Do: Water Buckets

California remains in the throes of a severe drought; everything around me feels bone dry. To save this precious resource and avoid a painful bill, I've worked hard to conserve. I live in an older house and the shower takes forever to heat up. At the beginning of the year, my city handed out 5-gallon buckets to encourage drought awareness and I was able to bring home two. I keep them in my shower and faithfully fill them: it takes a whopping bucket and a half for my shower to warm up!

At first, I used the buckets of water to water plants, wash the car, etc. All good things, but not absolutely mandatory. Then my friend Judy taught me something that blew my mind: you can use the water to do laundry. Washer machines know by weight how much water is in the drum; they will not overfill. Dump your shower buckets into the washer machine, and they will be used for the first cycle of your wash (which is dirty anyways, perfect water not necessary). Ingenious! Built in bonus: you get a killer arm and core workout from carrying, lifting, and dumping the buckets.

I'm so into my bucket routine that even if the drought ends, I might never stop. I've been known to haul buckets from the bathtub to the washer machine. Crazy, I know—but a bath uses at least 10 buckets of priceless water! My husband laughs and I smile, knowing I'm borderline water obsessed. Here's hoping for a very wet winter! When it rains, I like to keep my buckets outside.  :)

5 gallon water buckets