Do It Yourself: How To Install An Under-Cabinet Kitchen Trash Can

Customizing and designing your kitchen to create more space can be done yourself by installing a pull-out trash can under a sink or cabinet with these tips and instructions.

Tired of a messy looking kitchen? A quick fix is to hide the trash behind a cabinet door. It is easy to improve on the small can under the sink that must be emptied twice a day. If you are designing your kitchen from scratch, make sure to dedicate a cabinet for pull out trash containers. Common sizes hold two 27 or 30-quart plastic waste containers. Typically the first can is used for trash, and the second can holds recyclables. During a party, it is very convenient to have an extra trash can handy and ready to go!

No custom kitchen in your future? Well, with a tape measure and patience, you will be able to design your own system. Although I have described the "ideal" system above, mine was put together with some ingenuity and careful measurement.

A visit to a home improvement store or website will typically show you several types of pull out systems designed to fit inside a base cabinet. Some of the more sophisticated systems involve attaching an arm to the cabinet door so that the can slides out when the door is opened. Or you can install slides that allow you to pull out your container. Measure your available space carefully before you buy. Remember to allow room for the hardware needed as well as the trash container you choose. Allow a minimum of one inch around the can; some systems require more space.

Now that you know how much room you have, you can choose an appropriate container size. I prefer to reuse plastic grocery sacks instead of buying kitchen trash bags. Rubbermaid and Sterlite are two brands that offer a wide variety of durable plastic trash containers. They are readily available at stores like Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart. Check around, because different stores tend to carry different styles. I chose a pale green trashcan with built in ledges to catch and hold the handles of the plastic grocery sack. No more bags falling inside the can! Since I needed to use the area under my sink for trash, I had a tight fit to avoid both the edge of the cabinet and the water pipes. None of the systems I could find were small enough to install in my limited space while holding the can securely. I settled for putting the can under the sink, but I wanted the convenience and easy cleanup offered by a pull out system.

As I was browsing through one of the many catalogs I receive, I saw a different type of pull out - this one had a wire basket mounted on a slide out base. It was intended to hold an 8-gallon kitchen trash bag. The measurements were right, and the price was reasonable, so I ordered it.

Installation was simply a matter of assembling the basket then attaching slide out brackets to the bottom of the cabinet and the bottom of the basket assembly. Be sure to assemble your system according to the directions and test it out BEFORE you drill holes to attach the hardware. I ended up moving mine over a bit from where I initially planned to install it. I was perfectly satisfied - until the 8-gallon trash bag fell inside the basket. And my grocery sack holding trashcan was too deep to fit inside the basket. So, another trip to the store, and I found a smaller, squarer can that fits inside the wire basket perfectly. Voila! It may have taken time to find exactly what I wanted, but waiting paid off! No more trash tossed over the back of the can, or scrapings from dinner plates ending up all over the cabinet. Some things are worth the wait!

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