8 Ways to Simplify Tasks With a Bucket

Make a lobster pot If you don’t have a large kettle, boil lobsters in an old metal bucket. Make sure

Make a lobster pot
If you don’t have a large kettle, boil lobsters in an old metal bucket. Make sure to use pot holders and tongs when cooking and removing the lobster. Let the bucket cool before handling it again.

Create a food locker
A tightly sealed 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket is an ideal waterproof (and animal-proof) food locker to bring with you on canoe trips.

Paint high
Avoid messy paint spills when painting on a scaffold or ladder. Put your paint can and brush in a large bucket and use paint-can hooks to hang the bucket and the brush. If the bucket is large enough, you’ll even have room for your paint scraper, putty knife, rags, or other painting tools you may need. A 5-gallon(19-liter) plastic bucket is ideal.

Paint low
Use the lids from 5-gallon (19-liter) plastic buckets as trays for 1-gallon (3.78-liter) cans of paint. The lids act as platforms for the paint cans and are also large enough to hold a paintbrush.

Keep extension cords tangle-free
A 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket can help you keep a long extension cord free of tangles. Just cut or drill a hole near the bottom of the pail, making sure it is large enough for the cord’s pronged end to pass through. Then coil the rest of the cord into the bucket. The cord will come right out when pulled and is easy to coil back in. Plug the ends of the cord together when it’s not in use. You can use the center space to carry tools to a worksite.

Soak your saw
The best way to clean saw blades is to soak them in acetone or turpentine in a shallow pan, with a lid on the pan to contain the fumes. You can make your own shallow pan by cutting the bottom two inches or so off a plastic 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket with a utility knife. The bucket’s lid can serve as the cover. Remember to wear rubber gloves and use a stick to lever out the sharp blades.

Garden in a bucket
Use a 5-gallon (19-liter) plastic bucket as a mini-garden or planter. Use another as a composter for scraps and cuttings. Bucket gardens are just the right size for apartment balconies.

Make a Christmas tree stand
Fill a bucket partway with sand or gravel and insert the base of the tree in it. Then fill it the rest of the way and pour water on the sand or gravel to help keep the tree from drying out.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest