We use a lot of 5 gallon buckets here around the homestead, and we are always coming up with ideas we need more buckets for! Buckets of any size and shape are always good on the homestead, but here are a few inventive ways we’ve used our 5 gallon buckets:
1. Salting and storing salmon (post found here)
We don’t have a fridge out here so we tried salting salmon to preserve it. We cleaned them, salted them and hung them to dry before salting them again and storing them in 5 gallon buckets. You have to re-hydrate and soak out the salt before using the salmon, but it works!
2. Hauling water
We get our water from the creek as we have no well on our property, so we often use 5 gallon buckets to haul it the half mile back to our homestead. And speaking of water…
3. Water Filter
I built us several water filters out of 5 and 7 gallon buckets. They are gravity fed so they don’t require electricity. I have a written a DIY how-to here if you are interested in building your own!
4. Storing Animal Feed
We store our dog food in the house in 5 gallon buckets, otherwise our dog Link will eat himself sick getting into the dog food bag. We also store our rabbit food in 5 gallon buckets.
5. Canned Food Storage
When we canned all of our salmon (post here) we didn’t yet have anywhere to store the jars, so we stacked all 44 pints in two 5 gallon buckets outside. We didn’t have the addition yet, so we didn’t have space for them inside.
6. Rock Hunting
Yup! We take a 5 gallon bucket out when we go searching for spirit stones (post here). Not that we’ve ever found enough to fill the bucket, but we can hope right?!
7. Slop Bucket
We don’t have plumbing in the cabin (yet!), so any dish water, rinse water or liquids that need tossed go into a slop bucket. Then when it gets full we take it outside and dump it in the outhouse. That way we aren’t letting in cold in the winter and mosquitoes in the summer every time we need to dump something out.
8. Laundry Basket
We also us a 5 gallon bucket as a laundry basket. Homesteading is dirty sweaty work, and having a laundry basket with a lid is a must in a >300 sq ft cabin. We also have a separate bucket for cloth diapers that need washing.
9. 4 Wheeler Storage/Hauling
Our property access is mostly by 4 wheeler and 5 gallon buckets make perfect totes for strapping to the wheeler and hauling things in. We tried using other totes, but the plastic was to thin and strapping them down broke them.
We have enough blueberry bushes on property that it’s worth taking 5 gallon buckets out to forage. There are crow berries, cranberries, fiddle heads, mushrooms, spruce tips and birch sap to be collected here that we’ve found as well.
Bonus: 11. 5 gallon buckets make great emergency toilets, like this luggable loo!
I also have a few more projects planned for the coming year that will use 5 gallon buckets, like building a chicken watering system and hauling ocean water to make some salt. What do you use 5 gallon buckets for?