I shamelessly stole this idea from Claudette when I was up there last fall. She uses a bucket to keep a bunch of crap, and I thought it was a nice way to wrangle your mask and various goodies on a rocking boat.
I'm getting ready to head up to Chicago for a quick dive on Saturday, so my bucket is already all loaded up. Here's a shot of what I throw on the bottom for transport. This saves me from having to bring along an extra box for my regs and can light. Obviously, this doesn't work if you are doing a three bottle dive, but for simple dives like this, its fine. The white things are PVC end caps I zip tied to the side of the bucket. They hold my ear dry, talc, soapy water, and zipper lube. I also put my dry glove straws in there. (Oops! I forgot my straws. I'll need to find those before I leave.
Here's a shot with everything hanging out of the bucket. The bungee is standard 1/8" bungee from mcmaster. like 5c per foot. There is a small cel phone dry bag hanging on the left. I keep my dust caps in there. There is a piece of bungee threaded through a hole with a boltsnap on the end on the right. I thread the bungee through my guage straps, and clip off to the bungee around the rim. I also usually have a tie down EPDM (truckers') bungee strap just wrapped around the rim just below the top, but I donated that to Jitka last trip since she was running short.
When I'm on the boat, the regs, canlight, and backup lights go on the rig before we leave the dock. Everything else stays in the bucket, and I also grab my hood and drygloves and toss them in the bucket. Sometimes I throw the weightbelt in as well, and fins usually go below the seat, and EVERYTHING else goes either below, or gets left in the car. So this is my only junk cluttering up the boat. Plus, as you know if you were in Milwuakee, the bucket tends to become the boat mask bucket.
When I suit up, I put all the pocket crap in my Drysuit pockets, and then the only things that are left in the bucket is the stuff that goes on last: Mask, guages, gloves, straws, hood. Plus my defog is handy in case I forgot. Basically, if the bucket isn't empty, you forgot something.