March 4th, 2021 | Published in DIY
This was perhaps the easiest DIY project in my life, yet what came out of it did take away quite a bit of pain for me.
Like many households out there, we collect recyclables. Every couple of months we take them to the bottle exchange and get a refund for the deposit we paid at the time of purchase, which is between 10¢ and 25¢ depending on the size of the bottle. Collecting and storing large volumes of recyclables requires a system of some kind, each family having one of their own. Most commonly, non-glass items go into plastic garbage bags, and we are no exception here. You keep filling a bag till it’s all packed, tie it down and put aside, then you start a new bag. Pretty simple, eh?
Well, kind of, except dumping recyclables into the bag is somewhat painful if it just lies on the floor. You have to pick it up, open its mouth and unload your temp container into it trying not to spill any items, which you don’t always succeed at. I must admit it, I have uttered swear words more than once when a dumping attempt ended up with some of the pop cans missing the target and scattered all around. Being sick and tired of that, at some point I thought to myself, “There’s gotta be a better way of doing it!”
In the end, the solution turned out to be so simple I feel compelled to share it with everyone because it’s a real pain saver.
Before I go into detail, let me tell you what our recycle process looks like. For temp storage of items like plastic water bottles, milk cartons, pop cans, etc., we use a $2 basket from the dollar store which we keep in a kitchen cabinet.
When the basket is full, I go downstairs to the basement storage room and dump it into the garbage bag. Thank Goodness, now I have a device that makes it very easy to do. I didn’t come up with this design in a flash. At first, I did some googling around looking for phrases like ‘bag holder’, ‘garbage bag holder’, etc. The search turned up several products that might suit my needs, but none of them were ideal. For example, some of them were designed for bags with handles, which wasn’t my case. Others were upright frames to be put on the floor, and I didn’t want the system to take up valuable space in the storage room. Upon some pondering, I put together a list of requirements for my bag holder, which had to have the following properties.
- Hanging (as opposed to standing) design.
- Easy installation and removal of bags.
- Suitability for one handed dumping.
- Cheap materials.
Among the things I was considering were embroidery hoops, wire hangers, paint buckets and some other household items, but I couldn’t think of a way to put them to work. Then one day this little thingy caught my eye, and I suddenly realized that the solution was found!
You know these clamp hangers for dress pants — you can buy them for like $5 for a 3-pack or something in that range. You may even have a few of them lying around in your house. Either way, just grab one and put it to good use as shown below!
Turning a clamp hanger into the perfect bag holder is as easy as 123. You open the clamp, slide one side of an opened bag between the planks and clip them back together. Now you’re almost done, but there is a caveat. As I found out later, there isn’t enough friction between the wood and the plastic, so when the bag gets heavy, it just slides out and falls down on the floor. Can be quite noisy and scare the heck out of you if it happens in the middle of the night! But worry not, the remedy is trivial. After you’ve installed the bag, you kind of force it onto the outer plank by stretching out and pulling down on the plastic, as you can see in the picture below.
That’s all there is to it! Follow these instructions, and within two minutes you will get yourself a device that will make your recycle collection routines so much easier you will wish you had learned this trick long before.
Good luck with your recycling!