Here is a simple garbage and trash day routine to adopt in your home, to make getting trash and recycling out of your home easier than ever.
Let me start this article by stating that what I'm suggesting below is not some unusual or innovative idea, but instead a very common routine and habit that many people already practice in their home.
That doesn't mean it isn't worth discussing though, because things don't have to be new or different, especially when they work, and a trash day routine most definitely works.
So if you already do the things I'm suggesting below, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. It's always nice to realize when we're doing something effective, and helps us build confidence that yes, we can do this whole home organization thing.
If, on the other hand, if you read this and it's new information, or you **know** you should be doing these things but aren't, or are not doing them consistently because you forget, or realize your current routine does some of this stuff, but could be improved, all of those scenarios are OK too.
Since we're focused on the Organize Your Trash & Recycling Center Challenge this week, as part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, it's the perfect time to add this routine into your weekly schedule from now on. I promise, you'll see the benefits!
I'm stating the obvious when I say that over time we accumulate trash and recycling in our homes, and if we want to keep our homes clean, decluttered and organized that trash and recycling need to leave as regularly as it comes in.
Most of us have a regular routine for removing trash from our kitchen (if you don't, I suggest taking out kitchen trash daily, as discussed in my article about daily cleaning tasks.)
Why do we have such a kitchen routine? Because otherwise, the trash in the kitchen begins to stink, it becomes too full to keep throwing things away in it, and it becomes inconvenient for us to use the kitchen the way we want, such as to do meal prep, or eat, or whatever else we're doing there.
Taking out the kitchen trash regularly is actually easier than dealing with the hassles of overfull kitchen garbage cans.
Similarly, regularly taking out the trash, and emptying the recycling bins everywhere in your home consistently, as part of a routine, keeps those trash bins and recycling containers from generally reaching a state of overflowing, and becoming too full to serve their function.
If you empty the bins regularly it means that most, if not all of the time, you can easily throw away (or recycle) stuff, like a piece of paper, when you realize it's no longer needed, instead of leaving it in a stack to deal with later because the wastepaper basket is too full to allow more stuff in there.
Emptying the bins and taking out the trash regularly also keeps the flow of stuff leaving your home steady, so no extra trash or garbage is staying in the house accumulating as clutter, and filling up your home.
This routine is not rocket science. Instead, this is just one of those mundane chores of life that needs to be done regularly, to keep your home functioning well and staying clean and clutter free.
This is the type of chore and routine you only really notice if you forget to do it, because all of a sudden you do have a lot of garbage piled up inside your home, or your outside trash can gets too full to allow you to add more bags, and it's days until the next trash pick up. (Ask me how I know! Yes, my family has forgotten trash day a few times and it's always a pain in the butt. Perhaps you relate?)
While I suggest emptying your kitchen trash can nightly, because it's the most used trash can in your home, and because it's the garbage can where you're most likely to throw away food waste which can quickly begin to smell and attract pests, you don't typically have to empty other trash cans around your home that frequently.
For most other trash bins and recycling containers around your home you can empty them weekly, which is, for many people, how often your trash is picked up by a waste disposal service anyway.
Most people have a "trash day" in their neighborhood where the waste disposal that is provided by your city or town, or the private service you pay for, comes to pick up the trash.
In my neighborhood our trash day is on Friday, very early in the morning, which means we do our routine on Thursday night. I have this added to my weekly cleaning schedule as a task I do (or actually, my son does) during that evening each week.
You should add your trash day routine to your weekly schedule as well, on whatever day (or the night before) your neighborhood's trash day occurs.
If you are a person that knows you should do these routine steps, but on the day you're supposed to do it you tend to forget, and let trash day come and go without actually emptying the trash, or taking it out for pick up, I suggest that you write it on your calendar or that day of the week's to do list to remind yourself.
Or, better yet, add this as a routine task in your weekly cleaning schedule that I mentioned above, and that we'll develop as part of the Create A House Cleaning Schedule Challenge, which is another of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges here on the site.
On the day each week you've determined works best for emptying your trash cans and recycling bins, throughout your home, the routine is simple. Here are the steps:
As we discussed more in the declutter old food from the refrigerator mission it's important to regularly get rid of old food from your fridge that's too old for anyone to eat.
Obviously, the best strategy is to eat your leftovers before they go bad, so they don't go to waste. But sometimes life happens, and things don't go exactly perfectly, and so it's important to throw away old leftovers after a few days if not eaten, for food safety reasons.
To keep old food from sitting, unrefrigerated and rotting, in your outside garbage cans for as little time as possible, the night before trash day is the perfect time to empty the refrigerator.
You may want to incorporate into your weekly meal plan that the day before trash day you always eat leftovers, and then during your nightly kitchen clean up after your family eats leftovers, that you throw away anything not eaten and take out that old food from the fridge with the nightly kitchen trash.
Next, on trash day or the night before, make sure someone in the house goes around to every room of your home that has a trash can or recycling bin, and empties each of them into a garbage bag or larger recycling bin, and then takes it out to the outside garbage can.
Once all the trash from inside the house is inside the outdoor garbage can, go ahead and transport it to the curb for pick up on trash day.
Finally, later on trash day, once the trash and garbage has been hauled away and only the empty garbage can remains, bring it back to where it normally sits, outside your home, until the next garbage day.
Simple, huh? That's it, really. The key to the routine is to remember to do it, since the actual implementation of the routine is not that difficult.
As I mentioned above, if you already have this routine down pat, great! Then today you can focus more generally on getting clutter out of your home, such as by donating, selling or trashing it.
However, if you haven't yet adopted this routine, or you need to improve your current trash day routine a bit, by adding some reminders to your calendar or cleaning schedule to do it regularly, or to add some additional step to your routine, like emptying out the old fridge food more frequently, today's the day to be purposeful in doing that.
Implementing this routine will make a big difference in keeping your home clutter free and organized, and it really is simple, so there's no excuse not to make this one of your household habits.
I hope these tips about a trash and garbage day routine have inspired you to adopt one for yourself, or improve the one you've got now.
When you begin to declutter and get organized the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
Make sure to also check out the Organize Your Trash & Recycling Center Challenge here on the site, for lots more tips for organizing the trash and recycling areas within your home.
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!