A New Way to Take Out the Garbage

Thursday is garbage day on our street. And, today, this Thursday, Mark is out of town. He’s due back tonight, but the garbage pickup will be long done by then. When we spoke last night, he said, “Just forget about it. It’s not that much. We can leave the garbage for another week.”

Well, maybe he can. But, while I have no problem with piles of messes, I have a problem with garbage. On garbage day, it needs to go! But what to do?

The kitchen is on the first floor, a flight of stairs above the big garbage can, the one that goes to the street. The recycling is upstairs, near the kitchen. Our driveway is steep. How do I get everything from the first floor downstairs, and then to the curb?

Normal people first fill the garbage can and the recycling containers. I had a new idea this morning—at 7am even. First put the garbage can and the recycling container in my car. Then fill them.

I have to drive them down to the street anyway. I can’t walk them down to the street. The driveway is too steep. Why try to walk anything into the car? Take almost-empty containers and put them into the car. A transforming idea.

I did. It still took me almost 20 minutes of huffing and puffing to take out the garbage. It’s a good thing I work out! However, the garbage is out. The recycling is out. We have a clean kitchen. Aah.

When Mark lands tonight, he can take the garbage can and the recycling bin up from the street and order will be restored in our house.

Just goes to show you, even the “taking out the garbage” problem can be reframed! Maybe the next time you have one of these problems, consider thinking about it backwards. “What if I do it in the opposite way?” was how I considered it. That might be enough of a trigger to help you think of another idea. It worked for me this morning.

10 thoughts on “A New Way to Take Out the Garbage

    1. johanna Post author

      Hi Yves, I have other alternatives: leave the garbage in the basement (walk it down the stairs, or use our dumbwaiter to get it downstairs or leave it in the kitchen, at least 3 alternatives there). But I didn’t want to! Garbage stinks after a while. I might have asked a neighbor for help. We ask our neighbor for a lot of help–well, I think it’s a lot of help–in the winter when Mark travels. I didn’t want to ask for help today.

    1. johanna Post author

      Amy, When we bought this house, I insisted on a dumbwaiter for the groceries. I believe my words to Mark were, “Dragging the groceries up and down the stairs from the garage will get old fast.” I had no idea how useful that dumbwaiter would be!

      I sent the recycling and garbage down this morning. Two people don’t make too much garbage and recycling :-)) It’s not like it was when the kids lived at home.

      But, we do need a different house. This one doesn’t work for me.

    1. johanna Post author

      Mike, I have to tell you, I was quite tickled to think of “Put the containers in the car first and then fill them.” I chuckled the entire time I took out the garbage. Well, when I wasn’t huffing and puffing :-)) I had quite the workout this morning!

  1. Danny Fought

    Nice! This is a solution I sometimes use when I can’t fit a container where it needs to go when it’s full, but I can fit it in empty and then fill it.

    One more alternative for you: if you compost your organic waste, your trash will rarely stink.

    1. johanna Post author

      Danny, sorry, we have a disposal in the sink. We don’t compost. However, even when I rinse out the chicken container from the store, it still stinks after a few days.

  2. Naomi Karten

    Your driveway is so steep that even people with fully functioning arms, legs, eyes, ears and other body parts could have difficulty getting down to the street, let alone hauling the garbage down there. Putting empty containers in the car, filling them, and driving them to the curb was a brilliant solution. I’m trying to imagine if I would have thought of it and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have.

    Of course, another possibility would have been to put the garbage in the freezer for safe keeping till the following week. Not enough room in the freezer? Buy a standalone freezer capable of holding a week’s worth of garbage! Yeah, such a ridiculous idea that it makes yours even smarter. I guess that’s what they mean by thinking outside the box – or outside the garbage can, in your case. :-) ~Naomi

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