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A Composting Experiment

My son got us into composting. He is slowly becoming more eco-friendly and composting was his next step. I figured it was a good idea, or at least worth a try. So I did some reach and found that we could get started for a small amount of money, so I agreed to try it out. Like any new habit (saving scraps for this project) it takes time and practice to see if you will adapt and incorporate it into your life.

Here is what we did.

First I read up a little bit on the internet and decided it was doable for us. I knew we needed to purchase a composting container, since we had tried the wire compost bin kind many years ago to keep lawn clippings, but it was too difficult for me to turn the materials and if you don’t turn the materials it take much longer to turn to compost, so we gave up on it. Here is a good tutorial on how to build a wire bin by Urban Food Garden. I wanted something that was going to be easier to use, so I purchased the Yimby Tumbler Composter on Amazon.

I like that it is up off the ground (so I don’t have to bend down) and has two compartments. That way one side of the container is “cooking” while you are filling the other side with material to compost. It was a project to put together, but not difficult and in the end I like that the bin turns easily and seems tightly constructed. The turning will speed up the composting action, so I like that.

Then I looked at how we were going to gather and keep kitchen scraps until we added them to the composting bins. I liked and purchased the Relaxed Gardner Kitchen Compost Bin (0.8 gallon) from Amazon.  A couple of reasons why I decided on this. 1. I like the looks of it and if it’s going to sit on my kitchen counter I better like the way it looks. 2. It has an inner bin (the black one) that holds the scraps. You carry it outside to dump the scraps into the bin composting bin. This eliminates scrap bags that you use with other types on kitchen counter containers. It’s essential to have a bin with a charcoal filter (this one has one in the lid) to keep from attacking bugs and eliminating smells. So far this has worked great for us.

Purchasing both of these products came to around $100.

It has been surprising how much material we put into the kitchen bin. We seem to fill it in 2 or 3 days, so that is how often we empty it.

We are still learning what can be composted and what can not. Here are some lists that I found that we are referencing while we are learning the process:

10 Things You Can (and Should) Compost by Small Footprint Family

Composting by Earth Easy

What You Can and Can Not Compost by How to Compost

I’ve learned that your compost should containing 1 part “green” to 2 parts “brown” material. What does that mean? It means that kitchen scraps and grass clippings (the green material) should account for 1/3 of the material we add to the compost bins out back. The other 2/3 of material (the brown material) will be dried leaves, so it’s a good thing that we are starting in the fall. Here is a helpful video I found, called How to Use a Compost Tumbler by Planet Natural Garden Supply. It has some great information to get you started.

My son agreed to be the one to take the composting from the kitchen counter to the bin in the backyard. Good deal on my part since we approaching the winter months and I am not a fan of the cold.

I am hoping that the “fruits” of our labor will become apparent next Spring and Summer, when we will see our garden thrive with the extra nutrients the composting will provide.


You can find some good information about composting in


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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

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