Homemade Pallet Trash Can

My husband loves building out of pallet wood. I've already shown a couple of projects my husband made out of pallet wood (sometimes with my help, but more often than not without). He likes building out of pallet wood because it's free, easy to find, and you end up with a nice rustic look, of which my husband is fond.
Quite a few times in the past I came home and found my husband with a ready made project built from pallets, waiting for me.

The other day, I came home from teaching a foraging class and saw my husband's latest project- a trash can, or as my South African husband would say, rubbish bin, made from pallet wood. I hadn't known this, but for a long time our garbage can was irritating my husband, as he finds the standard plastic one to be quite ugly, and not space efficient at all. The fact that trash cans are generally either round or trapezoidal makes them leave empty space at the sides, so you can fill up the trash bags less and need to take the garbage out more often.
The covers for most garbage cans tend to be swinging ones, which often get dirtied when you throw in the trash, since even once you pick them up they swing back into place. And at least with our previous one, the hole in which you need to place the garage sometimes isn't big enough, which meant that often when trying to empty the dust pan into the trash can, it didn't fit, and some stuff spilled out onto the floor.

And so, this pallet trash can.

At first glance it seems quite small, especially because it doesn't have the added height that most trash cans have from the cover. And because it is wider than most garbage cans, it looks more square-ish and hence more short and squat, despite the fact that this is exactly the height of our old garbage can. Its volume is much bigger than our old garbage cans, and therefore needs to be emptied less often. And aesthetically it matches the decor in our house, since its in our living room/kitchen that currently has two end tables made out of pallet wood as well.

My husband made it by measuring the space in which he wanted to put the trash can, and cut pallet wood to the height he wanted it, and then attached the pieces of wood together by screwing two pieces of wood along the back lengthwise, one at the top and one at the bottom. He then made side and back pieces and bottom the same way and screwed them all together.
He then made a cover similarly...

... And attached it to the back end of the garbage can with hinges. The hinges are the only part of this project that cost any money- $2 total, $1 per hinge, and we even had them in the house already.

The cover either stays up or down, no swinging shut, so it makes it easier to throw out garbage without getting the cover dirty, and since the opening is big enough to fit the dustpan in, no issue with stuff spilling out.

Lastly, because it is wider than the standard garbage can, our garbage bags fit snugly over the sides and don't fall inward, so no worries about getting trash between the bag and the trash can as sometimes would happen when the loose garbage bag would slip inward.

I'll admit this is not a perfect design. I was googling pallet trash cans and saw ones that have a door on the side to make it easier to remove the garbage bag, and that seems like a good idea. The slight problem with the trash can my husband built is that because of the piece of wood at the top inside, the bag filled with garbage doesn't always want to come out so easily, so he'll probably end up filling it the whole way with more slats of wood going the whole way down, so there is nothing sticking out anymore.

Either way, I thought some of you DIYer readers might appreciate this piece that my husband built, and use it as a starting point.

I'm thinking of having my husband do similar and make us a laundry hamper the same way, since I really dislike the laundry hamper we currently have in our room.

To see more pallet projects my husband (and I) made:

Pallet End Table/Nightstand (currently in our living room, along with its twin, as end tables)

Pallet Storage Bench (currently in our backyard)

And last but not least...

 photo IMG_0600_zpsa5591e91.jpg

Do you ever build out of pallet wood? What have you made with pallet wood/what was your favorite project? Do you have any pallet wood projects on your to-do list? (I'm hoping to get another pallet project built today, and if it comes out nicely, I'll share that.)

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. What a great idea to make a square trash can. The round ones are so ineffficient, plus sometimes they are top heavy and, like you said, getting the dust pan into the trash can be messy if you're not careful. This post makes me want a new trash can!

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