20 Awesome Uses for 5 Gallon Buckets

Last Updated: July 31, 2022

5-Gallon Buckets For FREE! A great way for the resourceful prepper to obtain some useful buckets.

The 5-gallon bucket has such a wide variety of uses and is truly durable to boot. We bring fish home, use it as a trash can for debris and plant trimmings, and store dry goods. Finding them is a secret we’re going to share with you today, on your way to sustainable living.

Where can you find free 5-gallon buckets?

There are a number of stores with a constant supply of plastic buckets they’re just throwing away. Here are a few you can ask around at, to find yourself a useful new addition to your prepping container collection.

Grocery Stores, Markets, and Stores
Fast Food Restaurants
Sam’s ClubChick-Fil-A
SafewayDunkin’ Donuts
Walmart’s bakery departmentWendy’s
Kroger’s bakery departmentTim Hortons
Meijer’s bakery departmentTaco Bell
RiteaidPizza Hut
Whole FoodsMcdonald’s

There won’t always be stores willing to part ways with their buckets, and you don’t really want to go dumpster diving all the time. If you can’t find any buckets, start a painting project, and you’ve got one bucket that’s essentially new and ready to go. If you see construction sites where trash and waste are in public waste areas, they’re up for grabs.

The 5-gallon bucket is either free from the way you’ve found it, or it’s about $15 dollars you’ll save when buying anything contained in one.

When you can get something for free or save your funds, it’s smart.

Usable for years on a farm, at a normal home, or even as a toilet in a bunker, American Patriot Survivalist has outlined a few wonderful ways for the prepper to use some dependable containers.

Ways to Use 5-Gallon Buckets

DIY Home Gardens – Fill your buckets with soil and grow your own vegetables in them. If you don’t have a lot of space, this is a great way to get a garden going. The metal handle on most paint buckets enables you to hang your creations.


Rice Grower – Grow your own rice in a bucket.


Mushroom Grower – Use these buckets to grow your own mushrooms. Mushrooms grow incredibly quickly.


Soap-Making Basin – Make your own liquid soap.


Portable Shower – All you need is a hose and a shower head to make a DIY shower out of a 5-gallon bucket. This can be perfect for showering when you don’t have any access to water.

The “5 Gallon Bucket” PVC Camp Shower

Storage – Since they can stack easily, your organization could look like…


Transporting Things – Used, cleaned paint buckets in good condition are airtight, waterproof, and structurally durable. Anything that’s a liquid, smelly, or “sloshy”, this is a great container to transport what you need.

Buckets go here.

Composting Toilet – A 5-gallon bucket toilet actually works. Human waste is a daily occurrence and it will need to be dealt with. These buckets make the transfer of waste easier, cleaner, and more sanitary.


Laundry Basin – If camping or away from a laundry machine, washing your clothes in a bucket makes perfect sense, and holds all of your water and soap for you to scrub away at your prepper gear.


Seating – Turned over, buckets make perfect DIY stools and seats.

Man sitting on a Home Depot bucket

Lighting – Stick a light in there and you have an immediate Halloween Decoration.

Drink Cooler – Replace that tiny cooler, and drop your cold beverages into your newly reappropriated bucket!


Chicken Feeder/Waterer – with some simple modifications (cutting holes and adding PVC piping), you have a chicken feeder! Place them on their sides with some framing, and you have a chicken coup!

Chicken feeder from a bucket
Chicken coup made from buckets

Tree Waterers – Catch excess water or fill your buckets with a reduced rate of flow from holes on the bottom, and you have an automated, slow-drip watering system.

Air Conditioner – stick a fan, some ice, and some water in a bucket; turn on, and presto! AC!


Tiny Homes – Like legos, you can find ways to stack your plastic buckets for temporary housing.


Beehive – Mount upside down on a post and create an opening for bees to create their hive.


Deer Feeder – attract deer by setting up deer feed for easy access.


Backpack – With the backpack attachment, you can carry any cylinder in the shape of a bucket, even coolers.

After You’re Done with Your Bucket Set Up…

Make Drums with Your Bucket!

Lastly, you can play music on your drums to high heaven in the solitude and privacy of wherever you have chosen as your natural domain.

“Always Be Ready” Max

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