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Furnishing a studio apartment presents a unique set of challenges, from selecting the perfect pieces to maximizing storage space. When I moved into my studio in Brooklyn nearly three years ago, one thing I hadn’t thought about was finding the right trash can. Sure, a trash can is an essential, but in a studio, it becomes much more important — it needs to be airtight and contain odor (if not, kitchen smells can linger in the whole space) and it also to not be a total eyesore (because it’ll be visible all the time).
When I moved, I quickly realized I needed to upgrade from my run-of-the-mill Rubbermaid plastic trash can (sorry, Rubbermaid — you had your moment in the sun). I did some research online and quickly landed on the brand that a whole lot of people think is the gold standard in the category: Simplehuman. Specifically, the Simplehuman Dual-Compartment Rectangular Step Can, a 58-liter trash/recycling combo can with a patented lid closure technology designed to provide a slow, silent close for more than 150,000 steps, according to the brand.
This trash can was also $200, or about $170 more than what I (or perhaps anyone) ever would expect to spend on a trash can. But if it lasted for more than five years, I reasoned, it might just be worth it.
I took a trip to the Industry City Bed Bath & Beyond (RIP) to investigate. After much deliberation and some in-store testing of the step-closure, which was indeed soft and silent, I decided to splurge on one with a stainless steel finish. (The brand also offers it in matte black and white finishes.) I took it home, along with a package of the brand’s accompanying Odorsorb Custom Fit Liners (size Code H), and tried to stomach the sticker shock.
Three years later, I can confidently say my Simplehuman turned out to be a worthy investment. It’s space efficient, it mutes all odors, and I don’t hate looking at it. Also, it’s pretty durable. With the exception of one small dent I gave it when moving another piece of furniture, it doesn’t show any scratches, rusting, or unevenness in its brushed stainless steel finish.
It also has some clever features that make it easier to use, like a compartment for bags (goodbye, under-the-sink rummaging), and a removable recycling bin made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. One thing to note, though: The Simplehuman is only compatible with specifically sized trash bags. The brand’s bags are expensive but incredibly sturdy, but as with most things lately, there are also dupes on Amazon that are flimsier but less pricey.
I have no regrets dropping two Benjamin Franklins on the Simplehuman. Yes, it was a gamble — and yes, it still feels excessive to say I spent $200 on a trash can — but I’ve loved it for years and expect to love it for many more. A low price-per-use is a major win.