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DIY Budget Composter!!!

Hey guys!!!  Excuse me while I get all DIY up in yo’ bizznaaaaaz!!!!  A couple of weeks ago I made myself an $18.99 (plus tax!) composter, for real!!!!



Hang out with me for a while as I entrance you with my siren’s song about DIY composting.  You’re excited already…I can FEEL it!!!

People, composters are EXPENSIVE!!!  I am NOT paying $60 plus for something that is going to give me dirt!!!  Rich dirt, mind you but still dirt is dirt is dirt.  Actually, let’s all be honest here.  I’d LOVE to spend $60 plus on a composter but this sister ain’t got that kind of green if youknowwhatImean.  And “green” as in “bones” not “green” as in gardening….oh, you know what I’m getting at!!!!

Canadian Tire was the only place that had the perfect special type of garbage can that I was looking for.  I love me some Canadian Tire.  If you’re not a Canuck, check out this post for an explanation about my obsession with the majestic establishment that is Canadian Tire.  What you are going to require for this project is a plastic garbage can with a LOCKING lid.


















I scored this sucker for $18.99!!!  A plus was the fact that it had wheels.  Composting on the go.  And it MUST have a locking lid as you shall see why later in the post.


















Then you get yourself a mean ol’ lookin’ 1/2″ drill bit.  The pansies in the background don’t hurt either.


















Start drillin’ into the garbage can lid.  The reason for drilling holes into your budget composter is to promote air flow to help all of your bits + pieces to decompose efficiently.  But don’t get crazy on it like I did or else you’ll be bustin’ through it!

Lightly ease into it with the drill + let it start the hole for you.  Don’t just press into the poor lid with your brute force like I did – it’s actually not as durable as you’d think.  Thus, the busted up lid.

Then, start drilling into the body of the garbage can.  There was no rhyme or reason.  Just felt like drilling a whole lot.


















Ta-daaaaa!!!!  A hole-y composter!!!  I guarantee you, you’ll have fun drilling into this sucker.  If you don’t find some exhilaration in this activity, write to me + we’ll go find stuff to drill into + I’ll show you what an awesome time it is!!!


















Fall is officially here.  Time to go out + rake those dry, perfectly-ripe-for-composting leaves!


















The key to composting is to layer high carbon (“brown”) content items like: shredded paper (no wax!), cardboard, horse or cow manure, dead leaves, pine needles, old top soil, etc.


















With high nitrogen (“green”) content items like: veggies, fruits, grass clippings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.  I keep my kitchen scraps under the sink in a plastic container that I found at a restaurant supply store.

















I line it with newspaper since it can be composted + helps to keep the container yucky, slimy free.  This way I can just dump the whole situation in the composter kit + kaboodle!


















A sidenote: if you chop your scraps into smaller pieces, the decomposition process will happen quicker.  Another thing that Jeff suggested to me before I found my kitchen scrap bin, was to freeze the scraps.  This way it wasn’t attracting fruit flies + getting all stinky in my kitchen!  How does Jeff know these things?!  Does he secretly read Mother Earth News when I’m not looking????!!!

Ok, in goes the kitchen scraps (high nitrogen content).


















Mmmmm.  Delish.  Just kidding.  Here again with another layer of the high carbon content.  Some pine needles from oh-so-generous-ever-shedding pine tree in the front yard.


















Then what you gotta do is give it enough water to emulate “a moist sponge”.  Don’t saturate it.  That just sounds all kinds of wrong.

























Finally, put the lid back on – this is where I emphasize the locking lid as a key player here!!!!  Put your garbage can composter on it’s side + give it a roll around!!!

“Tumbling” as green thumbs like to call it.  Check me out in my new, sexy Vancouver wear!!!  Sweats, y’all!!!  Can’t touch this!!!!   Hell-ooooo Pacific Northwest!!!  I have arrived!!!!  Cha-cha-chaaaa!!!!

Anyways, the tumbling is to help aerate all of the goodie bits inside, helping the oxygen move around to heat up + decompose all the hearty ingredients you thoughtfully combined in your budget composter.
Here is my Sensei.  Everything I’ve learned here in this post comes from ravenously studying this video:



P. Allen Smith, y’all.  His preppy, all American, Anglo-Saxon swagger is off the chain!!!  I loves me some P. Allen.

Hopefully if you’re strapped by your budget, or you’re simply cheap – this will help you on your way to enriched soil greatness, straight from your backyard + kitchen!!!  We’ll see how this all works out for me!  I will keep you in the know!

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. don’t knock dirt girl!
    i miss public television…

    October 23, 2012
    • Gurrrrl, you are so right!!! Leave it to you to enlighten me with some good ol’ PBS!!! Love ya for keeping on the straight + narrow!!!

      October 23, 2012
  2. Lizzzzz #

    This looks great Shells! I was thinking of making one of these too but at our house in NV we had some trouble with “RATS”! Ick, bleck, yucky!!!! SO, since it’s so warm here, the rodent pop could be worse me thinks. So, I am looking at one that is on a stand, off the ground and spins like a bing-o tumbler. HOweva’, this bad boy is gonna set us back 100 clams – Yikes! I recommend keeping yours higher up to try and keep those little guys out because, beware – they will munch a hole right through that plastic! – little buggers! Good luck…

    October 23, 2012
    • Hey Liz! I’ve been reading a ton of stuff about composting from a book I found at the thrift store. Apparently, a common mistake is to have too many “greens” in your compost. Too many food scraps and fresh plant material can make your compost stink. Remedy by adding more “browns,” like dried leaves or straw, or sprinkle a thin layer of chemical-free sawdust after each layer of kitchen scraps. I’m gonna go outside right now + give my composter a whiff!!! Oh, I DO need to get a life!!!! But yes, I think I need to put the composter on some concrete blocks!

      October 23, 2012
  3. kenny daddO/Papi nishino #

    Yike’s, Nan, what a ambitious ordeal, Composting,
    but good job, gurl,…thank’s 4 the gift’s, Mahalo, Papi

    October 25, 2012
    • Happy Birthday, Dad!!! Can’t wait to garden with my yummy new soil!

      October 25, 2012
  4. c #

    I completely get the compost lurve!!! How has this one worked out for you? It is the easiest and cheapest DIY composter I’ve seen on the net–well, apart from a giant pile of rotting vegetation that is! Anyway, I’m saving up my Canadian Tire Money 🙂

    Love it!!

    August 16, 2013
    • I’m sad to say that I haven’t been as diligent with my composter as I would have liked to been since I’ve been traveling all over the place! But if I babied it like a good composter mama + turned it constantly, I think this sucker is superb + CHEAP!!!!

      August 16, 2013
      • c #

        Thanks for the update. Well, I’ll let you know if I get one set up before it gets to cold to compost! Thanks again for the idea 🙂

        August 18, 2013
      • Great!!! I wish you luck in your composting adventures!!!

        August 19, 2013
  5. Heather Ivarsson #

    I was googling composters when your diy composter popped up, so I decided to give it a read. I’m very happy that I did because not only was this a smart diy composter, but included some of the most hilarious commentary!! I laughed than read it to my partner, and he laughed. Definitely made my day 🙂

    July 12, 2017
    • Oh my goodness so sorry I just saw this comment! Thanks so much!!! I’m so happy to bring humor to decomposing organic matter, haha!!!!

      November 19, 2017

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