Downsizing My Rubbish Bin


For a few years now I have been using a fairly big rubbish bin, one that is 70 cm tall and can hold around 40 L. We bought that bin because we were tired of our small bin being full all the time and we thought that with a bigger bin we could avoid having to take out trash everyday. Moreover, one non-negligible advantage of having a taller bin is the easiness of throwing stuff when cooking.

But life with a big rubbish bin has its own inconvenience, especially since we got into the whole diaper phase of life. Stinky diaper has to be taken out absolutely everyday, if not, that smell can make one faint. Parents know what I am talking about.

Even if you don’t throw diapers in it, I have come to realise that the big bin makes throwing out rubbish more difficult. It takes more energy to yank the bag out and then to re-line the bin with a new bag. And imagine when there’s a hole in the bag. Oh the drama with the dripping and leaking liquide, plus the big gigantic rubbish bag, it just makes the whole task more complicated and undesirable.


A tall bin makes it easier to throw things when cooking


Besides, when hovering over dream kitchen images in magazines, how often do you see big rubbish bins being photographed?


No matter how expensive or extravagant the bin cost, they never get to occupy a corner of the photo. This is mainly because expensive kitchen designs normally have built-in rubbish bins that are hidden inside the cabinets, so you never get to see them.

That is quite discouraging news, as I have stressed once and again that truly great designs should be a perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics. Hiding something because it’s not glamorous enough is somehow the opposite of my believes.


A clean and modern kitchen sans a visible rubbish bin


My disapproval for hidden rubbish bins were strengthened by a few experiences of using them in other people’s homes. I found them very inconvenient because sometimes, they are right under the sink, you know the drawers that pull out with 3 bins in it? That is not the most practical place when you are washing dishes. There are also other models that open automatically when you open the cabinet’s door, the odour makes it impossible to use the cabinet for other purposes.

But sometimes life has its way of surprising us. Guess what? A couple of months ago, tired of my big rubbish bin, I got myself a new bin — one that mounts inside my kitchen cabinet.

What I Considered When Downsizing My Rubbish Bin


Of course, I went through a series of thoughts before committing myself to a hidden bin. I started by considering some of the main criteria that are the most important for me:


1. The Right Size

A small rubbish bin makes taking out the bag a lot more effortless. And if I am to devote myself to taking out the trash everyday, this task better be simple and efficient.

So a big bin is no longer needed. A small bin of roughly 15 L should be sufficient for our family, and it is also prevents the rubbish bin from fermenting that foul smell.


2. The Right Height

Have you had the experience of always bending over to throw stuff in your bin only to make a mess around it, especially when you are emptying a dish after dinner? That was why I wanted to have a big bin in the beginning, I thought that would solve the problem. What I did not know is that it is not how big the bin should be, it is how tall it should be. It should, ideally, be at your thigh level, or somewhere near that, to make the act of throwing the most effortless.

But with a small bin of 15 L, surely it can never be tall. I’ll have to somehow lift it up, like putting it on a box or mounting it on a wall.


3. The Right Place

The best place to put your rubbish bin is next to the sink, or near to the counter-top where you prepare your dishes. I have a place next to my sink where my old rubbish used to be, but having to lift it up on a box or to mount it on the wall will probably make it quite unsightly since it is out in the open.

I do have, however, a free cabinet right between my sink and a wall. Half of it is occupied by the water meter at the back, so the front part of it is free. Is this perhaps a sign that I should have a hidden bin in my cabinet?

The Brabantia 10 L Cabinet Mounted Bin

Taken into consideration these few points, I felt myself being warmer towards the idea of a cabinet-door-mounted-rubbish-bin. I did my research and settled on the following model:


Brabantia 10L Bin
Brabantia 10L Bin (affiliate link)


I was still quite skeptical about hiding my rubbish bin and not very sure of its practicality, and above all this bin holds only 10 L, so that’s a big change in downsizing from our last 40 L bin. But I have a small trash chute outside which is very tempting and with a 10 L bin I can definitely use it, so I decided to give it a try.

Reviewing the Brabantia Door-Mounted Bin

Here is a quick sketch of my new bin situation now in my kitchen:

Sketch of kitchen

I did the sketch because my kitchen is currently in quite a mess and doing a sketch of it actually took less time than to tidy it up for the photo. I also scribbled some notes on it to illustrate better its strong and weak points which are elaborated below.


1. Manual flip-open lid

You need to open the lid manually so that takes 2 gestures before you can throw your rubbish. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that you will not be overwhelmed by the odour each time you open the cabinet, and you can use the cabinet to store other things. The disadvantage is that it is more troublesome and takes getting used to.

2. Right distance from the sink

I am lucky to be able to put it next to my sink as it is really really very convenient.

3. Can be left open as it is next to the wall

In the midst of cooking, I can leave both the door and the lid open so it is again, very convenient.

4. A great height

Having a small bin and yet having it at hip level is enormously satisfying.

5. Bin easily removable

A quick and easy gesture detaches the bin from the door for cleaning or taking out the trash.

6. 10L is enough for a family of 3

I had my doubts before, but 10 L is actually a pretty good size if you throw your rubbish daily. I think it works as well for a family of 4.

7. Space left to store other items

Below my Brabantia bin I have space to store another bin for recycling, where I keep paper and glass together to be sorted out later on.

As you can see, my review is rather positive and I cannot be happier ever since we made the change. The only thing I am a little reserved about is the manual opening of the lid, because that makes 2 actions when you want to throw something, opening the cabinet door and opening the lid, as opposed to a single gesture with a traditional bin. It may sound like nothing, but it obstructs the fluidity of the task and it’s something to get used to, and I got used to it.

One more point worth noting is that we consume more plastic bags than before as we are taking the trash out everyday. But since the size of the bags are smaller and thinner, the total quantity of plastic material used is more or less the same, that is a comforting thought.

So if you are stressed out about your bin situation and looking for a solution, I hope this post can give you some ideas on how to make the change. But remember that a cabinet-door-mounted-bin is not for everyone, make sure it is not right under your sink or in the middle of a passage way. A carefully planned placement of your rubbish bin can save you a lot of time and effort in the future.


à la vie aujourd’hui,




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *