Buckets come in all sizes for many purposes and in Colors! We can acquire one gallon buckets by buying the gallon of ice cream and having a really good time. Thanks to my Gram, we have always saved buckets for storing stuff inside. Gram also saved butter tubs for sequins and beads and even as refrigerator dishes for leftovers. The last few years we have seen a rise in availability of festive buckets with seasonal decoration. Some are Easter buckets for gathering the hidden eggs. Christmas buckets are available for storing and serving cookies and sweets.
Buckets of all sizes are handy to have in any case. I do however wish to caution preppers in their use of buckets. These little seasonal buckets are meant to be used for short term fun and often come from China where the use of lead in food and toys is apparently NOT a concern with the makers. If you save them as I do, please do not count on them to use as food storage for long term. There won’t be anyone to sue or any recourse to take later if you have laced your stored foods with toxins. I use mine as my Gram used her little butter tubs, to organize nails, screws, craft supplies, batteries, and to organize cluttered drawers. I do not trust these buckets to be food safe. Even when giving cookies as gifts, I lined the buckets with foil or parchment.
Online and at your local hardware store, Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can purchase new unused paint buckets. Five gallon buckets and there matching lids are reasonably priced even though they are sometimes sold separately! Again, I want to suggest if these are NOT marked food safe, they are not guaranteed food safe. One would think if the buckets are never before used, they are food safe. Some people will disagree and add that if these buckets are lined with a food safe Mylar insert, they are then safe for food. More research is required. Do your homework.
The best thing I have come across in the world of buckets for storing food is a Gamma Lid. These are a great invention. The locking lid that comes on most food buckets are designed to break away so they are not reused, causing them to be repurchased. A gamma lid solves the difficulty of getting into a bucket and the locking lid breakage problem. The gamma lid comes in two parts. The first part snaps securely on to the rim of the bucket and stays there, no need to break it off, the second is a threaded lid that screws on and off inside the rim! Love it! The Gamma lid is available online at Emergency Essentials at www.beprepared.com and at www.cheaperthandirt.com. They range in price from $7 to $8. They are also available through Major Surplus & Survival at www.majorsurplus.com. Recently, I found them at www.freckleface.com for much less, starting at $5.55.
When you have buckets of stored food with gamma lids, you don’t have to struggle with getting to the stored food and can remove the contents of the bucket in daily or weekly increments to use as you need leaving the remainder dry and safely stored. Just screw the lid tightly back in place and leave the bulk for the next trip to your food storage bank.
A side note, you can use those small buckets and tubs that may not be food safe to make your own easy to grab and go first aid kits, or a portable disposable toilet or toilette. You can pack a stack of filled small tubs in a five gallon bucket then fill in the negative space with other items. You can virtually pack a kitchen in a can by packing a sterno stove and fuel, then pack tubs of matches, candles and small bits, and spices in snack baggies, marked with a sharpie, a tub of sugar, one of flour, add a first aid kit, a Boy Scout mess kit, eating utensils, toilet paper, a gallon baggie of rice, beans, fire starter….and just keep filling!