(a) Move the barrels down closer to the house and the open-air bins we empty them into, and
(b) Ditch the complicated lid system.
Never having a composting toilet, we took seriously what we read and watched on U-Tube. That hasn't changed. We still keep the process hygienic and odor-free. We still have a lid on the barrels that keeps critters and bugs out, but lets air in.
But, now, that barrel lid has one component—not six. Bill cut scrap plywood into circles, painted them the same black as the barrels, drilled holes in the tops, added handles and...voila! Easy off, easy on. Add to that the relocation, and it's a cinch (finally) to empty the bucket.
Our thinking had been to hide the barrels, so we put them behind our friend's uphill garage. With the new lids, we realized the all-black barrels were pretty inconspicuous. We moved them down near the compost bins, along the edge of the forest—and we don't even notice them, except when easily using them. Now, they get more sun, and the heat helps them break down the contents faster.
All of this is a long way of saying: Just because we've done something one way, doesn't mean that's the best way. We're taking our temperature when it comes to chores. If we find ourselves gritting our teeth before we do something, maybe there's a better way to accomplish the same thing.
One quick example: I've started filling the watering can after I water the plants in the screen house, so it's at the ready next time the plants need watering. Somehow, the prospect of having to fill it, was making me put off watering. But it doesn't seems like work to fill the bucket after I've done the watering.