Cat Litter Pails as Shop Storage

bucket-loads-storage-0I have a relatively small shop – 12′ x 24′. Since I do a lot of turning – from large salad bowls to pens, bottle stoppers and night-lights – I keep a large stock of small parts and pieces. (Actually, I’m a bit of wood junkie and can’t throw stuff away.) I also have an old yellow cat that helps spread wood chips around the house.

I needed a storage solution that was portable enough to keep outside the shop and compact enough that it wouldn’t take up the entire [unfinished] basement. For years, I’ve converted cat litter pails into small part storage bins. But they were often in the way on the floor.

At first I tried just bolting pails to the wall – but then they weren’t portable. Then, recalling how I had attached a shelf to the wall above my daughter’s desk, I employed the same hangers for my storage bins.


Photo 2. Cut the 48

Cut 8″ x 48″ strips of 3/16″ hardboard (plywood would work also) and 3/4″ x 48″ strips of red oak 3″ wide. Then, cut a 45-degree bevel on one side of the oak strips. Glue these to the hardboard as shown in photo 1. (Note: no screws or nails since more cutting comes later!) Making this long section ensures uniform spacing of the beveled edges.


Photo 2. Cut the 48

The 48″ long glue-up was then cut into 7-3/4″ lengths and a section glued/screwed to the bottom of each pail, (Photo 2), using a 1″ wood screw and a fender washer (Photo 3).


Photo 3. Attach the 7-3/4


Photo 4. Attach the top 1" strip to the wall, and hang a couple of empty pails to determine where to attach the 1-1/2" strip.

Next, cut 1″ x 3″ x 44″ and 1-1/2″ x 3″ x 44″ hardwood strips to attach to the wall studs. I simply attached the top 1″ strip to the wall, hung a couple empty pails, and attached the 1-1/2″ strip at the appropriate distance below. Here’s a detail of how the pails hang (Photo 4).


Photo 5. By using a thicker lower strip, the pail has a slight up-hill slant so things won't slide out.

Note: by using a thicker lower strip, the pail has a slight up-hill cant so things won’t slide out. The extra thickness in the top wall strip allows the top pail hanger to fully seat on the wall strip before it contacts the wall (Photo 5).


Photo 6. Lids keep out dust and are handy for labeling contents.

To remove a pail, simply lift it straight up about 1-1/2″, and it pulls away from the wall rack. The lids keep out dust and are handy for labeling contents (Photo 6).

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2 Responses to “Cat Litter Pails as Shop Storage”

  1. Ken

    This is a great idea. As a cat servant I have been left with many of these pails. Being in the snow belt of upper NY state we often get snow measured in feet so these pails have been repurposed to store salt in. It is much easier to store 3 or 4 of these in the garage with salt in them rather than bags it comes in. Now I have several more than I need for salt so I have another use for them aside from storing glass items.

  2. danalsgretchen

    I love it!!! I have 5 cats in the house. 2 are indoor/outdoor the other 3 are indoor only. I have plenty of litter containers already in the garage being used for storage of legs from repurposed furniture finds.