They’re inexpensive, plastic 10 gallon buckets, or bins, from Walmart. I’ve been using them for several years for a variety of purposes. Initially, they saw the most use in packing for camping trips. One with miscellaneous kitchen items, like instant coffee, percolator, paper towels, washcloths, etc.. One with our Mountain House supplies for the trip. One larger one for things like our tent fans, camp axe, batteries, etc. Depending on how they’re packed, they can get heavy. Then again, I only need to carry them between the house and the car, then the car and the campsite. So far, we’ve always camped at a “modern” campground. Hmm, maybe I’ll work up an entry on setting up our camp.
Stacking Storage Buckets
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At the end of Trailer Security, Tools and Trunk – Part 3, I mentioned my plan to enclose the trailer. There are two reasons for it really. The first, as I mentioned, is to make it easier to get more Stuff on the trailer. With the walls of plywood, I’ll be able to stack more and have attachment points, of various kinds, for securing the load. The second is as much to hide the Stuff. Sure the access ramp is still a metal mesh through which the load can be seen and it’s not exactly secure. (Guess I’ll have to work that into the wall system.) Having a four foot high wall of plywood and metal mesh could be, if not a deterrent at least a delay.
Trailer Access Ramp
I am now using the majority of the buckets to store “supplies”. I still have a bucket dedicated to camping kitchen supplies, and a bucket or two with Mountain House meals. I have them all cataloged, printed and copies stored in several locations. Once a month I try to go though my inventory and make sure it’s up to date.
A couple of days ago we went shopping and purchased our first load of canned goods. Mostly fruits, vegetables and soups, it weighed a ton! I carried the bags downstairs, organized the cans and dated them. I hadn’t been doing the dating initially, but now the unmarked cans are at the front and the dated cans are arranged front to back, oldest to newest. The volume of cans required me to rearrange my basement storage, again. I had things in the cupboards that really should have been on the shop side, and now they are.
The Bucket Locks
The process to add locks to the buckets is pretty simple. At least so I thought. Drill holes in the lid of the bucket, insert lock! Yeah, that’s easy! Of course, everything I envision as being easy is also a learning experience. So I learned.
I’ve numbered all my buckets. Makes it easier to find the Stuff on the lists. Here’s how it starts.
Locks. Need locks. As I wandered through Walmart during one of my semi-weekly shopping trips, I found this set of three! (I can’t find this particular set on the web, but in store it’s about $15.)
Ok, so I thought I wanted four, but three can work. Now to release them. My handy dandy pocket knife does the trick on the zip ties.
Just for fun, MasterLock attaches the keys with a twist tie! Gotta watch for that when cutting the zip tie for that lock.
I can number the locks and the keys to match the bucket they go on. Again, it’s all part of that organization bug that’s in my head.
While I wait for the ink from the Sharpie to dry, I can move to the holes. First learning experience. (I should have known this from past experience.) Drilling on a smooth surface never goes straight in. The bit wanders until it gets a good bite. Having learned that on the first couple of buckets, this time I used that handy dandy pocket knife as a center punch. Ok, not punch, more like digging tool.
Knife as a Punch
It’s not much of a hole, more like a dent, but it’s enough to keep the drill steady.
The Knife Makes a Dent
Growing up, we never heard of variable speed drills. The thing my dad had was a metal monster with a power cord that was almost long enough to be useful and it had one speed. ON. Now, we have battery powered, variable speed, bells and whistles machines. There’s one reason I’m glad I was born when I was. I can touch the trigger and the bit crawls around slowly enough to get a good start.
Starting the Drill
The plastic of the top seems a bit softer than the body so the drill cuts through pretty quickly. Then comes the tricky part. The ledge around the body isn’t nearly as wide as the lid, AND it curves down right away. I end up pressing the lid against the outside of the body to keep it as stead as possible. (Another lesson learned from a previous experience.) I slow the bit down again to give it a chance to start. Usually pretty quickly, it cuts on through and the bit shows below.
Now I slide the lid off a little and check. What I’m looking for is a hole in the lid and a hole, preferably centered, in the ledge on the body. It’s not always so nicely aligned as this one. But, since it is plastic, a little wiggling works to get the lock in place.
This one didn’t need any wiggling. Nor did the other 18 holes drilled this day. I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping things steady. It doesn’t hurt that I have a very intense desire to not drill through a finger nor coat the buckets with my blood.
Lock Ready to Close
As I’m sure anybody who is Getting Ready for What If can attest, finding a place to store all the supplies can be a challenge. I’ve very grateful that I have a basement. I had garage in the last place, but hadn’t even really thought about Getting Ready. I could have had a great system in there! (We never parked the cars in the garage because it doubled as my workshop.) Space can be found though!
Storage Stack 1
Storage Stack 2
I’ll keep buying buckets and locksets to accommodate the growth of my Stuff. In the meantime, I have Stuff to do outside. The backyard requires attention.
Keep Getting Ready!