Joint compound is exactly what you need when sealing seams in drywall, but the 5-gallon plastic bucket it comes in just may be more useful than the mud itself. It doubles as a seat, a stilt, even a drum, and you can never have too many. Buckets can, of course, always hold other buckets.

Use them to:

1. Tame a garden hose. Coiled in a bucket, it's neatly stored and stays tangle-free.

2. Resuscitate a rhododendron. TOH contributor Mark Feirer drills a ¼-inch hole near the bottom of the bucket and places it next to the plant to give it a long, slow drink. Beware that a water-filled bucket can be a drowning hazard if a small child falls in.

3. Contain and dispense flashing. Cut a slot in the bucket's side and feed the end of the metal spool through it.

4. Make a dry sink. Cut a hole in a wood potting bench that's just big enough for the bucket to slide into and rest its lip on. Use it to rinse veggies or hold flower cuttings.

5. Farm worms. Wigglers, which feed on composted greens, aerate soil. Nurture them in a bucket of leaves, grass clippings, peat moss, and damp, shredded newspaper. Drill tiny holes in the bottom to drain water.

6. Anchor deck posts. Slice off the pail's bottom with a hacksaw, spray the inside with a concrete release agent, partially bury it where the post will go, and fill it with wet cement. Sink a post-anchor in the slurry, and lift up the hollowed-out pail when it sets.

7. Carry garden tools. TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook wraps a canvas tool apron around the outside of a bucket so he'll always have pruners and a waste receptacle at the ready.

8. Combine paint. Even out color variations among several cans of paints by mixing them together in a bucket. Pour through a mesh window screen to strain impurities.

9. Clean masonry tools. Hose down trowels and knives in a bucket with ¼-inch holes drilled in the bottom. Stand tools upright to dry.

10. Deliver tree-house supplies. Make a dumbwaiter to hoist provisions and lower trash with a rope looped through a pulley on a branch.
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