The joy of buckets

This is no joke. A collection of salvaged buckets is priceless around the home. Priceless, I say!

Once again I might sound demented to you, but I swear it’s true. A collection of buckets can save your bacon in any number of ways. Is the lowly bucket the little black dress of home décor? No, in theory, one LBD is all you need. A bucket collection is more like black shoes – you can never have too many. Big buckets, little buckets, buckets with holes, advertising buckets, enamel and wood buckets. They’re all useful. Swear to the God of Home Furnishings.


At this point some examples are in order (’cause I truly doubt you’re with me re: this whole bucket thing). To prove my sanity, here’s a bucket list (snort!):

  1. Buckets as lighting. For the DIYer, buckets make an easy pendant. Enamel buckets will offer a more polished look, but don’t shy away from the rusty buckets. They need love too, and provide a distinctive look. And remember, matching is not necessary!
  2. Buckets for flowers. Do you find vases to be pointless, or perhaps just rather fussy? Between little buckets, skinny buckets, whatever, you’ll never need a vase again.
  3. Buckets for potted plants. I’m lazy and never pull clay pots inside for winter. The clay pots freeze and crack and I vow to never be lazy again. You can guess how that turns out, so I’m a convert to metal buckets for flowers. They don’t freeze and crack. Imagine that. Drainage holes are easy to add to an old bucket, and then they look as cool as the photo above. (Yes, that bucket is usually crooked. I like crooked.)
  4. Storage 1. An upright bucket holds shoes by the door, cleaning supplies, yard tools, magazines. Why not have a bucket by the door for each family member?
  5. Storage 2. Flip that bucket on its side. How about this look for a mudroom? For towels in the bathroom? A craft room, play room?
  6. Garbage or recycling. Why do we buy plastic or metal containers for trash bins when there are so many cool buckets available? I used the All bucket in the photo below to hold recycling (cans and bottles) during a recent party.
  7. Ice bucket! While my buckets have served this role, I want to try this hanging ice bucket look. Should be easy as pie with an S-hook.


There are more bucket uses, but I prefer to stop on a prime number. Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas – and please, don’t buy a plastic trash can ever again. Instead, go ahead and accumulate a pile of vintage buckets. They’re easy to store, and if you pay flea market prices, a large collection will have little impact on your wallet. It will, however, have an impact on your cool factor. Just sayin’.

Portlander Nancy Ranchel is a self-described accountant, design fan, serial re-modeler, compulsive re-user and blog writer.