Turn THIS into THAT.
A new use for an old bucket.

Earlier this spring I was on the hunt for a basic utilitarian object that pretty much anyone who owns a house has.  Of course I’m talking about a full sized Merry-Go-Round outfitted with genuine Lippizaner stallions with pink feather plumes coming out of their heads.


I didn’t have any luck finding one I liked.


So I turned my attention to finding something else that pretty much every homeowner has.  Again, I had no luck at all finding something that suited my needs, for the price I wanted to pay.  I didn’t want something fancy.  I didn’t want something ornate.  I wanted something pretty plain.  And sturdy.  Plain and sturdy.  Like a bucktoothed farmboy.

I never did find it.  I ended my search when I came up with this …










Yup.  You can turn a bucket into a hose reel.  Who knew finding a plain garden hose  hanger would be so difficult. They all had anchors or fairies or frogs on them.  And if they didn’t, they were either made out of ugly plastic or metal that was so flimsy you could bend it with your mind.

Then this idea hit me out of the blue.  Like most ideas do.   Screw one of my many galvanized buckets (the one that leaks a little bit) to my fence.  Instant storage for my hose, work gloves, and tools.


Just take a bucket, 4 screws, and screw it to your fence.  I didn’t even pre-drill the holes in my bucket.  That’s how confident I was feeling.  I don’t mind telling you I felt kind of brilliant after this one.



And then I happened to notice on Remodelista that Martha Stewart has already done the bucket thing. Which is both horrifying and satisfying at the same time. But I want it to be known that even though someone else thought up the bucket thing should in no way deter from MY thinking up the bucket thing as well. We both thunk it up. And I’m still kind of brilliant. And humble.





Now granted, it’s not to everyone’s tastes, I know.  BUT, it might get you thinking about what you could use as a hose hanger instead of what you have right now.  Or you might be thinking of other uses for a bucket.


Either way you’re thinking outside the bucket.


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  1. Molly says:

    Yes, this is a gorgeous idea!

    BTW, not everything ‘Martha’ is her/ their invention. This exact same idea was first published in UK magazine ‘BBC Gardener’s World’ – around 12 years ago! And who knows where they’ve got it from? An idea isn’t bad just because it isn’t brand new.

    I’m using such a bucket for my hose for a few years now. I also drilled a few holes into it at the lowest point to prevent rainwater sitting in there. And every other spring I can’t use it at all because blackbirds build their nest in it :-)

  2. Tickled Red says:

    Oh the things you can do with a bucket. I especially like how it twirls, almost got your Merry-Go-Round :D xo

  3. Karen that is THE most awesome re-use I’ve seen. Too clever by far. I am totally jealous I didn’t think it up too! (Is that thought envy?)
    Now all you have to do to become a god is to figure out how to stop hose parts (sprayers etc) from leaking and having to buy new ones every other year!

    Hope no one asked this already, I usually read thru all the posts b4 posting but poor old horsie is going thru laminitis/founder, I have an art show in two weeks and not enough mushrooms! Things are krazy.

    • Karen says:

      LeeAnne – You probably just need to replace the rubber washers with new ones. ~ karen!

      • Thanks Karen. Been there, done that. I just don’t get it. I’m no genius but I was blessed with a large dosage of mechanical ability. For some reason though, washers never work for me! Use the hose a few times and they’re leaking all over the place again. Maybe it is all a big joke? Are the stores all practical jokers and only sell “dribble” washers? They always seem a little big so that might be the problem. I’ve never been able to find ones that look exactly like the ones in the hoses. The new ones jam in but never work for long. Oh well. At least it is warm in summer and being a little wet can be nice. :-)

  4. Karen says:

    Hey there…I got a sturdy farm boy who happened to be strong and handsome. 29 years later he is still the “MAN”. Not all of them are bucktoothed. I got a damn handsome farm boy son out of the deal also. When I need a good laugh (and and idea or two) your blog is where I land.

  5. I love this… not too bad for thinking outside the bucket!

  6. Lillykay2002 says:

    Hi Karen,
    Love your blog and I have loved Martha since the early 80’s when she first started.

    I don’t think you should ever apologize for thinking of the same brilliant solution as she did. Martha actually opened the door for creative people like you and created an industry that didn’t exist before she made it. She needs to be recognized as the true pioneer she was and not an object of scorn.

    • Karen says:

      How exactly did I scorn her?? I love Martha. Although I must agree with a previous comment that she does very little of her own creative thinking now. She now does a lot of creative approving. ~ karen

  7. Carole says:

    For the same reasons of cost/ugliness I screwed a new empty paint can to the wall but find the circumference a bit small….the bucket is brilliant!

  8. Pat says:

    Wait a minute, wait a minute; did someone say they use an old tire rim mounted on the wall for a hose holder? Damn, that’s a fine idea too! You’ve got to read the comments for your posts because the follow-ups are hilarious and brilliant! Crap I love this blog …

    • Karen says:

      Crap, I love it too. I was going to a plethora of hose ideas (including the tire rim oddly enough) but figured the readers would take care of that portion. And they did. :) ~ karen

  9. amy mills says:

    my bet is that you came up with the last line first and then had write a whole blog around it:)

    nicely done on both counts!

  10. Susan says:

    Well you’re waaay the heck more Fun than Martha! But I’m still looking for the Lippizaners…

  11. Laura Bee says:

    Just waiting for my hole holder to break.. . I have the bucket – but what will I use for weeds then?

  12. Shauna says:


    I kinda did something similar only with an old wooden crate. I put light stuff on the crate – shovel, chicken poop scraper, kid’s plastic buckets and some chicken coop cleaning supplies under an upside down bucket that sits on top. I love the rustic chic look of this and my wooden crate;)

    I hate wrapping hoses though, so I have one of those things that you just turn the handle and it winds it for you. I like the idea above about turning the bucket into some sort of chicken roost though;)

  13. Ruth says:

    ‘Dear Henry’ should have bid ‘Dear Liza’ adieu and asked your advice… then he could have skipped the whole straw-patching fiasco, and put his holey bucket to better use. ;)

  14. Gayla T says:

    Martha doesn’t do her own thinking. She pays people to do it for her where as you do your own. Even if you took advantage of her paying thinkers you still are way ahead of her in one spectactular way. You are FUNNY! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard or read anywhere that she is or even comes close to being funny although I did see her smile once. I do think that you should use one of her ideas and that is to put a sign on you hen house. Her’s says Palet de Poulet. That translates to Poultry Palace and if her’s is a palace yours is the Taj Mahal and you can bet your sweet booty she didn’t build her’s. Which gets us right back to where this started….she pays people to do it for her. Not nearly as much fun plus her fella is, well, gone.

    • Debra says:

      Great idea, I can even see a row of them on a fence for storage of small items. I have enjoyed your humor, often have thunk we think alike. Yes, Martha can pay others to do many things for her, wise idea as she’s no spring chicken anymore, but one very smart chick…and I enjoy you both. And yes, she does smile, very much so when she talks about her time in the hen house/women’s prison. She kept a sense of humor about that difficult time, held her head high and got right back to work making her entertainment and other ventures even better than before. Who else could do that? probably not many. Have a great week!

  15. Marie says:

    This is why I read your blog every day, to see what you’ll thunk of next. Great idea.

  16. Paul says:

    Great idea! We have a local online auction that always has lots of this kind of yard stuff so I can get well worn buckets like that for $2-$6. I’m lazy and don’t like to make small coils when I’m winding up my hose. So I recommend putting the bucket high like the picture.

  17. Sarah A. says:

    How did you know I was just fighting with a hose yesterday and trying to figure out how to hang it up? This is genius – and I will always say I learned it from you, not Martha!

  18. Clare says:

    I bet Martha never would have thought to make a super cool cushion out of car wash mitts! I visit your site every day, whereas I only grudgingly visit hers when I absolutely have to.

    Love your work! And I love this bucket re-use. Brilliant.

  19. Caroline says:

    I have 50 lbs of hose so use a painted tire rim attached to the wall but really like the idea of a bucket for a single hose. Good thinkin!

  20. SK Farm Girl says:

    Sigh . . . you are so my hero; and a genius to boot! Pft to Martha; all hail the queen Karen!! Kind of off the topic, but every garage sale I go to and see an “orb” for sale, I compulsively tell the garage sale hostess about the brilliant orb light idea. Nine times out of ten they pull the orb off the sale table and vow to make the beautiful light themselves. I’m done buying orbs myself; I have about a dozen! I guess you could say I’m spreading the “good word”!

  21. ruth says:

    Love it. Going bucket-hunting now. And YOU will have the credit for the idea.

  22. Lynn says:

    I had an old short tine rake that the handle broke
    on so I nailed it next to my garden gate to hold my trowel, cultivator, scissors etc. The tools all have holes in the handles so I can hang them on the tines. Looks great, works great – the perfect upcycle!

  23. Melissa Leach says:

    If you keep this brillance up you are going to have a signature color like Martha does…awesome!

    • Melissa Leach says:

      duh…not enough caffine yet. You are going to have to have a signature color like Martha does. Hmmm, what color would you choose?

  24. Bonnie says:

    Freaking brilliant… again.

  25. Spokangela says:

    Well I am particularly impressed with the animation! It actually looks like a bucket sitting on a deck then… viola! Ingenious hose reel with storage! Nice work :)
    I call my hose reel my pimp, it keeps track of my hose. HA! I know, groan.

  26. nancyeileen says:


  27. Barbie says:

    Those gloves are WAY to clean!

    I’m SO doing this idea of YOURS…and M’s lol….she probably “didn’t” think of it ya know.

  28. cred says:

    Ya, I love this- I wish I had an old pail with a hole in. Cuz galvanized pail is definitely my style- ya, I am that stylish, kinda ozark chic, very 2012!
    Seriously do love the rustic bucket- I have employed 2 in my house that I “dip-dyed” the bottoms with white paint. One fireside for tinder and another with a chalkboard label stating it’s purpose for compost.
    Both the pails & chalkboard vinyl from dollarama. Sadly, they don’t have the pails anymore. I really wanted to paint one in
    a funky patio colour for drinks on ice for al fresco dining.
    Seems everyone is thinking outside the bucket. Love this idea, thanks!

  29. Jillian says:

    Great idea!

  30. Karla says:

    The this idea. Unfortunately we already have a hose hanger thingy. But if it just happens to break one day (after the kids have been playing with the hose) I now know what to replace it with.

  31. marilyn says:


  32. ev says:

    The buckets we use are the tallish, heavy plastic ones, but I think they would work. How clever, Karen! Martha’s got nothing on you! Besides, did SHE think of hanging gloves on the bail? I think not!

    • Paul says:

      The plastic buckets will work but you need to use something inside to reinforce the bottom. A 10 inch long 2×4 placed vertically, a 1×6 or a piece of 1/2 plywood cut to fit the inside bottom will all work.

  33. lyse says:

    I love this idea. I am still amazed about your glass globe light with Chritmas lights.This is what brought me to your website. Always looking for your next discoveries. Keep the brain working overtime. Make me want to be a better person.

  34. Mia says:

    You are so clever, brilliant and humble!
    I love it!

  35. Magpiebird says:

    I like it. I might use it. Thanks!

  36. Mary Werner says:

    Just a bit lower and with a little straw placed inside, the chickens could use if also! It does look good on your fence and could double for a geranium planter. I think this would make a good Friday question of the week = name some other good uses for the bucket on a fence idea that I’m sure you thought up. The MS thing is just scary.

  37. Arlene says:

    You have completely impressed the Hen as well – so much so that she isn’t even eating your wonderful fern… so what’s the trick to that?

  38. veronica sandström says:

    What a amazing ideas you have :)

  39. Wow! Does your mind ever stop? Brilliant! Move over Martha!

  40. Sue says:

    Wow, that is so smart- and looks prettier then most hose hangers!
    Have a great week!

  41. mimiindublin says:

    “We both thunk it up. And I’m still kind of brilliant.”
    you are! Never know what can happen when you think outside the bucket! I’m looking over my garden now with a new eye!

  42. dustjacket says:

    I think that rooster is looking totally impressed by YOUR bucket idea!

  43. Dana says:

    That. is. brilliant!

  44. Michelle says:

    Seems bleeding obvious really doesnt it, was meant to be!

  45. Leena says:

    You are brilliant!! This is excellent! I have that ugly plastic holder at home.

  46. Amanda says:

    Um in the beginning of my last comment… I meant to say let the wood sit on the screws… doesn’t make much sense the way I first wrote it LOL I was just so excited about this idea LOL

  47. Amanda says:

    OMG that is Genius!!! And the shelf that Kelly M thought of could work if you screwed in a couple of screws through the bucket on the sides… either into the wood or underneath and let it sit on the wood! As far as Martha goes… well lets just say I like this site better. Martha seems like a domestic superhuman… you, Karen, seems like one of my neighbors… or me with more motivation LOL

  48. Lisa says:

    Gosh darn it, I just bought a hose reel! (Well, at a garage sale). And I like yours better – more fun plus storage!

    I bet Martha bought a new bucket, rather than ingeniously re-purposing a leaky one.

  49. Tracy says:

    So simply genius, makes me embarrassed I didn’t think that up on my own! Thank-you…now wheres my bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza…)

  50. Kelly M says:

    You could out Martha her by putting a shelf in the middle of your bucket… a board that’s as wide as the diameter of the bucket would stay in place. Until you put something on it, of course.

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