While I was attempting to progress with the porch bricking last night, I noticed that my neighbor, who was watering his tomato plants, stared at me every time I scooped out some mortar mix to put around my bricks. He finally approached me as I walked back to the shed.
"Are you putting those down with cat litter?" he asked. At first, the question didn't register. Then, I realized that I had transferred my current bag of mortar mix into a 35-lb. cat litter pail. These things are priceless!
They are sturdy. Have a handle. They're stackable and seal shut pretty well. Cleanable. Protective. And best of all, they're FREE! I know a lot of the cat litter manufacturers are scaling back on these, opting instead for cardboard boxes in an attempt to be greener. Tidy Cat is my brand of choice, but I know others also use the plastic pails. After all, one of three Rs of recycling (recycle, reuse, reduce) IS reuse!
I've been using these for a few years now. (With the addition of a second cat in 2006, and one who goes through ridiculous amounts of litter, it's been in my best interest to buy in bulk.) In the storage shed, I keep sand, top soil, and grass seed in them. They are infinitely sturdier than the plastic and paper bags these products come in.
In my basement, I use one to store my circular saw, and another to store a whole bunch of spray paint cans as it not only protects against dampness but also frees up shelf space. My neighbor on the other side has been the beneficiary of some of my spares. He saw me using them last year for sand and started storing yard-related materials in them inside his garage.
You can also use them as a bucket for cleaning. It's so deep, I used one to keep cleaning solution in while I scrubbed the house down before we started painting last year.
So, if you have a cat (s), it's just something to think about the next time you buy litter. Or, if you have friends or family with cats, see if they'll keep some containers for you.
You never know when it may come in handy.