Thursday, January 30, 2014

My favorite appliance

Hello friends, it’s almost the weekend! Thursdays rock.

I was SO hoping to have the mud room (well, the part I’ve been working on) done to show you today but for all that is good, it is taking FOREVER. It seemed like a couple coats of paint were going to finish it up but it’s all kinds of little things. I really hope to have it done to share tomorrow.

Today I’m talking about something I’ve wanted to share for a while – my very favorite appliance. I like sharing what works well in our home (and what doesn’t) and this is one that I couldn’t live without. Well…I would survive – but it would be tough. :)

It’s not the fridge – although I do love it. It’s not the oven (boring), or even my beloved microwave, but instead the appliance that you may have seen in our kitchen island:

trash compactor built into island

(Yes the snow wall is still up. But I’m about over the snow outside so it’s coming down soon.)

So yes, it’s not the prettiest thing, and when my hubby and I built this house this was one of the things I fought against. The money was adding up and I was starting to freak out and I was all, who needs a trash compactor? Hello…it’s just an expensive trash can.

It is pretty spendy for a trash can but let me tell you – it ROCKS. Ours is ten years old and when we picked out appliances I did a mix of stainless and black, which I wish I could take back (and go all stainless). So it’s not something that’s easy to blend into the island, but it’s worth it:

trash compactor built into island

My husband had had one in an old house and loved it. I was skeptical. When we moved in and I looked at the inside and saw how small it was (I’m sparing you pictures of our trash, but it’s small), I was questioning this purchase even more.

And then we started using it and as I mentioned in the title of this post, it is now my most favorite appliance, hands down. Speaking of hands, you don’t use them to open it:

trash compactor

You push on the lever with a foot and it opens up, hands free.

Our trash compactor and the lever on our powder room toilet make for fun times when we have company over. No one knows how to use the trash can or the toilet. We’re great hosts. ;)

When the trash bag starts to get full you just turn the dial and it smashes the trash down. We only use one small compactor bag a week, if that. (That doesn’t include trash in the rest of the house, but the majority of it is in here.)

The only drawback to a trash can like this is finding the bags. You have to use special compactor bags:

trash compactor bags

They’re hard to find – we get ours at Sears and it’s the only place we find them locally. Thankfully we don’t need to buy them that often since we only use one a week.

So there’s more info about my favorite appliance. :) The built in compactor also solves the question of where to put the trash can – there’s not a great spot for one anywhere else in our kitchen.

And I just have to throw in a before of the kitchen island for kicks because it’s come SO far:

Do you have a trash compactor? We don’t know anyone else with one. They are very old school, right? Did you have one growing up?

46 comments:

  1. So many I knew growing up had them and I thought they were the coolest thing. I wanted one when the girls were younger. We are ONLY allowed one trash bin, once per week (that is ALL they will pick up). The other thing was I was tired of constantly having to empty ours. Of course, now it is just the two of us, so not as much need.

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  2. We had one growing up and my parents still have one. I love it!

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  3. We don't have one, never have. But I have known people who have. Yes, old school, but that is perfectly ok. I hate to say, it is snowing, really snowing here in WI. Not sure if this is heading your way or not. But after too many days of -50F wind chills, it is 18F. I will take it. We haven't gotten a whole lot of snow in these parts. And if we don't, this spring we will be in a drought. The snow is much needed. Atleast I can get outside a bit without freezing to death. :)

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    1. Ugh, yes we're expecting more this weekend and a TON potentially next week. And more sub zero temps in February. This has been the roughest winter in a very long time. Stay warm!

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  4. Hi Sarah, I'm with you--the compactor rocks (or smashes rocks is more like it)! We've had the same trusty Whirlpool compactor since we built our home in 1990. I agree with all the perks you pointed out. The only downside is cleaning the interior masher thingie (and I do that only occasionally). I see that yours is a GE, and they may offer a slide-in stainless panel for the front. Ours had the black panel like yours until I ordered a stainless one several years ago. (If GE doesn't offer one, maybe a Whirlpool panel would fit). In two weeks, we'll finally be replacing our white refrigerator with a French-door stainless one, and I'll be able to join you in singing the praises of that appliance, too. All of our appliances will finally match again and it only took 23 years! BTW, your blog is one of my absolute favorites! -- Dorothy B. in TN

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    1. Thank you Dorothy! I will look into that! Years ago I was going to try to use a piece of metal cut down but worried about the edges and that I'd have to glue it permanently.

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    2. I was going to suggest covering it with stainless steel sheeting. :)

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  5. We inherited one with our new house thinking we'd get rid of it. We LOVE it. But they are pricey to replace!

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  6. We had one (I had to rack my brain for awhile like it was a dream!) in our fancy kitchen and dream home about 7 years ago in VA. It worked for awhile, then broke. There was a place for a key--we didn't know where the key was. I recall someone coming out to fix it and said they couldn't without the key. We then used it as a regular pull out garbage until we moved about two years later. While it worked it was really cool though! :)

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  7. I LOVE our compactor! Ours doesn't match our kitchen either, but it's worth the sacrifice :) My husband travels for work Monday through Friday, leaving me home with our kids. While I'm perfectly capable of taking out the trash, I almost never have to. I just keep crushing it when it gets "full" and he takes it out on Sunday. We used to use the paper bags, but my husband now prefers the plastic ones. They come on a roll, much like regular trash bags. We usually buy them at Walmart, but I think Home Depot has them, too.

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  8. I LOVE this post. We have one in our house and I did a similar love affair post about our compactor when I painted it (ours was classic pea green from the 60's). But everyone thinks we are all weird in having one but we love it. We actually call it our party trick. Not many people are familiar with these so we like to show off how well it compacts. People start off laughing and stop when their jaw hits the floor. So on the same page with you!

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  9. We want one so bad.. I have tried several time to select a section of cabinet that I could install one in.. as soon as I can get that issue right we'll be getting one. thanks for the tip about where to get the bags..

    snow n ice here too..

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  10. I used to nanny for a family who had one and I.hated.it. In my opinion, even though they "compact" the trash, they're too small! We have a lovely Simple Human stainless steel trash can (probably my favorite thing in our kitchen), and we don't even take the trash out once a week. Maybe every 8-9 days, unless something is really stinky obvs. However, I don't know if I'm totally against trash compactors or built-in trash cans in general. My mom has a trash can built into a pull-out cabinet in their island and I hate it because you have to open the cabinet to throw something away, and then if your hands are full, forget about it! At least a trash compactor has a step button, lol.

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  11. Picture it ... Sicily 1910 ... oh sorry, that's another story. It's the mid 1970's and my dad, an airline pilot for a major airline, had just made captain. This, along with the prestige of the title, came a fairly large pay increase. My parents sold their modest Southern California ranch for a hip 70's pad in a posh area of town. With more than quadruple the square footage of our old house came trash compactor. It took us all a while to get used to it but after a few months it was the very coolest thing we had. Even then I didn't know anyone that had one. Like you it was one bag per week and I don't even think we put our trash to the curb but once a month. I so wish I had one right now and would get one in a second if we ever did a kitchen remodel. There's only bit of advice: when you drop the gold and diamond watch your fiancé gave you in the compactor, consider it gone. Love your blog!!!

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  12. I have honestly never seen a house with one! I might have to add that to the list of things in my dream kitchen!

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  13. My parents have a compactor in their cabin in Colorado. Since they really can't leave trash outside because of bears - yikes!! - they take the compacted trash to the communal dumpster only once a week. When we visit, we kind of make excuses to throw out some trash cause they're fun but more importantly they work great!!

    Can't wait to see your finished laundry room, Sarah...know it will be great!!

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  14. I just came across your blog and I must same I am in LOVE. My boyfriend and I purchased our first home back in November and have been renovating it since. I love so many of your ideas for home décor! If you get a chance I would love you to check out our renovation process! Eventually we will finish… the process seems endless! http://www.thetinyprofessional.blogspot.com

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  15. Had one loved it! Don't have one now :(

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  16. I love the look of your kitchen island. I have darker cabinets and have been wanting to do the island in white. You have resurfaced that DIY project for me. Thanks!

    Sharon
    http://houseconfetti.com/

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  17. My grandparents built their home from scratch with their own designs about 50+ years ago. Almost 20 years ago, after my grandparents passed away, my family moved into my mom's childhood home. one of the "cool" things my grandma had to have was a trash compactor. I remember being little and LOVING to push the button to make it run.
    I was over at my parents the other day and looked at the compactor and pushed the button and IT STILL WORKED. amazing!!!!

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  18. Back in the late 70s, my husband and I had two German Shepherds. They developed a habit of getting into the kitchen garbage can when we left the house so we started putting the garbage can on the counter when we went out. We quickly found out they could still get into the garbage by knocking the can off the kitchen counter. Our solution was to buy a trash compactor. Although we no longer have big dogs, the trash compactor has become one of the appliances I depend on the most and I would never want to be without one. However, now that we live in the country and our garbage is picked up on the main road (the distance of about a long city block away from our house), the trash compactor has become even more coveted in our household!

    We tried the plastic compactor bags but found they tear very easily so we went back to using the coated paper ones. Yes, sometimes they can be a little difficult to find. We get ours at (Super) Walmart but on occasion, they have been out for extended periods of time so we try to stock up when they do have them on the shelf. When they are out, we usually point it out to the manager so they can make sure they are on order.

    If you are interested, here they are on the Walmart site: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bestair-Clean-Kitchen-Paper-With-Plastic-Liner-Compactor-Bags-12ct/15724180 Or, you can show this number 0066648713350 to a Walmart associate to find them in your store. If they don't regularly carry them, you can ask them to order and stock them for you.

    Also, you might want to check out this stainless steel film for making non-stainless appliances look like stainless steel: http://www.thekimsixfix.com/2012/05/turning-white-appliances-into-stainless.html

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  19. Here's another link for the stainless steel film:

    http://www.fauxsteel.com/

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  20. You don't have to use the paper bags. I get the plastic ones at Costco. The roll lasts me like a year or something, since we only use one a week, but they are so much cheaper per bag than buying a small box at Target. Try them - you'll be surprised how well they work - - and are so much cheaper than the paper.

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  21. I think you guys are great hosts! :)

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  22. Oh my goodness!! My compactor is also my favorite appliance. We built our house 16 years ago and I am not sure what I ever did with out that appliance. My parents have had one for nearly 30 years - maybe even longer. We also get our bags from Sears - but we use the plastic ones. I tried some plastic ones from Walmart, but they just aren't the same. My mom uses the paper ones and she swears by the Walmart ones. When we started buying that at Sears they were about $7.99 - now they've about doubled - not sure why that is, but I LOVE my compactor!!

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  23. I want that. Ha! We live in the country (too far out for the dumpster route) so we have to haul our trash in the trunk of our cobalt 6 miles one way to the dump... not to mention PAY each time we dump. It is so annoying, the trash is rancid by the time we've got enough to make a trip worth it, and it takes my hubby a couple hours each weekend on his day off to gather it up, load it up, drive to to the dump, and unload. Would LOVE to have one of these!!!

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  24. I am addicted to your blog! Great Post! Looking forward to get more information from you. I have an older home with so many ideas in my head, but I also have 2 little ones that make doing things difficult. So for now I will decorate vicariously through you! Windshields Repairing Techniques

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  25. We moved into our house about 1 1/2 years ago where there was a trash compactor in the kitchen. Both of us had never had one so we weren't quite sure what to expect. We absolutely love it and only have to take our trash out about once a week sometimes longer! I didn't realize that we are supposed to use special bags! We have been using regular size plastic trash bags since we have moved in and haven't had any problems.

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  26. Love your blog - hate my identical GE compactor. Now don't misunderstand - this is my third compactor and the only one I dislike. My others (we built this house 9 years ago so this is a new compactor) had a ram that could be put in a LOCK position to aka really compact our trash. This is a whimpy down and up in comparison. Ok, I'm a spoiled brat and this is a first world problem. You can use Home Depots trash bags in this compactor. All you have to do is "make" holes to go over the plastic thingies.
    Denise

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  27. I have one of these and I have always had one and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. We find bags at WalMart. I live in Oklahoma so maybe check Walmart!

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  28. After seeing this post and reading all the raving comments, I suppose I should actually TRY ours before ripping it out? It was already here when we bought the house almost 6 years ago and we've never used it. Ever. The idea of smashing stinky trash (raw chicken stuff, potato peels, etc) and then letting it sit there grosses me out, and I just want it gone. It's on the {infamous} "one of these days I'm gonna take a sledgehammer to it" list :)

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  29. They have contact paper at Home Depot and I think Lowes that looks like stainless steel. My sister had a black dishwasher and used it on hers so it would match her appliances,,.worked perfect!! You should give that a try!

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  30. We had one when I was growing up. No one knew where the trash can was when they visited. We loved it, it took regular bags. That thing lasted forever. It would randomly break when it was around 20 years old and then suddenly start working again. We do not have one, but my mom just bought us a trash can that is motion activated. My kids have never wanted to throw away trash so much!

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  32. We have one.. I put the fake SS film on mine. I LOVE IT.
    http://www.thekimsixfix.com/2012/05/turning-white-appliances-into-stainless.html Also, you can get plastic trash compactor bags at Costco. So much better than the paper ones!

    We have to pay PER BAG to throw away trash in our city, so we can get away with only ONE bag of trash per week (for a family of 5) That is amazing!

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  33. Have heard so many negatives from people with new kitchens about them. Complaints I just don't have. Love mine and the ones before. The one I have was free 4 years ago, donations of appliances had to be less than 5 years old. I was giddy hauling this home. It has not missed a beat in use, stainless and looks new.. I buy my bags at Sams, huge supply. They are heavy plastic, 2 rolls of 50 each and have not had any tearing problems, about 5 cents per bag. .Someone tell me where I can get food storage bags for cheap. Those things are running close to 10 cents a bag now, even at the dollar store.

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  34. Hi there - I see you wish you could go all stainless and no black appliances. I'm curious why you might be against the black. Reason I ask is we are debating going stainless or black and I'm leaning toward all black because I find stainless shows finger prints really well. I'm interested to hear what you think! Thanks!!

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  35. I love ur blogspot and your smart ideas..best wishes...

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  36. Had one and hated it. It was original to the house (mid-80s) and smelled! We never understood how to keep it clean. The masher would get gunked up with the trash when it compacted and which just seemed really gross. We ended up just using it for trash and then finally took it out (too expensive to replace). The problem was, what do you do with the blank area in your cabinet wall?

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  37. my grandparents had a trash compactor, but it never worked as far back as I can remember. Instead, they used it store things in. Grandpa used to hide his Nutty Bars in it so no one else would eat them [until I found his hiding place and then he had to find a new one ;) ] The last time I looked in the trash compactor it was full of ziploc bags full of plastic silver wear!

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  38. My ex-husband absolutely didn't want one. The first thing I purchased after the divorce was final was a portable trash compactor because there was not anywhere to build one into our cabinets. I loved it. Now I've remarried and he hates it and won't use it. What is the problem some men? lol

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  39. Our previous home had one and now I really miss it. I was thinking about it just the other day and its funny you should wright about it. Like another commenter we have dogs that will knock the trash over sometimes. Not a nice surprise when you get home. When we can remodel the kitchen I would like 2. One for trash and one for recycling. Plus I liked the clean look and a real place for the garbage, not a can at the end of the counter. Under the sink is too small for our family. It seems like builders don't think about the garbage.

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  40. We've had ours for 25+ years (Sears) and love it. If it broke, I'd run out and buy another immediately. We use regular big trash bags.

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  41. I love mine too! I get my bags at Walmart and they are just as nice and cheaper.

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  42. Hi Sarah! I just discovered your blog and I love it! Thank you for the inspiration. Im going to make our own headboard now. Something that I've wanted to do for months but after reading your page on it I think I can do it! I'll definitely be tuning in now! Keep up the great work.

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  43. Hi Sarah. My parents remodeled their house about 13 years ago and had a trash compactor installed. It was probably the best decision they've ever made! Now that I live in my own house, my husband hates the fact that he has to take out the trash practically every day. I am hoping we can eventually get a trash compactor of our own. They things are genius!

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