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20 Ways to Re-use Kitty Litter Buckets

When I grow up I might be a crazy cat lady. Or maybe not. I currently have two house cats plus Bullet who comes and goes as he pleases (I make him stay inside at night). I also have a couple of barn cats.

Having indoor cats means I use cat litter. Bucketfuls of cat litter. I like the brand that comes in the sturdy yellow buckets. But when the bucket is empty, you have to do something with it to make room for the next bucket. Fortunately they are easy to re-use for other purposes.

If you don't have house cats, I bet you know someone who does. You might even want to ask for their empty buckets or jugs so you can try some of these ideas.

Litter Buckets

1. Livestock triage kit - I keep a limited first aid kit in the horse barn which holds vet wrap, scissors, rolled cotton, a thermometer, and leg wraps. (I keep bottles and jars of liniment and wound care products in the house so the contents aren't exposed to freezing temperatures or extreme heat.)

2. Kidding kit - this bucket holds all the supplies I might need during kidding season.

3. Container for plants - I asked hubby to drill holes in the bottom of half a dozen buckets so I could plant in them. With the lids removed, they make great upcycled tomato and pepper plant containers. He drilled the holes along the bottom edge of the sides of the buckets so the water could drain more easily.

4. I store extra potting soil in a bucket. I currently have another that is almost full of "hay seed". We had a round bale that was very nice quality hay but had a lot of seeds in it Every morning the wheelbarrow had a good quantity of seeds eft in the bottom so I collected them in a bucket and will broadcast them by hand in the next week or so in the hayfield. Why not?

5. Harvest time - I fill buckets with plums, apples, blackberries and veggies when it's time to harvest. The buckets have handles so it's easy to carry them around. For short term storage I put the filled buckets in our spare room with the air conditioning vent wide open. If we had a basement, I'd use that instead.

6. Seat - an upside down bucket is a good spot to sit while working in the garden. (They are sturdier if you sit on the bottom instead of the top.) I keep my garden tools and gloves in this bucket too.

7. Pet food storage - for dog or cat food.

8. Birdseed storage - I love feeding the songbirds and have two big feeders in the yard. Half a bag of birdseed will fill both feeders, but I don't like to store the rest of the birdseed in the bag where mice can get into it.

9. Goat minerals - I buy goat minerals by the bag, so I pour it all into a bucket for storage.

10. Water bucket - I keep a bucket filled with water in the yard for the dogs to drink.

11. Holding place for screws, bolts, tools, etc. - when we dismantled a big metal shed in return for the materials, we took two buckets with us to hold the screws and other hardware as we removed them. The buckets are much more convenient than the zipper bags we used to use. We also took one along when we bought a used swingset.

12. Projects - hubby uses them to carry and hold tools he's using on a current project.

13. Nest boxes in the chicken coop - this is one of my favorite uses. They are the perfect size and my hens love them. I take off the flap top but leave the edge to help keep the straw and shavings in the bucket. They're easy to clean when needed.

14. Miscellaneous storage - I have several buckets that hold the work gloves and rubber boots that our daughter and her husband use when they visit.

15. Winter wear - another bucket holds all of our scarves, mittens, winter work gloves, and so on that need to be stored over the summer.

16. Small toys such as Legos and blocks - when our youngest daughter was little she loved to play with Happy Meal® toys and Disney figures. She had quite a collection that outgrew every container we had until we gave them a bucket. The toys were lightweight and she could carry the bucket around by the handle.

Litter Jugs

17. I have several of these smaller litter containers hanging around too. I love these jugs for hauling water to the chickens, or for carrying hot water from the house to water troughs when needed in the winter.

18. Chick grower feed in a jug can be kept right next to the brooder.

19. Cutting the top off of the jugs yields a container for toys, necessities in the car, and more.

20. I use a jug to mix fly spray concentrate to refill the spray bottles for the horses. I keep it in the horse trailer and label it well for safety.

Painting Your Buckets

If you wish, you can paint the buckets with Krylon Fusion® spray paint for plastic, then decorate with acrylic paint. I used white paint on the buckets I used as plant containers and had to apply several coats to cover the logo, so a darker color might be a better choice. I've read that you can use methyl ethyl keytone (Butanone) to remove the printed label, but I haven't tried it. Actually I hadn't heard of the product before, so I looked it up - it's quite expensive in my opinion so painting is a better option for me.

Using chalkboard paint would allow you to label the buckets; I just use duct tape instead. Contact paper is another good option for covering up the printing on the buckets if that's important to you.

What would you store in cat litter buckets?

Related posts:
How to Grow Potatoes in Buckets
Start a Container Garden
Our Almost-Free Recycled Shed

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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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