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Stores That Hand Out Free 5-Gallon Buckets & How to Use Them

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I don’t know about you, but I use 5-gallon buckets for tons of things.

I mix fertilizer in them, bring fish home in them, and brew compost tea in them. And if I can get free 5-gallon buckets, then I’m well on my way to self-sufficiency.

Now is the time to win the resource game. We live in an age of excess, and preppers all over should take advantage of this. Why spend money when you can get some of the supplies you need for free?

These buckets are one of the best survival items you probably never thought about. You might be wondering how you can use 5-gallon buckets, as well as how you can get them for free.

Stores That Hand Out Free 5-Gallon Buckets

5 Gallon Buckets Free

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons you should have a good supply of these buckets. So, now comes the bigger question. Where can you find free 5-gallon buckets?

There are a number of stores that offer free 5-gallon buckets. To help save you time, we have a list of some of the places where people have found them.

Some of the places where you may find free 5-gallon buckets include:

  • Sam’s Club
  • Safeway
  • Walmart’s bakery department
  • Kroger’s bakery department
  • Meijer’s bakery department

You might be surprised to learn that fast-food restaurants have also been known to offer free 5-gallon buckets. Some of these include:

  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Wendy’s
  • Tim Hortons

Let’s take a look at some of the many things you can do with these buckets.

Ways to Use 5-Gallon Buckets

The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways to use 5-gallon buckets. There are so many uses that I could never name them all.

That being said, here are some of the possible uses for them:

DIY Home Gardens

DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Garden


You can fill your buckets with soil and grow your own vegetables in them. If you don’t have a lot of space, this is a great way to get a garden going. You can also turn one of these buckets into a hanging tomato planter.

Rice Grower

Growing your own rice might never have occurred to you, but it’s possible to do so with a 5-gallon bucket. Not only is it easy, but you’ll end up with fresh—and free—rice!

Mushroom Grower

You can use these buckets to grow your own mushrooms. It’s an easy way to get some fresh, free mushrooms.

Soap-Making Basin

These buckets can be useful when it comes to soap-making. You can use the bucket as a basin to mix your ingredients.

Portable Shower

All you need is a hose and a shower head to make a DIY shower out of a 5-gallon bucket. This can be perfect for showering when you don’t have access to water.

See this video for a demonstration of an even simpler, but effective, solution.

Storage Containers

There’s no doubt that 5-gallon buckets can make the best storage containers. You can use them to store just about anything, including food or pet food.

Transporting Things

As I mentioned above, I use these buckets to transport fish. You can transport just about anything in them. The best part about it is that you can transport these buckets discreetly, too.

Composting Toilet

We all think it’s funny when we see the 5-gallon bucket toilets, but they do work.

Dealing with human waste is going to be an incredible challenge when the time comes. Avoid serious bacterial infections by using these toilets to transport and dispose of waste.

Portable Potty

You can build your own portable potty with a 5-gallon bucket and pool noodles, which you can use to make a comfortable seat. You can take this “potty” when you go camping or travel.

Laundry Basin

Why spend a fortune at the laundromat when you don’t have to? When you don’t have electricity, you can use a 5-gallon bucket to wash your clothes.


You can use 5-gallon buckets to make DIY “chairs.”


You can use these buckets to make a DIY bucket lantern.

Drink Cooler

Five-gallon buckets can make great coolers. You can keep your drinks cool throughout the day just by adding some ice.

Chicken Feeder/Waterer

5-gallon bucket chicken feeder

Instead of spending a fortune on a chicken feeder and waterer, you might want to consider making your own DIY 5-gallon bucket chicken feeder.

Not only will your chickens be well-fed, but you can do this DIY project for free. You can even make chicken coops out of these buckets.

Tree Waterers

If you’ve recently planted trees that need watering, 5-gallon buckets are large enough that you can get a lot of water to your trees pretty easily.

Air Conditioner

You can make a DIY air conditioner out of one of these buckets.

Rainwater Harvester

If you’re interested in harvesting your own water, there’s no better way to do it than using buckets.

You can use rainwater in so many ways, such as for watering your plants or even for drinking.


You can build a dwelling out of 5-gallon buckets. You can use the buckets to make “walls.” The shelter you build from these buckets will look similar to an igloo.


5-gallon bucket beehive

Image: Thinkenstein –

If you have an interest in raising your own bees, then you’re in luck. These buckets can make a great beehive.

Deer Feeder

If you want to attract deer to your property so that you can eventually hunt them, a 5-gallon bucket may be the answer.


You can make a DIY backpack out of one of these buckets.

Buying 5-Gallon Buckets

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Keep in mind that we can’t personally guarantee that the stores we listed above will provide you with free buckets. These are just some of the places that have been known to offer them in the past.

If you aren’t able to find free 5-gallon buckets in your area, you might be feeling discouraged. You probably won’t want to miss out on the many benefits these buckets have to offer.

Fortunately, there’s good news. While I highly recommend checking out the stores that offer free 5-gallon buckets first and taking advantage of whatever free buckets you can get your hands on, you can buy them on Amazon at a reasonable rate.

What I don’t recommend is not having any 5-gallon buckets. There are just so many possible uses for them that you won’t want to miss out on.

Stores That Hand Out Free 5-Gallon Buckets & How to Use Them