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The Easiest Way To Hide The Kitchen Trash Can

April 11, 2024

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Here's how to organize the space under your kitchen sink and hide that icky garbage pail, when you don't have room for a fancy built in trash cabinet.

It's an easy DIY and one you can accomplish in an about an hour.

Organizing Under The Sink With Pull Out Garbage Pail text over photo of open under sink cabinet doors

Whenever I embark on a new crafting journey or contemplate one of my house DIYs, I always, always consider the pretty.

It's usually the driving force behind my makeovers, since I'm definitely a form over function girl.

And unless I have absolutely no choice in the matter, or it's repair, like when the pipe burst under the kitchen sink, and I just needed the water to stop rushing onto my beautiful wood floor, it's always where I start planning.

With that most important question...but how will it look?

Well, in a complete and total reversal, when I started planning today's project, pretty never even entered my mind.

The kids had both recently left the nest and without the constant hustle and bustle, I began to notice a few things I hadn't had time to examine before.

Like the inside of the cabinet under the sink.

And all I can say is...ick.

Sink Skirt that opens like a cabinet door

Yes, I cleaned under there on a semi-regular basis, but the cabinet doors were always covered by a darling pom pom sink skirt.

I was so blinded its lovely cottage style charm, I never paid attention to what was hiding inside.

The cracked pail.  The rusted and sticky metal caddy, the old cleaning supplies. The chipped cabinet paint

And all the nastiness that accrues when people miss toss their garbage and miss - because the trash can no longer pulls out of the cabinet - and mom doesn't catch it right away.

Yeah. Not pretty. At all.

Let's clean this up text over a stained under sink base cabinet

Of course, once I noticed it, I couldn't think about anything else.

The original plan was to simply take everything out, wipe the shelves down, get a new trash pail and put it all back.

However, as soon as I saw the stains on the wood shelving, I decided I needed something to protect it...and cover those stains up.

Funny, but it didn't even enter my mind to purchase something floral or checked, like I used in my silverware drawers.

Or in my pantry.

I just went for the sturdiest, heavy duty, waterproof plastic cabinet shelf liner I could find.

Plastic HDX under sink mat in graphite gray
My Under Sink Mat//Similar Mat

It was, after all, going under the sink, and as I said, we'd already been down the leaky faucet road once before.

As far as DIYs go, it was a relatively easy install. First we removed that rusted pail caddy, Then we  measured, cut the plastic mat to size and fit it inside the cabinet.

We did use a bit of double sided carpet tape to lock it in place since the mat didn't have any adhesive.

Using Carpet Tape to secure Shelf Liner in place under sink cabinet
Carpet Tape

We cut the double sided tape to fit the inside perimeter of the base cabinet, stuck it down and placed the plastic shelf liner on top of it.

Then I used my hand to smooth it down.

Smoothing waterproof shelf liner down with hand

I don't know if that was truly necessary, but it definitely hasn't budged in the few months it's been down. So it was a worthwhile add.

And while pretty wasn't my original goal here, I have to say, I was smitten with the fresh, new look.

Gray shelf liner in under sink cabinet with a pink and white vase tucked inside

I'm editing this to add, that when I originally shared this post, Diana, from Nana Diana Takes A Break, commented that she lined her sink cabinet base with vinyl stick tiles. She even did a post about and you can see it by checking out her link.

We have a bunch of these old tiles hanging around. 

A box of brown vinyl floor stick tiles

I think that is a genius idea. They would protect the wood base from water, wipe clean in a jiffy and they would stay in place.

And...if you did end up with a leaky mess, you could easily pull them up and replace them all or only the ones that are damaged. Thanks Diana!

Next up, we installed a new rolling trash can caddy...the one you see in that photo. 

We realized that while it had been a dependable workhorse, 20 years in service was clearly its limit. So we ordered a new one. It's literally the easiest way to hide the kitchen trash can.

You see, we don't have one of those fancy built in trash and recyclables cabinets. We didn't have room for it in either house, when we added the kitchens.

And I'm not a fan of the garbage can sitting out in the kitchen. Yes, I know there are pretty ones, but I've never been a fan.

I've always wanted the pail out of everyone's way, out of the kids' and pets' reach and, most importantly, out of my sight.

So instead, in cottage number one and cottage number two, we purchased one of these metal pull out trash container/ baskets and mounted it under the sink.

Rev-A-Shelf Sliding Trash Bin Kit
Pull Out Trash Caddy//Double Pail Trash Caddy

Like I said, the last one we had worked perfectly for decades, so we literally bought the updated model and installed it in the same holes that we had used to secure the old one.

We didn't even need to read the instruction manual. 

The company did have a handy video to walk us through the steps if needed though. 

The kit we purchased was made so the basket could be positioned two ways depending on the placement of the sink pipes and the depth of the cabinet.

Installing a Rev-A-Shelf under sink kit.

They do make larger kits, that have two baskets, but our space is cramped, so we have a single basket, set up front, with a small basket for soap, etc., behind it.

Tidy and shiny.

Some people might consider that pretty, right?

Under Sink metal Storage Basket with soap containers inside

The trash container is a good size and comes with the kit.

Plus, it has a nifty handle to pull the pail out of the cabinet, to drop trash in.

I have to say, it glides so easily and effortlessly, that so far no one has missed.

Rev-A-Shelf Under Sink Trash Caddy with hand pulling on handle

So while it may not be a space filled with tulips or decoupaged roosters.

It looks and functions a whole lot better that it did before.

And when it comes to garbage, isn't that the goal?


What's under your sink?

Happy DIYing, Friends!
Kim Signature

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  1. I’m afraid to open up the cupboard door under our sink because 1 million plastic bags will fall out. We need to get organized too so thanks for the inspiration! Yours looks great!

    1. Haha! Yes! It's the same over here, Sara. There were so many plastic bags and old soap containers under there, it was ridiculous. All clean least until the kids come home again!

  2. Kim, I've got to get my "handyman" to read this. For years I had our garbage under the sink cupboard and it always worked even without the handy "slideout" feature.When I decided to add a curtain to the opening (another good idea of your swing out which I didn't have) I thought about dirty hands pulling back that pretty curtain and opted for a stand alone can outside the cupboard. I have stuck with it but have to move it every time I open the dishwasher and, God forbid, I don't move it to take a photo! Long story short I need my "handyman" to see this.. xxoJudy

    1. I hope it's helpful, Judy!! I totally get it, I love having a hidden pail. The door mounted curtains have worked out really well, too. I really wanted a skirted sink, but I knew that it would never stand up to everyone pushing it aside to get to that pail and I was not about to put it out in the open. (Gasp!) I'm in the process of revamping that curtain design though, so I can change them out more often to wash them and whenever I see a pretty fabric pattern! 😉 You’ll have to let me know how your pain project goes! Xo

  3. I bet it feel so great to clean out from under the sink and that rolling garbage can and storage in the back is really cool. I need to clean out under my sink. There is so much stuff under there that probably could go to Goodwill and stuff to throw out. Just have to get motivated to do it lol!
    Happy Thursday. Hugs. Kris

    1. I hear you, Kris! There was a lot of stuff under there I'd forgotten I had...vases, mop pads and even a really nice old picture frame! Like, what in the world?!? It's all clean now though and having a functioning sliding pail has been great. Less mess all around. Yay!! Happy Thursday and good luck with your own clean out!

  4. This is a great idea! I didn't even know these pull out cans existed. We don't have room for a cabinet pail either and I HATE looking at that can. Thanks for sharing, I need to go shopping now. PS- I think your can is pretty!!

    1. Thanks so much! It certainly is a lot prettier now! Haha!! It doesn't look that awful in the before pictures, but that's only because I didn't share the really grimy ones. I didn't want to upset anyone's lunch!! 🤣

  5. Our old house had one of these pull out pails. It was there when we moved in. Never thought about when we moved, but now I'm wondering why not. It really worked out great.

    1. I'm so glad it was a helpful reminder. It really is a helpful little organizer. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  6. Great job Kim. We are fortunate to have a trash compactor that is hidden by a cabinet front. I think your pull out makes perfect sense.

    1. Thanks Linda! It does make it more organized. I think trash compactors are great. They're not popular in our area, I wonder why, they seem like an awesome kitchen addition.

  7. It's not pretty under my sink! I'm checking out your mat. I never knew they sold something like that and as we've also had leaks under there, it's a great idea!
    I like the pull out bin too. Now you have me thinking!

    1. Mari, I can't believe that out of all my cabinets, I left that one uncovered. I mean, honestly, what's happening in my silverware drawer that it requires a liner, but the messy, garbage and water pipe cabinet did not? I was blinded by pretty and not practicality. 😉 I don't know if you saw Diana's comment below, but she lined her cabinet with vinyl stick tiles. I think that's even better! I might need to redo!! Haha!!

  8. I hear you. I had one of those roll out cans in my last house bur for some reason, it won't fit under my sink here...something about the way the pipes were installed. So, I have a small can in there that I end up emptying every day of life.
    On the base of all my bottom cabinets I installed stick and peel flooring tiles and it works great. I got some that looks marbelized in white with grey veining and it is so easy to keep everything clean under there now. I also have that in all my bathroom cabinets on the inside bottom of the cabinet.
    Have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

    1. Ok, this is genius!! Stick tile, under the sink? That is a fabulous idea and now I'm going to have to amend this post and add your little trick!! Of course, I'm also going to have mention this to Mr. DIY and tell him we might need to remove the garbage caddy, one more time, to install some stick tiles, which I have in the basement...and then put it back! Again. He's going to love me...and you! 😉 xo

  9. I need to grab some of that shelf liner for my kitchen sink cabinet! I keep all of my kitchen cleaners under mine, along with cleaning rags, a big container of vinegar, the fire extinguisher, paper towel dispenser, and water filters. I can handle the trash can sitting out - its a stainless steel Simple Human one we've had for years - but I cannot stand the paper towels sitting out like decor! Ha! Feels good to tidy up under the sink and make it so organized, right?!

    1. Yes, it really does!! Can you believe I never thought of putting a liner down there? I mean if ever a cabinet needed that...hahaha! I agree about the paper towels. Ours are out since the kids were always using them, but now that it's just us, I should tuck them away! Great suggestion...and here's to my next organizing project!

  10. This is a huge improvement! The little things like this that make life a bit easier at home feel so good.

    1. You are so right, Maria! A clean and organized home makes my feel like I have a clean and organized brain! Hahaha!! And thanks!

  11. When we re modeled our kitchen we made a spot for our trash can, out of sight, yet handy. :-)

    1. I know they have really pretty one, wooden with roosters on them, etc. I just like it out of sight...

  12. Kim, I have the same thing with the garbage can under the sink. I love having the garbage can out of sight. It's nice to have your hubby install one for you!

    1. I was very grateful that he was willing to replace it that night, Julie. It was time for a new pail for sure!

  13. The best thingI ever did was tro add a pull out metal tray under our kitchen sink. It keeps everything neat. I'm with you, I haver never been a fan of the garbage being visible in the kitchen.
    This turned out beautifully!

    1. It really is a great little invention and keeps everything tidy...and yes, no one wants to see the garbage.Thanks!!

  14. I need this in my life. Our dustbin is such an eyesore in the kitchen and it's always in the way.