by Deann Curtis
Our family eats lots of ice cream in the summer. Well, O.K., you got me. We eat ice cream all year long. We usually serve it up in ice cream cones so that the children can eat it on the run. But that really isn't the point of this article. I am writing to share some ideas with you for reusing a 5 quart bucket.
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Yes, that's right, 5 quarts. I did mention I have six children, didn't I? I hope you like these ideas for the bucket. But more than that, I hope to give you inspiration to reuse other items that you normally throw away.
1. Store small toys in them. These buckets are great for LEGOs, match box cars, beads, Barbie clothes and baby rattles.
2. Use one to store leftover veggies in the freezer until you get enough to make a wonderful veggie soup. You can also add chopped meat, broth, rice or pasta and herbs.
3. Make one into an art kit. Put in color crayons, colored pencils, small pads of drawing and writing paper, erasers, a small ruler and a pair of scissors.
4. Take a picnic to the park. You could pack a lunch for about three people in one. So if you have more than three you will probably need more than one bucket. Just pack in a sandwich, some fruit and a treat. Remember to pack a jug for drinks too.
5. Save a few and use them as Easter baskets for your children.
6. Decorate one up as a gift bag. Just put in some crumpled up tissue paper or comics from the Sunday newspaper and tie some curling ribbon to the handle. Slip your gift in and you have a great package.
7. Use the lid as a Frisbee type toy. Take a few when you go to the park and let the kids have a good time. You won't even mind if they loose one.
8. Fill up some with water and keep them in the freezer. This helps keep the freezer colder, especially if your freezer is not full to begin with. Having a full freezer allows less cold to escape each time you open the door and saves energy.
9. Make some fossils. Freeze a layer of ice in the bottom of one. Then put in a few small toys dinosaurs. Put in more water to freeze the dinosaurs in place. Repeat these steps several times until you have the bucket full of layers of dinosaurs. Then on a warm day, take the ice block outside and let your children excavate the fossils.
10. Use one as a sewing kit. Put in some needles, pins and pin cushion, small scissors, measuring tape and some thread. It will even be big enough to store a small project.
11. Take a few along with you on a car trip. Fill one with a jump rope, a small ball and some sidewalk chalk. This will be great for those rest stops. Fill another one with small toys, a pencil, a note pad, a couple small books and a healthy snack.
12. Take a few with you to the beach. Children can use them to build a sandcastle.
13. Take one for each child when you go into the woods. That way if you find a special rock, flower or feather you child will be able to bring it home to his collection without you having to carry it for him.
14. Make an iceberg. Freeze ice in it and surprise your child by putting it in the wading pool or even the bath tub.
15. Let your child use one to carry water from the wading pool to your garden or flower bed. It will give him a sense of helping the family.
16. Freeze some leftovers in one. You don't have to use only the newest Tupperware for your leftovers.
17. Use the lid to cut out a couple of circles to make pompoms. Cut them the size you want the pompoms to be. Then cut a small circle in the centers. Wrap the yarn around two donut shapes stacked on top of each other until it is the desired thickness. Then using small scissors, cut around the edge of the circle. Tie a piece of yarn around all of the other pieces of yarn before you take the plastic pieces off. Then take the plastic pieces off and shake the pompom a little to fluff it up.
18. Use one as a yarn keeper. Put a ball of yarn in the bucket. Cut a small hole in the lid and pass the end of the yarn through the hole. Replace the lid. Now when you are knitting, your yarn will stay clean and the cat will leave it alone.
19. Use one to store your homemade laundry detergent in. Make this using one forth of a bar of hand soap grated, one quarter cup of Arm and Hammer super washing soda booster and a gallon of water. Melt the grated soap with a little water on the stove top on low to medium. After it is melted, add the washing soda and mix it in. Pour this mixture into the bucket and add the hot water. Mix it all up. Put the lid on and store on you laundry room shelf. Use about a cup each time you do a wash.
20. Hang one from your laundry line full of clothes pins. Then when you need one it will be handy.
21. Store you birdseed in one. That will help keep your home more organized. It will also help to prevent mice from investigating your home. They seem to be interested in pet food.
22. Use some in the bathrooms. Put pony tail holders, hair clips and combs in one. Put bathtub toys in another. Keep all of your makeup in another.
23. Save your pennies in one. Just cut a slit in the lid and slip your pennies in. Before you know it, you will have some mad money for the next time you need ice cream.
24. Store bulk food items in some. You can save hot cereal, nuts, dried beans and dried fruit in them.
25. Use them to serve popcorn on movie night. It will be so much fun to have a bucket of popcorn for the movie that everyone will want his own.
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Copyright © 2001 by Deann Curtis. All rights reserved.