The storage tote. Practically everyone has a few around the home packed with seasonal or unused items, but storage totes can have many other uses, too. Here are just a few examples for outdoor use:
- As a planting box. Garden boxes can oftentimes be a bit expensive for some consumers. A more cost-effective and movable way to grow vegetables and herbs is by using a storage tote as a plant box. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage, line with a fine mesh (like window screening) and fill with planting medium. For balcony or indoor use, the lid can be used as a drainage pan underneath.
- As a compost bin. Drill multiple holes in sides and bottom to allow for drainage and aeration. The lid helps to keep out unwanted pests.
- As a worm farm. Worms are great for the garden and raising them in a controlled environment can yield that wonderful fertilizer—worm castings! A tutorial at www.whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/easywormbin can show how to take two plastic bins and a few other items to create one. This can also be a fun project for kids!
- As protection for outdoor cats. According to the Humane Society (www.humanesociety.org), 35-gallon storage totes, along with Styrofoam insulation (like a cooler) and straw can make a great outdoor winter shelter for cats. While generally used in cities for feral cats, these shelters would also be great for farm settings as well as for anyone who has cats that spend time outside. For retailers, it would be a great way to not only show off how animal-friendly they are, but to help boost sales of some out-of-season items. Instructions for these shelters can be found here: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2010/07-08/simple_shelter_design.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/