Trash Talk (and Recycling in a Small Space)

I live in an 800 square foot condo, so things are tight. I have no complaints about that – actually, I love it. ‘Less is more’ has been my mantra for years. But there were a couple of storage problems that took some time to solve. The trash and the recycling. Where oh where to put them without seeing or smelling them?

I have strong feelings about not having my trash out in the open. No judgment here toward anyone who lets their can live large in the midst of it all. It’s just a personal preference for my space. The biggest obstacle with the trash can is that the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink has very little vertical space. On the left there is the disposal system – not getting a can under there – and on the right is the u-shaped trap that extends downward a good deal.

Barely clearance for cleaning supplies on left, and the trap causes problems on the right.

Nothing labeled “kitchen trash can” would fit.  I looked at powder room trash cans but those were all too small. A friend suggested an office trash can. Perfect! A run to Lowe’s or Home Depot (after so many trips they are one and the same in my mind) and there I had the perfect office kitchen trash can that could be kept out of sight. Yes, it is smaller than other kitchen trash cans (14″H x 12.5″W), which means I empty it more often than if I were to have a full-sized can. The upside is that it doesn’t have the opportunity to get smelly. Can we all say schnoz bonus?

Fits perfectly.

Yet the recycling kept piling up in the kitchen sink. In the kitchen sink! Egads. I thought about a covered bin kept outside on my deck. It’s not far to walk from the kitchen to the deck, but I also didn’t want to clutter up my deck or have birds and whatnot hanging around looking for scraps.

Recycling in the kitchen sink is not pretty.

Beneath the sink was out of the question. It was all that little space could do to handle the trash. The pantry was already chock full. Hmm. What’s a borderline minimalist, OCD girl to do? I started looking for creative ideas at antique stores, hardware stores, and pretty much anywhere I went.

This was too shallow, but got me thinking…
This was nice, but the shape wasn’t quite right.
Looking for something pretty and utilitarian.

I should have known I’d find my solution at the always fabulous World Market. This basket looked just the right size for the little piece of wall at the end of the counter top.

Perfect size.

Admittedly, the recycling is still out in the open. But hear me out on this: 1) it is much more organized and compartmentalized – it has a designated place; and 2) I’m thinking I can get a piece of thin wood cut to the size of the opening and attach it as a flap on top so the recycling isn’t actually visible.

I can add a wood flap/lid thingy to hide the contents.
Look at the pretty! The organization! The order!

For now, I’m just happy the recycling no longer lives in the sink. Whew! You know I’ll be sleeping better tonight.