Saturday, August 13, 2011

talking trash

Let's be honest -- the garbage can is the most disgusting thing in the kitchen. Besides the toilets, it's possibly the grossest thing in the whole house.

And yet it's a necessary evil! We love it and we hate it. We need it in our kitchen, but we want it out of our kitchen. We need it to be easily accessible, but we never want to see it.

The kitchen is supposed to be where all good and clean and healthy meals come from, not germs and disease. Sweet-smelling breads and rotten rubbish odors cannot flow from the same room. (I may have just coined a proverb.) So how can we reconcile the two?

There are as many methods of tossing trash as there are sizes of trash bags. More, even. Some families have recycling stations: paper/plastic/tin. (Oh, to be that cool. And have that much floor space.) Some hide a small can under the sink. (Been there.) Some stash the trash in the pantry and out of sight. (Not a big enough pantry.) Some store their garbage out in the open in a stylish stainless steel step can with a lid. (Been there, too!) One can sure spend a lot of cash on a trash bin!

In our house, however, we are so much more posh. Posher. Not really. We are still using the ivory plastic 13 gallon receptacle we picked up from the big W-Mart the week we first moved in here. A year ago next week, to be exact. You know, the trash can with the swingy lid?

the new version

My only happy trash moments (if you can even have those) are when the bag is fresh and I can toss several small things in it without it looking full and disgusting, yet. Small plastic wrappings, the ring around the milk lid, or perhaps some crumbs that I just swept off the table. But that moment is always short-lived (that's why it's just a moment) because, inevitably, we discard a milk jug, a cereal box, 14 dirty pampers, a broken baby wipes dispenser, and a 2-liter coke bottle all before lunch. Overflow.

Ooh, that list pretty much convicts me that we really should be recycling, even if just to cut down on trash! But our weekly disposal service doesn't offer that option. Did I just hear a collective gasp from the Great (and Green) Northwest?? Yes, friends and family, it's a little different here. We don't even turn in pop cans to get our nickels back. I know, right?

I muttered to myself the other day (I find I'm the best one to complain to, by the way... Seeing that I seldom offend myself.) Anyway, as I was muttering... I said something like, "For goodness' sake! It seems we can fill a whole, fresh, empty trash can in 5 minutes or less and then spend the next 2 days trying to stuff it!" Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was an epiphany to me.

I have been fighting with the swingy lid thing for a year now. Anytime I wanted to put anything in the trash that was bigger than the opening, I'd have to take the lid off (and set it where?) and work on stuffing things down and making the domed lid (domed, I said domed) fit on top again.

A few nights ago, as I was fighting with the trash, I started fighting with my husband. Well, just a little. He may or may not have happened to mention that it was disgusting and unsanitary to place the lid on the kitchen table while I struggled with the trash. I may or may not have taken offense at his obvious lack of concern for my feelings and strongly pushed said lid off the table and to the floor. He said he hated that lid. I said I hated the lid. And then we started laughing at how ridiculous we are.

But problem solved! We threw away the trash lid right then and there, and I've never been happier.

Being without a trash lid is actually okay! The stars didn't fall from the sky and we didn't get a sudden infestation of ants because of trash overflowing onto the floor without the lid to hold it in. Quite the contrary. The trash doesn't stink. (We do have a garbage disposal in the sink for food scraps.) We can see as soon as it's full instead of having a huge mess hiding just under the swingy door. We actually take it out more often, now, I guess because the process now has fewer steps! Without a lid, it's much more handy for me to toss trash from across the room or slide it off the counter. And without the lid, I have one less thing to sanitize. We even quelled a stupid argument with laughter. I love it when that happens. It was a win-win!

Granted, I would like to upgrade our rubbish receptacle in the near future. Ivory doesn't really go with our kitchen. Stainless is nice, but nothing else in our kitchen besides the toaster is stainless. White would be fine. But apparently our one rule is no lid. If that means taking out the trash every day, so be it.

Here are a couple of fun garbage bins to think about. Brand new never-been-used trash cans can even be pretty.

this is a small 3-gallon one specifically for reusing grocery bags!
this one makes me almost okay with a lid

Well now I'm drooling over this Vipp. At $350, I'll bet the pedal holds up pretty well.

So what's your dirty little secret to conquering the trash in your house? What size of trash bag works for you? Do you refer to it as trash, garbage, or rubbish? Or are you a house divided between the words like we are?

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