DIY Pull-Out Trash Cans & Food Prep Area

A few days ago, I mentioned that having the trash cans in the pantry wasn’t really working for our family.


Having the trash cans against the walls in the pantry meant the walls were covered in peanut butter & pasta sauce.  Then, whenever guests needed to use the trash can, they had to see our entire pantry, which led to a pantry cleaning frenzy before anyone stopped by.  On top of that, having the trash in the pantry was just really inconvenient.  Having the trash closer to where the food is prepped, cooked, & eaten would make clean up much more of a breeze.

Once I got going on the idea of putting the trashcans in some of those unused cabinets, I decided to create a whole prep area for added convenience.


We decided to use the two cabinets & drawer at the end of the island closest to the sink & stove.  Then, we DIY’d a pull-out trash & recycling bin (more on that below).

The drawer above the waste basket holds all of our cutting boards & knives used for food preparation.


Here’s a closer look:


This area makes food prep so much more convenient!  Before I chop up my produce, I just turn around & wash it in the sink, grab my knife & cutting board to chop it up, & then throw the scraps away in the trash below!  Anything to shorten my time in the kitchen definitely brightens my day!
So, now that you know what we did, lets get to the how-to on the trash & recycling.

First of all, we are blessed to have top pull-out shelves in our cabinets:


I decided it would be easy enough to just lower these shelves to the bottom & add the trash & recycling bins to them.  If you don’t have these pull-out shelves, here is a tutorial to DIY your own.
In order to get the drawer glides out, my husband had to break these crazy anchors.


They went into holes like below, which are at the bottoms of all our cabinets, but unfortunately, they don’t sell these type of anchors locally. 


Instead, Mark used hollow door anchors between the holes & mounted the glides from those.  The screws that came with the anchors were still a little too long, so he ended up using shorter screws to make sure the glides were secure.


Next, Mark cut four strips of plywood & nailed them together to create a rectangle the width of the shelf & the depth of the trashcan.  Then, he cut four more strips of plywood & nailed them into the corners of his rectangles, to act as legs.  The final step was to nail the legs into the shelf base.  I recommend sanding all the plywood to a smoother finish, but we were out on the day I snapped these pictures.



This contraption will make our trashcan fit nice & snug & make it easy to pull out.
To the right of the trash is the recycling.  Because there is an outlet at the end of the island, we had to lower the trash can framing to avoid hitting the junction box.



Having these bins concealed inside the cabinets solves all my problems.  I no longer have to worry about the kids getting food all over the walls (since the bins pull out & there are no walls near them!).  Whenever company comes over, they no longer have to see the mess in my pantry when they need to throw something away.  Also, the trash & recycling are in a much more convenient location, close to both the sink, stove, & eating areas!


Before you DIY this project, you may want to make sure your trash can will fit in the cabinet.  Since our 13 gallon trash cans were too tall to fit in the cabinet, I bought a couple of ten gallon ones.  You also want to make sure there are no electrical wires or junction boxes that would interfere with your gliding trashcan.  Because our junction box did interfere, we had to lower the framing for the can.  Then, the new trashcan was too wide, so we ended up cutting the top off our old trashcan to lower it enough that it would fit in the cabinet. 

So, there you have it.  The kitchen prep area complete with DIY trash & recycling pull-out bins.


So, do you have an area designated for food prep in your kitchen?  Do you have a DIY trashcan?  If you don’t feel like DIYing your own, you can buy kits that include the trashcans & hardware, but I believe they cost around $50.  We used them at our last house & loved them, but we had extra plywood lying around & were able to DIY this one for about $10 for the waste basket & anchors.

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