Bag Lady’s trying to decide whether to buy a new trash can to sit next to the desk in my home office, which, full disclosure, is about 12 feet from a trash can, clearly an insurmountable distance if judged by the pile of crumpled Post-its and daily detritus that pools in the corner of said desk for hours at a time, begging for sweet, trashy relief, all the while looking incredibly unsightly.

Hefty decorative vanity wastebasket at Big Lots

So that’s the pro-new trash can argument.

The anti-new trash can argument is that I can stop lazing it up, walk 12 feet each time I need to throw something away and live minutes longer due to that new nanoseconds workout routine.

I know. I’m completely pro-trash can, too.

I’ve got about an 8-inch space to work with and a $20 budget, so let’s get trashy, shall we?

simplehuman 1.5L countertop can, Target*, $14.99


Made of fingerprint-proof stainless steel with a swinging lid and an interior pail that pops out for easy wiping. Super chic. We might have found a winner right out of the gate.

I realize we don’t have a Target yet, but we’re soooo close, so let’s start giving it a look.

Coastwide Professional black plastic indoor trash can without lid, 3.5 gallon, Staples, $5.49

You’ve seen it a million times: Black, narrow, simple. It’s . . . fine, inexpensive and 4.5-star reviewed, but there’s no joie de vivre in this trash can. Or am I asking too much? OK. It’s in the running.

iTouchless SlimGiant polypropylene trash can, 4.2-gallon, Staples, $19.99

About the size and shape of a desktop computer tower with funky cutouts that allow it to hold two bags, one each for trash and recyclables. In mocha black, metallic silver, reactive blue and toffee brown. I’m not sure how many recyclables I generate, but, as I sit here typing and sipping a canned Diet Moxie, I guess it’s a few.


Hefty swing lid wastebasket, 1.4-gallon, Big Lots, $5.50

Black, plastic, squat and pretty adorable, as trash cans go.

With this listing, Bag Lady was thinking, hmm, interesting they used “wastebasket” instead of “trash can” and suddenly, one Google later, I found myself down a GIANT trashy rabbit hole.

Hold on to your cans.

According to a map by then-doctoral student Joshua Katz at North Carolina State University, most of the South, along with Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, prefer the name “trash can,” while for much of the northern half of the country it’s “garbage can.”

It also seems “wastebasket” has more roots in paper tossings and trash can in general waste, but really, that is so much more than you need to know, so, let’s chuck it and forge ahead.


Honey-Can-Do coastal collection chevron trash can, Kohl’s, $54.99

OK, this is a downright cool trash can. Steel, bronze-colored, with a chevron-patterned skeleton, it’s officially The One . . . eventually. Now to wait to stack Kohl’s cash and three coupon codes and she’s mine. But in the meantime:

Best find: Hefy decorative vanity wastebasket, 2.3-gallon, Big Lots, $4

Black, oval, with an artsy textured finish, made it the USA, in-stock in Auburn and less than a latte. Sold! There’s officially no reason to hang on to my trashy ways.

Think twice: About letting your detritus pile up, curbside or desk — that’s just hard to argue.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who cannot believe the nerve of some chipmunks) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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