My Trashy Mess

This is a [true] story about research, failures, wins, & loses that happened over the course of 3 months. When this journey began, I REALLY underestimated the level of frustration & amount of time that would soon be involved. This is a story about how finding the perfect…wait for it….garbage can. GARBAGE CAN. Let that sink in. It took me FOUR…count them 1…2…3…4….months to find the perfect garbage can for my kitchen. Now, before I go into this story I want to throw a few things out there. 1) I would not consider my super high maintenance in regards to where I throw my trash. 2) While there are seemingly endless options of garbage cans on the market, I would challenge you to take a closer look and see that while there are many options, they are mostly the same with different brand labels attached to the price tags. 3) Always trust you gut.

My 1st grown-up can

When Jimmy and I got married, we got several giftcards to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. One of the things we purchased was an over-priced stainless steel garbage can with a step lifting lid- you know the average middle class garbage can that is found in every kitchen in suburia. Listen, at the time, this was a big upgrade for us. We upgraded from a white plastic swing top style garbage can…which we had because I was too cheap to spend a lot of money on a place to throw my garbage. Anyways, we bought said garbage can for around $80. That garbage can, purchased in 2013, served its purpose, quite well, for many years. Until 2020…because if the world is going to collapse, you might as well take the garbage can with it. During the pandemic, the poor garbage can got a huge dent in the middle of it from the foot of a frustrated kiddo. The garbage can also started getting regular visits from our large dog, who was no longer confined to a kennel during the day because his people were home more.

In early summer of 2020, we did an overhaul of our kitchen. Cabinets, counters, sink, faucet, floors, walls, furniture…the works. Everything is matchy matchy and new. Except for the newlywed garbage can. It stood in its same place, sporting a new dent, with a dog discovering the lid easily lifts with his nose. That was when I first thought “hmmm….we need a new garbage can that matches….I want a gold garbage can.” I went to my trusty source AMAZON. The options for “gold kitchen garbage cans” were not as plentiful as one might expect. I added a few to my wishlist but decided the want didn’t justify the price tag. One I added to my list was exactly what I wanted, it was a stand alone cabinet that hinged out but was over $300 so obviously I am not going to spend $300 on a trash cabinet. After all, it is just a garbage can.

Replacement #1

Around early Fall, I had finally had enough with the d@mn dog lifting the lid with his nose and taking garbage out. I went back to Amazon and went in search of a garbage can that would work. I had, what I thought was basic, criteria. 1) Dog proof. 2) Affordable. 3) Matches my new kitchen ….easy right? WRONG. After 2 days of searching Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, & the likes, I decided this one fit the bill. It was dark grey, matching my cabinets. The lid closed flush with the can so my dog couldn’t lift it with his nose. It was a little over $100 but I decided it was worth it and I was a grown up so I could splurge a little, besides trash cans last forever so this was more of an investment. Around the 2 month mark, it became clear that this was not the winning can. The cans were smaller than traditional garbage can bins thus requiring special trash bags…trash bags are expensive as is but these smaller bags were even pricier so that was a bummer. JHub complained that it was double the work because now he had to take out two bags and replace two bags rather than one. I know, that sounds dumb, I agree but whatever. (Sorry, J, if you are reading this, it really was a dumb excuse and we both know its just because you were bitter about me spending over $100 on a garbage can that you didn’t think we needed) . The biggest no for this one was that yes, the lid sat flush with can and couldn’t be pushed up by a dog’s nose but that feature is only applicable when your can isn’t full and overflowing…..thus the dog thought this can was perfect because he didn’t have to use his nose….and I was pissed about the trash on the floor.

Fancy can. Look closely, the yellow box is the “pet guard”

Alright, this one is out. Unfortunately, we ruled this one a no a little too late and it was past my point of return so I am going to use this elsewhere in my home. On to #2. I revisited my wishlist and stared at that $300 trash cabinet. I knew it was perfect but the price was just holding me back. I tried to find a duplicate or something similar that was cheaper but was striking out. Unless I wanted to buy one unfinished or pay a shit ton of shipping. Either way, it wasn’t working out. So I settled. I went for a fancy can that needed to be plugged into the wall. It was motion activated. Going back to my requirements 1) Dog proof CHECK 2)Affordable CHECK 3) Matches NOPE Newly added 4) Takes traditional bags CHECK & 5) No extra work CHECK. Ok, so it didn’t match, but I was willing to sacrifice. Besides, most kitchen garbage cans are stainless steel so people wouldn’t really think anything about my trash can not jiving with my kitchen décor. Best of all, J would like it and would give up his silent protest & resume taking out the trash on a regular basis. Wellllllllll NO. After being in my home for less than 24 hours my dog figured out that all he had to do was put his face near the can & it would open. (Remember that pet guard, yeah it was a basic little knob on the outside that if turned would stop the lid from opening….but it also meant the lid wouldn’t open for people either, unless they turned the knob, thus making the motion activated opening feature pointless). After being in my home for 48 hours, the lid stopped opening all together. The motion light came on but the lid couldn’t open and would only motion actively close halfway. We troubleshooted the heck out of it but nothing was helping. Since I was still within my return window, and thoroughly pissed off, I returned that damn thing.

In my fit of anger over trash can #2 being a total b*tch, I rage ordered the $300 trash cabinet. It is worth mentioning that our original newlywed trash can had been discarded to the back porch and was sitting there basically waiting for me to apologize and bring it back in. Jimmy made a case for the OG’s return but I was PISSED and not having it. Damnit, I wanted a trash can that fit our family’s needs. I reasoned that I was an adult and in my years have spent $300 on stupider things. I reasoned that the trash cabinet was an investment and would last for years to come. I reasoned that it was my first choice to begin with and I should have trusted my gut. I reasoned that my level of frustration with the other pieces of garbage [holders] were worth $300 of peace.

My perfect match!

My dream trash can has finally arrived. It was handmade by the Amish. It smells new and like fresh wood and stain. The cabinet has a nice storage drawer, making the perfect “junk drawer” spot. The top is great place for JHub to drop his pocket crap, thus freeing up my kitchen counters. Visiting my 3 5 requirements…

  1. Dog proof -Check- Unless he grows thumbs, he can’t get in it.
  2. Affordable – Check? – I mean, who defines affordable these days? Beezos would say $300 is affordable. My frustration level says $300 is affordable. My reality & cheap self says “you can’t win them all”.
  3. Matches – Check – Hides the ugly can & makes the trash can become a storage piece so double check!
  4. Traditional bags – Check -holds a regular ol gallon bin
  5. No extra work – Check – Single can

I am still in utter disbelief that I started this hunt back in early October and it is now mid-January and I am just now satisifed….with a kitchen garbage can. I am mad at myself for doubting my insticts and settling and causing myself unneccessary stress for a few months. I am still thinking “wtf” that I am writing a blog post about garbage cans. Only in my hot mess world, would a garbage can be this big of a problem. So, there you have it….the conclusion of my scientific research study on kitchen garbage cans. I hope my study has provided you with useful information so that you can go forward and avoid the stress of finding the perfect garbage can. I am curious, what does your kitchen trash can look like?

PS: If you want to see actual photos of the trash can in my kitchen, head over to my Instagram. & take a peek.

PPS: This link does contain Amazon affiliate links. For more info about affiliate links, see the Insider Info section

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