talking trash

So here’s the great thing about house bloggers – even though I sometimes feel alone in my obsession with the details of domesticity, I take comfort knowing there are others out there who share my weirdness. And that’s why I think it’s ok to devote an entire post to waste receptacles. You see, I have been longing for the day when I could justify buying fancy trash cans.

It all started when I spied these pull-out bins from Simple Human (the double for trash and compost and the single for recycling). Unfortunately, our gloriously deep sink was 1/2″ too deep and the bins wouldn’t fit. Good thing I measured first.


With my Simple Human dreams crushed, I spent the better part of a lunch hour researching other refuse options. I found that if one is going the more custom route, there’s all sorts of fancy cabinets that swing, tilt and pivot, but we had a basic 36″ IKEA cabinet to work with. Finally, I found a few viable options from Rev-A-Shelf. They didn’t steal my heart (and they’re about the same price as the others), but they would work.

Assuming I would have to buy them online, I was scanning a few reviews on Amazon when one commenter shared that she found them at Lowes. So I swung by after work, and what do you know, there they were! Better yet, they had more options, allowing us to upgrade to a 4-bin system!

The two smaller bins on the left are for trash and compost. Here in Seattle, yard waste is picked up once a week so along with your weeds, so can throw in food waste including meat, dairy and biodegradable items like egg cartons and pizza boxes. I considered a countertop pail with a tight seal and carbon filter (love this new one from Simple Human), but we really needed something more substantial. Sadly, they don’t make lids for this size bin, but if it gets to be problem I have some ideas on ways to fabricate my own.

For the two larger bins, it’s recycling and dog food. We can divert most of our paper, metal, glass and plastic for recycling (commingled even!) because yes, Seattle is just that awesome. For Bailey’s dietary needs, we had been planning on converting one of the island drawers to a dog food bin, but with room under the sink the fourth bin is perfect for his grub.

Thanks to a slightly off centered plumbing trap, the 4 bins fit perfectly in the space. This resulted in a mini celebration dance on my part, because of course things never fit perfectly. When I showed Kyle the setup, I got a one line, “sweet”, before he turned back to whatever he was doing. (He was probably just internalizing his elation.) Anyway, the pull-out tracks were easy to install – they have two stationary cross bars that get screwed to the cabinet base and that’s pretty much it.

The small space between (and in front of the trap) is just big enough to hold detergent, trash and compost bags and a few essentials cleaners (have you seen Bon Ami’s new retro branding? Love!). For now I’m using a wire basket that I had lying around, but I’d like to get something slightly deeper and with dividers (more compartmentalization, yes!).

So there you have it. No more unsightly trash cans or dog food containers out in the open. So c’mon, fess up – who else has a dirty (but well-organized) secret to share? I know you’re out there.


17 Responses to “talking trash”

  1. I want them! I’ve been eyeing the simple human ones, too– but I’m pretty sure they’re too big. You might have saved me!!

  2. S@sha says:

    I have the IKEA Rationell pull-out waste sorting system. It looks pretty similar. Any reason you didn’t go with that since you have IKEA cabinets? Aesthetics? Options?

    I just found your blog and started reading backwards in your archives. Very nice renovations!

    • chezerbey says:

      Hey S@sha, I did check out the IKEA options, but honestly it was hard to tell how the pull out portion worked and if it would be sturdy enough. How do you like yours? Also, it looks like it’s just designed to hold the smaller, gray bins? Is that right or could you do one black or two grays in a single pull out? Basically, we were trying to maximize the amount of storage we could get so when the rev-a-shelf came along I just jumped on it!

      • S@sha says:

        Honestly, mine isn’t installed yet. It’s one of those finish projects that I haven’t gotten around to because I’m lazy. However, the metal tracks that it slides in and out of seem well made and sturdy to me. I’m not sure how big or small you are thinking, but I choose a fairly large bin with a smaller one that sort of attaches to part of the top. It’s all grey. I don’t generate much trash, and I have a different system for compost, so I thought that it would be adequate.

        • chezerbey says:

          Good to know…looking at it online I though the tracks were plastic too. Guess I should have looked a bit closer. =)

  3. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the reports, they really are appreciated since you’re well ahead of me in your reno. It’s nice to see what the scouts come up with, so to speak. 🙂

    How large of a bag of dog food could you fit in the bin? The food I buy my dog comes in a 33lb bag (or rather, it comes in lots of sizes, but I *buy* the 33lb bag). The bin idea would be perfect if it could hold the entire bag!

    Happy obsessing!

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the reporting! It is appreciated.

    How much dog food could you fit into that bin? Pull out bins are what I’ve had in mind for a future space, and using one for dog food is brilliant! But only if it holds the bag I buy… 🙂

    • chezerbey says:

      Hey Michelle, I buy a 35 lb. bag of food for Bailey. I admit, it wasn’t completely full when I transferred it to this new bin, but I used to keep a whole bag of food in a similar container so I’m hoping it will work.

  5. Nat says:

    love it! I’m just as obsessed with keeping garbage organized. You’re definitely not alone in your quest. And don’t get me started on laundry baskets. This is actually what I’m hoping to do with my dirty laundry. Hide it in the vanity. Just a thought.

    • chezerbey says:

      Do it! We just recently swapped out our shoe storage pull-out in our IKEA wardrobe for a laundry basket.

      • Nat says:

        Another organization question. For your kitchen, did you come up with a way to hide kettle, coffee maker and toaster? Or are you happy displaying them? They are killing my counter space, but I’m not sure how to safely “hide” them.


        PS. Yes, Ikea wardrobe would be a great place for a laundry basket too 🙂

        • chezerbey says:

          Hi Nat,

          I’ve given this subject a lot of thought! We don’t have a kettle, so it’s just a toaster, coffee maker and mixer to deal with. Our mixer is nice so I don’t mind it sitting out and I’m hoping to replace our coffee maker with an espresso maker at some point so I wouldn’t mind that being out either. Our toaster is an old chrome one from college and I’m stumped on what to do with that. We don’t really use it that much, but I don’t think we could go without either. I’ve seen people use the roll down, garage door style doors to hide appliances but that wouldn’t have worked with our design. So…short answer is we don’t have a brilliant solution. =) We are storing less frequently used appliances (food processor, waffle maker, etc.) in our cabinets which helps a lot.

  6. This made my heart go pitter patter! It’s my boyfriend’s worst nightmare though. But I am slowly organizing and turning him over to the dark side… I mean the OCD, organized, a place for everything side. HAHA.

    Just came across your blog tonight and I can’t wait to read more and follow along.

  7. Sian says:

    I really appreciated your page about under-sink trash storage.
    We are going thru the process of remodeling our kitchen and the cabinet makers are, like, “Oh, you won’t have room for trash under the sink, it has to be in the cabinet that you cannot open at the same time as the dishwasher.”
    Hmmmm. No, I don’t think it does.
    So I would like to know if it makes sense to have the cabinet under the sink be 2 doors, like yours, or a single, pull-out drawer? It just seems that you have to both open the under-sink door AND slide the drawer out. (I must be either super efficient or super lazy!) any suggestions welcome!
    Thanks again,

  8. Jim Pearson says:

    Thanks for the helpful article. I’m redoing my kitchen and trying to determine how deep of a sink I should get. I’m going with an undercount and know that 10″ is too deep and hoping that 9″ would work. What is your sink/counter situation?

  9. Sage Komisar says:

    Hi there 🙂 So thrilled to find your post as it solves a space problem I have in my kitchen as well. A couple questions for you? What is the depth of your sink? (Mine is 8″) What is the width of the sink cabinet? Are the bins part of the rev-a-shelf kit or did you buy them in a special size? I hope you have a wonderful day and look fwd to hearing from you! Thanks!

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