reading

Chicken Egg Washer

Back yard chickens are phenomenal – feed them waste from their kitchen and they in turn feed you fresh eggs daily. But when you catch the “chicken bug” in a big way, you’ll end up with so many eggs that just washing them turns into an hour long chore.

A bucket based egg washer is ideal for someone who washes several dozen at a time. The egg washer we built for this article will fit 70 of the golden-centered orbs at a time.

The basic premise is simple – air is blown through holes in a submerged pipe resting at the bottom of a standard bucket. The air flows upward through the bucket in the form of bubbles, which agitate the dirt off the eggs.
bucket-egg-washer The commercial version of this egg washer pictured above sells for a burly $135 on Amazon. The DIY version we built below cost us about 30$ in parts.

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Plant Carrier

We’re kicking off this year’s growing season with some five gallon plant ideas.

I’m not a seed wizard so I have to buy miniature versions of my plants and try to keep them alive as they grow bigger. The first challenge in their new lives is to survive the trip home on the bike. Fortunately for these assorted kitchen herbs, I’m well stocked with hard-walled buckets perfectly suited for protecting them from getting squashed to death.


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Recycling Bin

If you’ve ever had problems with recycle bin thieves, or just don’t have the room to keep one, it can be smart to use instead a fabulous free 5 gallon bucket or two. Just make sure that when you leave your bucket recycling bin at the curb your friendly pickup people don’t throw the bin in with everything else! recycling-bin Continue reading

Hand Cart

A full 5 gallon bucket weighs 40 pounds. Sometimes that’s too much to carry on foot. Fortunately, there’s a bucket invention for every problem you can think of.

hand cart

This is the 5 gallon bucket hand cart. It turns any 5 gallon bucket into a mobile cargo hauler with a convenient tow bar.

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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 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

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.


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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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Toilet Paper Container

Old empty plastic Folgers buckets are one of my favorites. They’re light, yet durable. The easy-to-apply lid is also airtight. They even have little grips meant for the human hand.

With a little slit cut it one, you can make a genius toilet paper dispenser. It’s the perfect unit to take camping.


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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.


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.


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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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Standing Desk

Standing desks are quickly gaining popularity because they address many of the health concerns brought on by the modern computer desk lifestyle. This article is about the bucket built standing desk which I’ve designed that anyone can built quickly and try out.


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