12 Places to Score Free 5-Gallon Buckets

12 Places to Score Free 5-Gallon Buckets

12 Places to Score Free 5-Gallon Buckets


When it comes to prepping, having the right supplies is crucial. One item that every prepper should have in their arsenal is a 5-gallon bucket. These versatile containers can be used for multiple purposes, such as storing food, collecting water, and organizing supplies. And the best part is, you can often find them for free! In this article, we will explore 12 places where you can score free 5-gallon buckets.

1. Restaurants and Bakeries

Many restaurants and bakeries receive their ingredients in 5-gallon buckets. These buckets often go to waste once they are empty. By simply asking the establishment if they have any spare buckets, you can walk away with a free supply of containers. Make sure to call ahead and check with them first to save yourself a wasted trip.

2. Grocery Stores

Grocery stores often have buckets that have been used for products like pickles or icing. These buckets can be repurposed for your prepping needs. Talk to the store manager and ask if they have any empty buckets available. They are usually happy to give them away for free since it saves them the hassle of disposal.

3. Hardware Stores

Some hardware stores sell products that come in 5-gallon buckets. You can ask the store if they have any empty ones left over from these products. Even if they don’t normally give them away, they may have a few extras they can spare if you ask nicely.

4. Construction Sites

Construction sites are often a great place to find free 5-gallon buckets. Builders and contractors use these buckets for various purposes and often have extras lying around. Just make sure to ask permission from the site manager before taking any buckets.

5. Craigslist and Freecycle

Online platforms like Craigslist and Freecycle are treasure troves for free items, including 5-gallon buckets. People often have leftover buckets from home improvement projects or moving, and they are willing to give them away to someone who can use them. Keep an eye out for listings in your area and be quick to respond, as they tend to go fast.

6. Friends and Family

Sometimes, the easiest way to score free buckets is by asking your friends and family. You’d be surprised how many people have spare buckets sitting in their garages or basements. Reach out to your loved ones and see if they have any buckets they can part with. Plus, it’s a great excuse to catch up and spend some time together.

7. Local Farms and Ranches

Farmers and ranchers often use 5-gallon buckets for various tasks, such as feeding animals or storing grain. Ask around at your local farms and ranches to see if they have any buckets they are willing to part with. They may appreciate the offer to take them off their hands.

8. Construction Supply Stores

If you live near a construction supply store, it’s worth stopping by and asking if they have any spare buckets. These stores often have buckets for mixing concrete or carrying tools, and they might have some extras that they can give away.

9. Community Centers

Community centers and recreational facilities sometimes use 5-gallon buckets for activities or storage. Reach out to these organizations and inquire if they have any buckets that they no longer need. They may be happy to donate them to a local prepper.

10. Local Schools

Schools often receive supplies in bulk, and those supplies typically come in 5-gallon buckets. Contact nearby schools and ask if they have any empty buckets they would be willing to part with. They might have some sitting in storage waiting to be thrown out.

11. Construction Companies

Similar to construction sites, construction companies may have spare buckets that they can give away. Contact companies in your area and ask if they have any extra buckets lying around. They might be more than happy to hand them off to you.

12. Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are often a treasure trove for preppers. While free buckets might be harder to come by, you can often find them at a low cost. Check out your local thrift stores and keep an eye out for 5-gallon buckets. As a bonus, you might also find other prepper essentials at a fraction of the retail price.


5-gallon buckets are incredibly useful for preppers, and getting them for free is even better. By exploring these 12 places, you’re sure to find a steady supply of buckets to assist you in your prepping journey. Remember to always ask politely and be grateful for the generosity of others. Happy prepping!

My 2 Cents

Free 5-gallon buckets can be a valuable addition to any prepper’s inventory. Not only can they be used for storing food and water, but they can also serve as portable toilets, gardening containers, and even makeshift stools. When looking for free buckets, always be courteous and considerate. Remember, these buckets are often given to you out of the kindness of someone else’s heart. So be respectful and grateful for the generosity of others. Happy prepping!