Asked on Mar 09, 2015

Upcycle ideas for 40 lb cat litter buckets

by Jodi
I have several that we use for pop cans to be crushed and tools I have hidden in a closet. What other uses can people come up with? I'm winding up with lots of these buckets! Not sure if they are food grade or not.
  81 answers
  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Mar 09, 2015
    Since they don't sit flat, as evidenced by the cutouts on the bottom edge, I would use them for container gardening in the summertime. Right now we use 5-gallon sheetrock mud buckets, but we have to cut ridges in the bottom so they can drain. Then, we cut about 3 or 4 1-inch holes in the bottom for thorough drainage. We've had fantastic luck with tomatoes of several varieties, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and eggplant. When the season's over, we simply dump the spent plants and soil, wash out the buckets and store them, upside down, in the garage awaiting the next year's planting.
  • Jamie P Jamie P on Mar 09, 2015
    Spray paint , lay on side so top flips up or down which ever works. Use as storage for sports equipment, extra linens, craft items, garden supplies, dog toys, cat toys. Alternately, I'm thinking to use them stacked and turned to create a cat play fort... Stacking storage, garden pots, use as building blocks on a preschool playground...
  • Grady Grady on Mar 09, 2015
    My mom uses them to collect needles and pine cones and other stuff. Try that.
  • Stp1309848 Stp1309848 on Mar 09, 2015
    I use them for different kinds of storage for sports equipment, mainly throwing materials: to keep mice & moisture out of my bean bags to store & easily transport homemade 'sock balls' made from socks and electrical tape - - plus I paint each bucket to match the colors for easy put away to store & transport whiffle balls, again paint to match colors
    • See 3 previous
    • Stp1309848 Stp1309848 on Mar 09, 2015
      Well, it's Father Dan! I stopped in to visit in October, loved the area. Feels the same as our small town in NH.
  • Name Name on Mar 09, 2015
    I carry one along with me when I am outside to pick up weeds, yard debris, etc. I also have one that I use as a little side-table when I'm working outside and want to keep my water and phone near me. I guess I'd better decorate them. Great ideas here!
    • Jodi Jodi on Mar 09, 2015
      @Name Both you ideas are great! Better to grab one of these than lug the wheel barrel around the gardens.
  • Deborah Tucker Deborah Tucker on Mar 09, 2015
    We use ours in our 5th wheel camper. We put charcoal in them and on top the cleaning brush and lighter. We used one for our jacks to jack up the camper in case of flat. We used another for bulky tools for the truck bed. No water gets in. They are great for grass seed, salt, weed killer, etc. The stack on top of each other in the garage and used a black sharpie to mark what is inside.
    • See 1 previous
    • Familyfound Familyfound on Mar 20, 2017

      Make sure you poke a few air holes in the sides so the bulbs can breathe...that way they won't rot, if you are going to keep seeds in them, add some paper towels or newspaper to draw up any moisture from them!

  • Sandi McQuirk-Linus Sandi McQuirk-Linus on Mar 09, 2015
    Our pet store lets us bring the empties back to the store and have them refilled at a discount. I love that!
    • Jodi Jodi on Mar 09, 2015
      @Sandi McQuirk-Linus Ours will too however, with coupons and cartwheels, I usually can get this brand for a great price and Target. Typically I get a $10 gift card to boot because I will stock up and spend over $40 on pet products.
  • Becky Becky on Mar 09, 2015
    A mop bucket? My mom uses the one I gave her as a trash can in the back seat of her truck. It fits perfectly in between the 2 seats.
    • Jodi Jodi on Mar 09, 2015
      @Becky I forgot I have one in my mud room that I keep mops and brooms in. I don't use it to mop but it's next to the freezer filled with those things.
  • Barbara Manco Barbara Manco on Mar 09, 2015
    I'd keep salt by the front door in the winter ....but I only have dogs lol.
    • Jodi Jodi on Mar 09, 2015
      @Barbara Manco That's a good idea! We got so much ice in front of the house this year that it was like a skating rink. We could have used a salt truck out there!
  • Rachael Smith Escobar Rachael Smith Escobar on Mar 10, 2015
    I use mine to store pet food in. I don't have ugly bags laying in my pantry floor. Everything is stored in buckets and labled. Keeps pet food dry and everything tidy
    • Rachael Smith Escobar Rachael Smith Escobar on Mar 11, 2015
      I love to repaint them, although I ran out of green paint for this one. It holds my kitty food. I am far from being an artist and my son even tried to help me but I love it anyways!
      comment photo
  • ...I wash them really well, and use very hot water with vinegar to rinse out before drying , and we use for storing the bird seed , another use , ... lined with a heavy plastic bag, use them for cleaning up the dog flops. I have also used them for for storing the salt , as mentioned earlier , and for storing the car cleaning ' stuff". :)
    • Alice Shockley Alice Shockley on Mar 10, 2015
      @Shelby @ The Weathered Barn Studio That's what we use them for too. Dog poo has to go somewhere, so it goes in the bucket and the bucket (or plastic bag if we're reusing the bucket for the next week) goes in the trash.
  • Judy Judy on Mar 10, 2015
    My friend has 13 indoor cats! Needless to say she accumulates bunches of these. She uses them for storage. Mostly for tax records and sticks them in the attic.
  • Jackie Jackie on Mar 10, 2015
    I used paint and stencils to turn mine into a trashcan with lid for the bathroom
  • Rita Hlasney Rita Hlasney on Mar 10, 2015
    There is a you tube idea to plant tomatoes using 2 buckets.. Drilling holes in bottom of top bucket and water in bottom bucket to water the tomatoes.. Think I will try it this summer buying cheap buckets but you already have the buckets.
  • Pam Pam on Mar 10, 2015
    I cleaned mine out and put those 7 years of documents and paid bills in it. You know the ones the IRS wants you to keep. Keeps my file cabinet cleaned out and is easy to store.
  • Marie Marie on Mar 10, 2015
    I decorate the outside and use them to store knitting/crochet projects! They are great for storing any craft projects/supplies.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Mar 10, 2015
    I have one that I use to store car washing stuff, one for a garden bucket and the third is a cat litter container, I purchase the paper bag litter of the same brand and pour it into the bucket, the paper is recyclable.
  • Eglehawk Eglehawk on Mar 10, 2015
    Drill holes in the bottom and grow plants in them. Also good storage for toys.
    • See 1 previous
    • Familyfound Familyfound on Mar 20, 2017

      Spray painting the outside or covering them in something white, will help reduce the evaporation time.

  • Marci Pell Marci Pell on Mar 10, 2015
    filled one with sand (1/2 full) and added some motor oil...mixed it up and use it to clean my garden tools. Cleans and protects them from rust.
  • Peggy Peggy on Mar 11, 2015
    So many good ideas and I use so many of these. I like them to store my mesh in. I have cats so accumulate a lot of these buckets. So glad to see how people use them. Thanks everyone.
  • Deb Titus Deb Titus on Mar 11, 2015
    Think outside the box! Remove the lid and handle, paint them your favorite colour and turn them upside down. Add a pillow to the top and you have extra kid seating for indoors or out. Even better if the stack together!
  • Katrina Hultgren Katrina Hultgren on Mar 12, 2015
    2$ can of spray paint and they will do for just about anything I need them for.
  • Rebecca B Rebecca B on Mar 14, 2015
    I use them to store my hand garden tools in the garden area. I bolted the tub on its side to a 4x4 post and sunk the post into another tub filled with 10inch layer of gravel and filled with potting soil. I then planted flowers in the lower tub. I painted the top tub and post with bright colors. The lid flips up so I can store my hand tools, seeds, and whatever else I want to have handy in the garden.
    • Debbie Debbie on Dec 21, 2015
      @Rebecca B I would love to see a picture of this!! Sounds awesome!
  • June Novakowski June Novakowski on Mar 15, 2015
    I use 1 to store my roles of wrapping paper in, also small gift bags. I painted one & my Grandkids keep smll toys in them. I also take 1 around with me when working in the yard for weeds, rocks, debrie
  • Kim Kim on Mar 20, 2015
    Everyone has such wonderful ideas. I have stored cat toys, garden tools and cat food in them. I have used it as a bucket when washing floors. They stack so they are wonderful for things you need but not everyday. Like June I have used it for weeding the lawn. I never thought to paint them. I must try that with a can of Krylon spray.
  • Dorma Dorma on Mar 21, 2015
    If you use these for storage, do so in a rodent free space. A really determined mouse chewed through one that was sitting on my back porch!
  • Jeannette Jeannette on Mar 21, 2015
    I use my for Wild birdseed.
  • Genie hall Genie hall on Apr 11, 2015
    I have one with rock salt in it for icy areas and also put potting soil in one.
  • Brenda Adams Brenda Adams on May 01, 2015
    I clean houses and these are the perfect size to put all my cleaning products in to carry to my customer's homes. Even filled it's not to heavy.
  • Carmen Lee Carmen Lee on May 26, 2015
    I store books I am keeping that I don"t have room for in shelves. I also store craft odds and ends in them.
  • Gail Gail on May 30, 2015
    Sorry to say I didn't read all the above great ideas. Around my area north of Buffalo, NY we lose a lot of mailboxes from the plows in the winter. I saw where someone down the road a way put one on the mailbox post I think it looks like they bolted the flag on the side to raise and lower for mail and a button to pull the one part open. Guess what, it made it all winter,(probably because of the colors) now I have to see if they have replaced it.
  • Susan  M Jensen Susan M Jensen on May 31, 2015
    I use for Bird seed, other seed for yard, Special mixed dirt. Will use for Tools in Yard after I Paint etc. Wonder after I decorate by Mail Box for Pkg?? Could work??
  • Maxine Davidson-Tompkins Maxine Davidson-Tompkins on May 31, 2015
    I removed all print from the outside & then decoupaged the outside with pictures of toys. I then padded the lid with foam, covered with fabric & had a toy bucket complete with a handle for my Granddaughter to store her toys & drag around with her. My granddaughter is now 26 & her daughter is now using the toy bucket. She also sits on the padded top!!
  • Leigh Karchner Leigh Karchner on Jun 01, 2015
    Besides storing kitty litter to keep moisture out, 1) we also keep our dry kitty food in one so our cats and other crawling critters stay out of it. The snap-tight lid keeps our older male out (he's too smart for closets and cabinets). 2) We also keep of stack of them in our garage to cover small plants in winter to protect them from frost. Just remove the lid and turn them upside down over the plants. They are heavy enough that the wind doesn't blow them away and act as a greenhouse to keep the plant's heat in on chilly nights. 3) Keep a few around your garage or in your tools shed for keeping small items dry and organized. We keep bagged insecticides, grass seed, fertilizers, etc. in the buckets to keep moisture out. We leave the items in their original bags with directions for easy reference. The buckets are also great for storing smaller garden hoses, sprinkler heads, and other warm-weather items during winter months. 4) Keep a couple handy when you're working in your flowers or garden. Use one to transport small gardening tools, gloves, twine/string, stakes, etc. and the other bucket for collecting weeds and debris that doesn't require raking. The handles make these easy for transport.
  • Sandi McQuirk-Linus Sandi McQuirk-Linus on Jun 02, 2015
    There are some great ideas here for reusing and recycling. However, if you recycle to cut down on the disposal of plastics into landfills, the idea is to not keep buying products sold in plastic. We have used the same bucket for two years now. When we got our two cats, I bought an under-the-bed storage box on wheels for a litter box. We keep litter at four inches deep in this box. That way, urine doesn't get to the bottom of the box and turn into a sticky mess. We scoop about every two-three days and refill the box to keep it at four inches. We found a pet store that sells in bulk and lets you bring the same bucket back to refill.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sharise Briggs Sharise Briggs on Mar 26, 2016
      @Sandi McQuirk-Linus Some ppl like their brand, they way it works for them, and dont have a choice but to buy the containers over and over. Personally, I have dealt with a lot of cats and rabbits using litterboxes, had a rescue, I only use Tidy Cats, in the plastic container the bag version does not work nearly as well. I feel ok in my decision to keep buying the plastic, it is not going anywhere near a landfill or recycling center, Mine are used for a number of things around the house, over and over. And I also share my ideas with others who will then re use them, and not recycle the plastic.
  • Kristi Crouch Kristi Crouch on Jun 02, 2015
    Thanks everyone, you've given me some awesome ideas. I run a cat shelter & have LOTS of these buckets
  • Brenda Wells Brenda Wells on Jul 24, 2015
    Yes the are food grade. If you have too many offer them on a free site as Recycle or a Face book site. Homesteaders and preppers love free buckets for storage and planters. They will not go to waste.
  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Aug 04, 2015
    We do not have a place to buy bulk scoopable litter, so keep buying buckets, we give them to the recycling center and the construction guys take them to keep tools and hardware, some even put a tool belt around them to keep tools handy on the outside. We made a kitty litter box from an old plastic storage tub with lid, cut out a hole in the front several inches from floor and leave lid on, kitties love it.
  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Aug 04, 2015
    We use them in the backyard to store sand, rocks, extra mulch to keep them dry and easy to carry for use.
  • Fuzzy Bottom Fuzzy Bottom on Dec 20, 2015
    I use a bucket outside for wild bird seed that comes in bags. Also make nice trash cans for beside the bed (spray paint to match room color). I have one each for the bathroom cleaners (built in mop bucket), the living/family rooms, kitchen and laundry. Sorting all the different cleaners into each room's bucket. Compost bucket, dirt hauling, small garden tools. Seasonal baking pans. My garage looks like a cat litter haven...
  • Betty-Ellen Betty-Ellen on Dec 24, 2015
    They are great for organizing your garage. You can store all sorts of stuff in them from outdoor christmas lights to cat food. lol They look nice ro because all storage is the same size and color.
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Dec 27, 2015
    Christmas decorations.
  • Grady Grady on Jan 12, 2016
    Christmas decorations sounds cool.
  • William William on Mar 23, 2016
    Portable extension cord holder. Drill a large hole on the side close to the bottom. Slip the plug end of a long extension cord thru the hole about a foot from the inside out. Coil the rest of the cord inside the bucket. Label the bucket with the length of the cord and take it with you where you need to use it.
  • Laura Canterbury Groves Laura Canterbury Groves on Mar 24, 2016
    had left over contact type paper to cover mine up pretty and set it beside my my coffee/tea center in the floor to collect for compost. Very handy.
  • Sharise Briggs Sharise Briggs on Mar 26, 2016
    1)wash really good and put dry kibbles for the critters, bird seed, 2)clothing (whatever is not in season gets rolled and put in with a dryer sheet) 3)fabric and swatches I wont be using for a bit 4) tile waiting to be used 5)"junk drawers" extension cords or other bulky items, 6) collectibles I dont want to have out at the moment, 7) small recyclable items 8) books 9)helping you move!!! oh yeah. I take a large piece of paper with a thick marker and label what it is and tape it to the outside front... Love my tidy cats!!! =)
  • Kat Kat on Mar 27, 2016
    clean really good and dry first; store tools; cords, christmas lights/garland; plastic flowers; rags;emergency buckets for water (flush commodes etc when power goes out); dirt or use for mixing dirt/fertilizer; storing garden stuff in; collecting seashells (til u decide what to do with them all!); animal toys; paint or cover with contact paper - stack however you want them - then either glue or screw them together (instant storage bins); or do above (standing up) and put plexiglass on top for table
  • Kris Kris on Nov 09, 2016
    My creative son repurposed it to use in his kayak to stores his fishing tackle. He used bungy cords to hold it in place. Works great!
  • Lois Vrns Lois Vrns on Nov 09, 2016
    I have been reusing mine for the "used" litter to be dumped on garbage day. I have also switched to a boxed or paper bag litter to further reduce the amount of plastic.
  • Chr4787838 Chr4787838 on Nov 28, 2016

    I use mine to store potting soil, sidewalk salt, have several filled with the stuff that will be moved downstairs when I move my bedroom downstairs at my doctor's suggestion. Next spring we are planning on replacing the front porch and building some furniture out of reclaimed lumber so a couple will be the bases for tables.

  • Lyn Buerger Lyn Buerger on Dec 13, 2016

    GROW BUCKETS. Line them up and plant your garden. Easy to care for and easy to control bugs and you get fresh produce. When the growing season is over ....easy to store and get out next year. Send me fresh tomatoes ...thanks.

    I use 5 gal buckets.

  • None None on Dec 13, 2016

    I have been getting so many great ideas for these. We recently got fish so I use one for holding nets and gravel vacs and another for putting the decorations in to soak while I vacuum tank and do water changes.

  • Jane Soper Blancher Jane Soper Blancher on Dec 14, 2016

    I use one for fish accessories too!

  • Chr4787838 Chr4787838 on Dec 14, 2016

    Many great uses for these buckets and they are essentially five gallon just square and they stack perfectly . Just be sure to stack heavier on bottom to lightest on top until the top is approximately you height. Then t stack next stack right beside . In my closet I have a row 3 high by 4 wide . Next row is 4by4. Then clothes rod. Be sure to label as to contents on top and on at least front facing side. Perfect storage with added bonus of a handle.

  • Wal13132785 Wal13132785 on Jan 09, 2017

    I use 2 of mine after I washed & dried them for extra storage for toilet tissue & laundry soap.

  • Ruidoso Ruidoso on Jan 14, 2017

    We drill holes in our to use as dry composting containers!

  • Patty Patty on Jan 15, 2017

    I use mine for kitchen compost,and it holds a lot,so not as many trips to the compost pile. Also used to store bird food.

  • Ant11605640 Ant11605640 on Jan 16, 2017

    I have 4 of these they are great for storing dry dog food I buy the large bag and it fits perfectly in 2 of them. Just be sure to wash out good with hot soapy water before storing the dog food in them.

  • Kay Kay on Jan 18, 2017

    I use for pre soaking, I can close the top while it's working

  • Sarah Sarah on Jan 24, 2017

    I use them to grow potatoes in. It makes it really easy to bring them in if we get a late frost or a ton of rain. They also work for an apartment sized red worm compost bin. I have a big fish tank and use them to put the dirty water in when I change it. The lid snaps tight so I don't spill dirty water on floor when moving it. Lastly, I live in an apartment and have a health issue that requires me to use a lot of nonhazardous medical supplies including a bunch of IV saline(sterile salt water)syringes. Even though there are no narcotics, the last thing I need is some druggie to see a bunch of syringes and IV supplies through a trash bag and decide to pay an unfriendly visit. So, once the yellow bucket is 3/4 of the way full, I empty the litter box on top, close it, and put it in the dumpster.

  • Peggy Peggy on Jan 25, 2017

    These buckets are so useful for so many things. I craft some and they are great for keeping craft supplies sorted, great for storing Christmas ornaments and the list goes on.

  • Tammy Mccullars Tammy Mccullars on Feb 01, 2017

    FOR bird seed ,put charcoal keep it dry.,plant seeds,and a fishing bucket

  • Elizabeth Dion Elizabeth Dion on Feb 01, 2017

    Drill holes for drainage in the bottom and use them for planting herbs and veggies in.

  • Melanie Melanie on Feb 04, 2017

    Storage bins. Tiedying tubs options r endless

  • Dawn Adams Dawn Adams on Mar 17, 2017

    Simple. REUSE them for LITTER. Go to local pet supply, buy best quality in bulk bags, return home, fill old plastic bins.

    Cheaper, easier on the poor environment, less clutter of 'things in bins'. Win Win.

  • May Hinojosa May Hinojosa on Mar 17, 2017

    We use ours for yard trash and ice melt.

  • Mkl Mkl on Mar 19, 2017

    We use them for bird seed, opened bags of perlite potting soil etc, as a cleaning bucket , to ice a small amount of drinks , to collect rain water, as a seat when I garden, for gathering weeds for the compost pile, a place to put my hand tools when I garden.

  • Patricia phillips Patricia phillips on Mar 20, 2017

    Have not read any of the 37 replies, but I give mine to a garden centre who are happy to take them

  • Kathy Kathy on Aug 19, 2017

    I use one for a trash when I take the kids out. To the pool or park picnics.

  • Tess Mora Tess Mora on Feb 01, 2020

    I use them to redye my black jeans. Fill up with water, add dye mix well, add damp clothing pushing out all air bubbles. Then I place a large plate with a rock to keep submerged and close it up for 24 hours. New black jeans again!

  • Frane Sosic Frane Sosic on Oct 13, 2020

    If you have extra buckets I'll gladly take them off your hands for use in gold prospecting applications. Round buckets are far less space efficient and pose transportation issues...

  • Janice Janice on Nov 30, 2022

    Use for storage on your could decorate them by painting designs on them, color block paint them, etc. Add a pillow for patio seating and moisture free storage combo.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 30, 2022

    Use in a garage to store Paint Oil etc. Use to put items in to donate to he Thrift Store or aNIMAL cHARITY ETC. uSE FOR kNITTING OR IOTHER CRAFTS. uSE FOR kITCHEN WASTE YOU WISH TO COMPOST....

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 05, 2022

    We haul wood in them.

    Store sprinklers in them.

    Painted a few, removed the handle and turned them over to make outdoor foot stools.

  • I've seen them stacked/attached and used for cat beds.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 17, 2023

    Screw them together and make furniture for children etc.

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Aug 17, 2023

    LOTS of uses:

    I have cupboards in my sewing room with room on the top... I put packing peanuts, large bubble wrap, small bubble wrap, grocery bags, batting scraps in these buckets, keeps stuff clean and accessible, but up out of the way.

    I have seen these used a laying bins for chickens, just remove the large half of the lid and drill 1 or2 drain holes in case you need to wash them out.

    My husband uses these in his garage to collect sawdust, to store regular (non clumping) cat litter to soak up oil, to store cleaning towels and rags, small wood scraps... etc.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 17, 2023

    There are so many suggestions here that I can only think of 1 to add...Cut a wide slit in the top and use to dispense trash bags. I buy mine in the large box and if I take them out, they roll all over. If I leave them in, the box falls apart. So I put in a similar container and pull one at a time out through the slit.

  • Betsy Betsy on Aug 22, 2023

    Hi Jodi: I have a few and I wrapped sisal rope around the entire thing and made patio planters out of them. I planted herbs and 'determinate' tomatoes. Determinate means that the plants will grow short and bushy, whereas the 'indeterminate' ones will grow tall and need to be staked. You can also plant flowers, etc., or turn them upside down and use them as end tables outside :)