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Jeez, how is it Wednesday already?! Is anyone else experiencing a springtime blur like I am? The weekend disappeared before I could blink, and I find myself sitting here with a post I intended to publish on Monday. I guess life just goes that way sometimes, though it would be nice to hit the pause button every now and then.

A quick update on some recent DIY: I’ve been working on a few projects around the house in the last week, and I very nearly finished all the window casing…

adding molding to bedroom windows

I was shy by about 6 pieces thanks to some too-tired-to-math errors, but I’ve picked up the remaining pieces and will be completing it today! I predict a lot of patching, sanding, and painting in my future, but it will be nice to have this goal finally crossed off the list.

Also, I am SORE today. Softball season has started again, and I needed new cleats after one of my soles literally peeled off of my last pair during our fall season tournament (tournament champs, by the way… woot!). Our first game (and first win) was last night, so I had to run out and get a new pair. I was baffled (and annoyed) by the complete lack of selection.

gendered softball cleats

Why the heck do manufacturers assume I must like pink if I’m a chick? Nothing wrong with pink, but the assumption always irritates me, and I take my shopping dollars elsewhere if it’s the only option. I’m much more drawn to blue and green, and this was pretty much the only thing I found in the first few stores I looked through (I don’t often do online shopping with sports shoes because the fit is so important… I need to try them on!). Thankfully, I found one simple, black pair and was even able to do a little haggling with the store’s comparison shopping guarantee, so I walked away with a great pair that will last for several more tiresome seasons. That also isn’t hot pink.

Anywho, I was recently brainstorming with a friend about where to hide the super ugly trash bin that I’ve been lazily stashing in front of the garage door when it’s not at the curb:

The Ugly Duckling House 2016

In previous years, when the house looked like a pile of dog shit, the trash bin really didn’t catch my attention. Between the rotting and termite-infested siding, overgrown landscaping, and other improvements needed, I had far too many other things that stood out and screamed MAKE ME PRETTY AGAIN to even care that there was a plastic eyesore sitting in front of… well, all of the other eyesores. At the very least, I didn’t have to worry about it disintegrating, increasing my heating bill, or otherwise damaging me financially. But after all of the work I’ve done on the exterior and spring rolling around once more, I have found myself silently admiring my house when I either make the turn down my street or pull out of the driveway. And each time, the trash bins have been capturing my eye, too.

My friend Jacque and I were kicking around a few ideas for a good place to store them, and I just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger and make a decision. That’s when I realized that instead, I should just ask you guys! You’ve helped me make decisions like these in the past, and I’ve grown to like the debate it sparks whenever there are a lot of equally good suggestions out there. So, let’s break it down to the basics, and you guys can let ‘er rip.

What I want to do:

Create a leveled-out spot, somewhere near the house, to keep as a semi-hidden and designated area for the trash and the recycling bin. Kind of like the one my buddy Nick from The Sawdust Maker did here, but not exactly this:

sawdust maker

This is a simple idea I like as well:

lattice garbage can hider

The challenge:

It’s not really about what I’m planning to build (I already have a pretty good idea), but where. I have been trying to think of a place to put it that I’ll also actually use — in that it’s already sitting in my driveway because this is as far as I’m usually willing to drag it when I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. And that trash guy always comes early when I have forgotten to drag it to the curb!

Also: the bins are supplied by my county and are LOUD when dragging them anywhere. This little, irksome trait is actually kind of a pain because my neighbors always seem to pick the exact moment when I’m half-asleep to move theirs to or from the curb each week, and I don’t want to inflict the same kind of extended boulder-rolling sound on them whenever I do it (I often remember to move them at, like, 2 AM). I know this probably shouldn’t play any type of influence on where I stash these for the majority of the time, but it’s just annoying, and I like to make the loud noise stop as soon as possible. Especially when it’s my bin, and therefore right next to my earballs.

Expectations vs. reality:

In every DIY project, it’s good to be honest with yourself. How much effort do I want to put into this? What are my usual habits? I know there are going to be some folks (coughcough*Mom*cough) who will suggest that I move it to places like behind the backyard fence or around the other side of the house, but I also recognize that I’m far too lazy. Essentially, this is a project about what will work best vs. my usual routine, because I know myself and I don’t plan on changing it for a dang trash can. If I pick the wrong spot that feels like too much effort compared to putting it at the front of the garage door when I’m half asleep, I’ll have spent time and money on a solution that actually isn’t, and an eyesore it will remain.

The options

1. I know I could easily stash it in the garage… if it weren’t already tiny and I needed the space for DIY projects.

inside of garage

2. I could move it over to the left side of the house, near the A/C unit, where there really isn’t anything already growing or taking up space. The space itself is pretty much perfect, save for having to style the area a little (more on that in a summer project post). And the fact that the chimney juts out from the house on this side is (probably) one of the reasons why the A/C is over here, because it’s hidden from the street view. But I’m already too lazy to do this because 1) it requires dragging the trash can across the entire front yard to move it to this side, so 2) I’d already be doing this if this were the easy choice. So, it’s still a “meh” option overall.

AC unit area

3. I could drag it behind the backyard fence, but I’m clearly not really willing to do that currently, so it’s again kind of not an option either. I’d just wind up sticking it back in the driveway when I feel lazy, which is always.

4. The best two options seem to be to somehow find a way to work it into the garden on the right side of the house, right next to the garage. Which, I guess, is good that I hadn’t yet finished landscaping it. But I guess I’m debating over whether I should put it really close to the front area (such as behind the first large shrub) or move it closer to the back, where I’m planning on adding a small tree (where potentially the tree’s limbs would kind of grow over the top of whatever I build and shield the structure even more, but will take some time to grow in well). The only downside to that idea is that maybe I’ll still be too lazy just to drag it another few feet closer to the back of the house.

garage side of the house options

I know, I know… we’re talking a supreme level of laziness here. But this is not a high-priority project, just a get-it-out-of-the-driveway sort of deal. I know I’m not going to try all that hard on a weekly basis to make sure I stash something neatly and I constantly forget to drag the bin to the curb every week, so I’d rather play into that than give myself something else I need to remember to do all the time. I manage to wash my clothes and dishes on a regular basis these days… so let’s just call this another baby step towards adulting the way I’m supposed to.

If you have any ideas for what the actual structure should look like, I’m all ears, but I’m attracted to this idea (or a variation) the most. I see lots of options on Pinterest using gravel at the bottom, but I’m hesitant to use it if I know that the gravel will probably start spreading into my mulch or onto my grass if I’m carelessly dragging a trash bin on top of it (which will then be a nightmare for my mower). So, I think creating a paver bottom, even though it will take a little more work, will be the easier way to go long-term. Got any other ideas to offer? I’d love to hear ’em!

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  1. 1 remove that bed next to the edge of the garage and build a wall (solid) high enough to hide the can – gravel or paving or deck ) then add the bed back in front of the wall (make the wall flush with the edge of the garage).

    you could do a trellis in front (if the wall is high enough) and train clematis, or pretty rose (it seems a sunny spot).

    have a little path from behind the wall to the driveway (or you will soon enough …)

    2 build a structure at the end of the driveway to house the bin, then you just have to deal with schlepping the bags out to the bin… but easy to pull the bin outside the structure. (not the most eye friendly but will save on the noise). attractively plant around it (again shrubs to hide, etc…

  2. We keep ours in the garage (always have no mater where we’ve lived) and just move them if I need to work in there. We have two (recycle and garbage like yours provided by the town) and they store nicely inside along the wall. We live in TX and have no issues with smell. This includes picking up after two dogs. I feel it is the best place for us as they are completely hidden. We also have a HOA rule that they must be out of sight from the road. I do like the outdoor privacy fences you posted though!

  3. I am pretty bad about the trash too, and definitely don’t want to haul it any farther than I have to, so I have mine on the right side of my house, in a little nook created by a fence that’s set back from the house about 5ft, and next to my garage/driveway. I even have a gate through the fence that’s 6 feet down the fence from where I store the cans, but I refuse to haul them through the gate and behind the fence (although that’s partly because there’s no hard pathway so they get difficult to maneuver when full). In a lame attempt to mask them from view, I actually went out and bought two small arborvitae to put in planters and place in front of them. I mean, I spent money to hide them even though there was an existing fence and gate within arm’s reach, just because I have a ‘routine’ already. So I feel ya. I recommend putting them behind the large bush on the right side of your garage, since that’s the closest to what you do already. Or you can experiment with it further back but I wouldn’t build anything permanent until you’ve gone through a few trash pickups and know that it works for you. Good luck! I’ll be happy to see what you do, and will be glad that at least one of us has it figured out!

  4. I like option 4 closer to the front of the house. I think the bush would add to the camouflage, and the bin would be in the most efficient spot. Dragging the bins around is awful, and I would be much too lazy to use the other options.

  5. Move the bush at the corner of the garage to the front/middle of the curved brick. Move the salvia to circle the bush. Build a short wall/fence off the corner of the garage that meets the edge of the brick border. The bush at the corner of the garage looks like it was planted a bit too close to the garage. Once it grows even a bit more it’s going to be right against the siding. So really moving the bush solves two problems. : )

    1. I second this idea!~ It’s not that much farther from where it is right now in the driveway and you can drag the cans along the grass instead of the driveway until you reach the curb, thereby eliminating the noise issue. I have a similar laziness factor and this seems like a no-brainer to me ;)

  6. I think the best option would be keeping it to the side of the garage, but towards the front. It just seems the most practical.

  7. I’d pave the area up to front of garden bed and whatever room you need for the bin down the side of the house or pave the whole side of the house. The screen I’d make would be a gate so you open the gate out to the street roll the bin on the new paving onto the driveway and out to the curb (less noise). Can you move the fence forward and give Charlie access to side of the house? Turn all the grassy area into garden bed with mass planting either with the fence where it is or new fence placement.

  8. I vote for the right side of the house by the garage nestled directly behind that bush near the front of the house. That way it’s nice & close and has the most chance of being used plus the bush would hide some of the structure.

    PS. I Love the honesty about “laziness” in this post although I look at it as saving my energy for things that actually matter :-)

  9. I found this pin today that is a really neat idea. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/151574343685346487/
    Probably a lot more effort than you might have wanted to put into the build. You could put it in front of the corner of your garage or even a pair of them down at the end of the driveway. Though then you would have to walk your trash to the end of the driveway to put it in the barrel. I’m not sure about you but I’d be too lazy for that. :)

    So If we go back to the original plan I’d say build some kind of screen on the right side of the garage near the front corner and put the trash can there. The only thing that could be a real pain is I don’t know if your yard ever gets muddy from the rain or if you get a few inches of snow it may be a pain to drag the can through the yard. Maybe it would be easier if you build some kind of small storage shed that you open right into the driveway.https://www.pinterest.com/pin/147704062751499204/

    1. I saw that too! But yeah, unfortunately WAY more work than I want to do right now. Perhaps it can be a temporary project and then upgrade if I REALLY get tired of the screen solution. I’ll just be glad to no longer see it in front of the house for now!

  10. These are my thoughts.
    1. Make a place for it in the garage!
    2. If you really, really cannot deal with putting it in its natural home (the garage) , put it just to the right of the garage door, because given your history it needs to be as close to the driveway as possible.
    3. I live in a house that has no garage at all , so I don;t have that much sympathy! :) – I do hate trash cans though and refuse to look at one each time I pull in the driveway, and because of the way my house and driveway is, there really is not a place to store a trash can, so I just don’t use one! I live with my two teen age boys and find that with recycling and composting we generate only one small bag of trash a week, and that bag can live in the trash bin in my kitchen until trash day. I just take the trash bag and put it out in the morning of trash day. No need to deal with bring the barrel back at all! (Still have to deal with the blue recycle bin, but that is a bit smaller).

  11. These bins drive me crazy! Speaking from experience, putting gravel on the ground beneath the bin is a bad idea (it flies everywhere, it makes it hard for the wheels on the bin to turn, and if the bin is heavy, you basically end up grinding the wheels through it until you get to a different surface). I immediately thought that pavers (level with the ground) would be an attractive option. To minimize noise and make it easy to move the bin when it’s heavy, a flat, even surface is best. As for placement, next to the garage seems most convenient!

  12. In the garage, for least immediate work. But you’ll hate it. The best long term solution is to move the right-side garden bed as described by others.

  13. in the garage. you’ll find the space. of course, this is coming from the person who has hers at the end of the driveway, in full view of the road (but sometimes sort of blocked by the car!) because the garage is not attached to the house, and there is NO WAY i’m going out to the garage in the dead of winter (or any other time of year, honesty), to dump the trash (which is full of diapers, and therefore, is very stinky). at the end of the driveway is a step from the side entrance, and so is the easiest for us). bbbbuuuuutttt, if we had an attached garage, i’d try to keep in there :)

  14. This might be a terrible idea, but what about on your porch, in the corner against the garage? You could build a fully enclosed “box” with a side that swings open to hide it in. It looks like only a small step onto your porch, and then you would be able to drag it fully on paved ground rather than having to haul it through grass that could potentially be muddy or snowy (if you ever get snow down there? :)) Also could be nice to easily go out your front door to put trash in the bin, under an awning, rather than walking around the side of the house.
    Just thought I’d throw out a completely different idea to consider!

    1. Love that you went outside the box! But the only thing that could potentially cause an issue with that is just that there’s a garden hose on a reel that I use pretty frequently during the summer months that would need to be moved out of the way (the hookup is right in that spot). But I hadn’t even thought of using other spaces like that, so I’m glad you mentioned it!

  15. So I like option #2- with the lattice disguise, so it isn’t a pain to bring out once a week, isn’t an eyesore to look at, and it doesn’t stink up or take up real estate in your garage, much less the garden.

  16. What a great project! I like the idea of putting the new trellis/garbage can hider near the front of the garage. It looks like some plant relocation will be required. A stone path (even if a short one) might be helpful. And while you are building things maybe you can make a coordinating wheeled garbage can cart….something like this:


    or in that family. This will help reduce the horrible din of garbage can dragging. You COULD make the hiding wall part of the cart. I prefer the idea of making the decorative wall part of the landscaping and planting something. I read somewhere that people used to plant tomato plants around outhouses to reduce odor. (No idea if that is truth or fiction.)

    I look forward to seeing what you decide on!

  17. I vote garage, but not just because it saves the work of the project. We have both trash and recycling bins to lug to the curb, and our HOA won’t allow them to visible from the street during most of the week. Face it, when a particularly robust bout of laziness hits, you don’t want to suit up to face the elements or neighbors, just to drag a bag all the way around to the side of the house. It’s just too easy to drop it at the front door for later. I just pop the garage door open and wheel the bins out when I need to get my DIY on. The drawback, of course, is when we pitch raw chicken, eggs, or other stinkables away too far ahead of garbage day and Phoenix summer temps create a staggering olfactory horror.

    1. The stink factor is definitely part of why I don’t want to do this! But my (canopy type) garage door locks when shut, so if I forget to open the garage door before lugging the bins back over to the house, I’d likely put them in front of the door and go back in the house with the intent of going into the garage. And then not. I know myself too well! I think a place in the open will work better, especially since I have so little room in the one-car garage.

  18. I don’t pipe in a lot here, but i have been reading you for years (like, before Charlie kind of years!).
    What if you built a small section of fence, right beside the garage door, instead of having to drag it through the garden?
    Something like this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3c/d0/96/3cd09612fd8f94ebf4a6e538ec45b995.jpg
    This way you only have to drag it down the driveway, and roll it behind the fence. You also get a little bit of privacy for your yard?

    1. I’ve seen that (SO pretty!), and in order to do that, I’d probably have to rip out the bushes and the stuff on the right to get it to stay flush with the line of the house. I’m currently leaning toward building something (perhaps similar?) just behind the first bush, so that it’s not even all that visible from the road. And THANK YOU for reading along that long! Wow! That made my day!

  19. I hate my darn trash cans too! I wish I had the room to build something cute like the to options you show. City living prevents that and we are stuck with a crowded ally way. If I were you, I would stick close to the driveway so you have the hard surface to roll the cans out on those rainy trash days.

  20. Is there a door at the back of the garage to the outside? That’s where we keep our trash can.

    1. Unfortunately, no. The back of the garage is actually a small extra room that houses the water heater and a shelving unit that I use for extra storage. That sounds like a nice feature to have though!

  21. Ugh trash cans always fuck (swear jar?) with the exterior atheistic of the home but I really like the the wooden storage area you found from that other site. It would definitely work nicely if it matched with the same wood finish of your existing fence. I used to put the trash cans behind my fence but it would always be a pain in the ass to take out the trash every week lol. As far as your situation goes, the further you put it back the better. Seems to be some shade back there too so it will be hidden nicely….no one ever likes looking at trash!

    After seeing that first photo of your place, have you ever considered sealcoating the driveway? Mine was falling apart and cracking but I just had it done 2 weeks ago and it looks perfect now. Not that expensive either! Just something to consider! Love the blog by the way. Keep it up.

  22. First, I’m with you on the pink sports gear. I personally like pink but my 14 year old step-daughter loathes it. And it is so hard to find her basketball and softball equipment, socks, just female clothing in general that is not pink. Right now her batting gloves are pink, because that was the only thing that would fit her well.

    About the trash bins, I appreciate your honesty of choosing what will look good vs. knowing your habits. It can look good all day long, but if you are not going to put it in it’s place, what’s the point? In the garage makes the most sense but I would be worried about smell also. So my second choice would be a short wall or lattice on the right side of your house, with a nice vine or rose growing up it.

  23. I can’t stand having my trash and recycling bins in front of my house but heaven forbid, I move them even a few feet away from the front door, my family makes noise about having to walk a few extra steps to toss the trash. I think the easies and most practical solution for you is to put smooth, inexpensive pavers behind the bush to the right of the garage and place your bins there. But place the black bin right next to the bush and the blue/green one behind it. Keep the brighter bin hidden behind the black. That’s what I do now. At one point I put up a piece of bendable bamboo curtain in front of the bins. Got tired of that real quick.