Under Sink Trash: Avoid This Everywhere From Kitchen Drawers to Bathroom Cabinets!

Wondering if you should have the traditional under sink trash canor upgrade to a placement that saves you time, money and pain? We’re helping you figure it out today!

Putting your trash can under your sink is like peanut butter and jelly to some people. If you have one, you have to have the other!

For years, garbage cans under the sink have bugged me, wigging out my Ergonomic-o-Meter.😆

Why? Let’s look at the answers together!

White cabinet with an under sink trash can drawer
This under-sink trash is better than some but I think there’s still a better place for it!

UNDER SINK TRASH

3 Reasons to Avoid Keeping Your Rubbish Under Your Sink!

Three reasons I’d encourage you to find a better place than under your sink for all your trash, garbage, rubbish, recycling, and even compost!

Reason to Avoid #3: Optimize Your Placement!

Your trash can should be placed where you use it most—and so often this is NOT while you’re washing dishes at your kitchen sink! Some people need it near a particular prep space. And I don’t just mean where you chop vegetables…

For example, in our big house I wanted the trash closer to my espresso machine because EVERY BLOOMING DAY I needed to dump out messy coffee grinds (those of you who make your espresso “by hand” know what this is like, even if you have a knock box!). So not only for placement but also frequency (I show you exactly how to nail down your REAL usage and time spent on tasks in your kitchen in our Kitchen Organization Guide)!

UNDER SINK GARBAGE

Reason to Avoid #2: Optimize Your Space!

This one isn’t important to some of us—but it is incredibly important to others!

Your garbage and recycle bins can usually be larger and/or taller—not to mention closer to your body but I’ll get to more about that below—when not placed under a sink.

When we put our trash can or recycling bins below our sink, we’re limited to a lower reach and a smaller cubic area for those containers. And that’s just inefficient when we’re using it 5, 10, 20, 50 times a day.

QUIZ: Can you precisely number the amount of times per day you use your rubbish, recycle or compost containers? If not, try counting for a week and see what your average times of use per day is!😉

Someone left a comment on social media complaining “You shouldn’t care about large trash cans! What about the earth?!”😂 Clearly this individual didn’t fully read the above—this goes for ALL kinds of bins and containers! One of my friends has a small farm and lots of kids and lots of compost and she needs LARGE bins in her kitchen to make such a repetitive task easier on her busy, hardworking self! She (and the perfect setup for her unique life and movements) makes earth happy!

Small under sink trash can drawer. White cabinet.
Under sink trash cans means less space. Here’s one example with a dummy drawer above and the trash and recycle bins below…all low to the ground!😬

UNDER SINK TRASH CAN

Reason to Avoid #1: Optimize Your Health!

This is the one that gets me every time. Maybe because my body, neck, or back is sensitive to awkward movements, but it really can be a literal pain!

(Not to mention the health of your loved ones as you’re washing dishes and they want to push past you to toss something in the bin…heaven forbid!😆)

You don’t have to move awkwardly each time you’re standing at your sink! When you’re standing at your sink, you don’t have to completely step back and lean forward awkwardly for your back in order to use or reach underneath into your cabinet.

Even when the trash can is attached to the cabinet door or the pull-out drawer below the sink, you still have to move and 95% of the time you are not thinking about doing it ergonomically, with perfect posture!

So over time, if you have neck, shoulder or back issues, this seemingly-simple and “obvious” traditional move of putting your trash can below the sink can cost you years of not only literal pain but time and money spent dealing with that pain!

UNDER SINK GARBAGE CAN

“So what’s the solution?”

I can now sense several of you asking, “So what should I do instead, Jess?”

This is a near-impossible question for me to answer appropriately for millions of different readers over the internet.😆

My answer will be different for several different groups and individuals! I’d ask you questions, look at your kitchen or bathroom layout, analyze your task frequency, and walk you through my method for figuring out not only the perfect trash can placement for you and your lifestyle and space but the perfect placement for EVERYTHING in your kitchen and bathroom!

If you’re wanting to DIY this analysis for yourself, I’ve created this Kitchen Organization Guide where I walk you through step-by-step with questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and we figure out your ideal placement!

(If you’d rather not do it yourself with my guide and instead have me walk you through it 1:1 over a video call, plus answer a bunch of your other questions and problems you’re running into with your space, we offer a consulting option as well!)

There are ideas I can give you, such as this:

Clever in cabinet trash can storage in a bathroom vanity. Bathroom vanity is wooden and the trashcan comes out of the side of the cabinet.

But in a bathroom, for example, I actually love what we did to incorporate our trash can into our master bathroom vanity!

Beautiful, custom made wooden bathroom cabinet with hidden pull out trash.
We designed our own bathroom vanity with “hidden” drawers to keep everything clean and uncluttered with zero effort! (Including our hidden bathroom trash can!)

If you’re still not sure, just try it! You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain! (Your under-sink space could be be so much better put to use!😉)

Next…

If you’re new to us or our blog, you won’t want to miss grabbing our Free Design Mini-guide!👈😍

For more storage, design & organization help, check out

1. 21 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier!

2. 10 Pros and Cons of a Pull Out Trash Can!

3. How we organized our bathroom vanity!

PS: To see our home projects + free design advice, click HERE!

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