One weekend not along after I moved to New York City—Harlem, to be exact—I trekked down the island of Manhattan to another isle: The long one with Brooklyn on its westernmost edge, now brimming with hip cafes, restaurants, barely affordable apartments, and, yes, boutiques.
I was going to have a Millennial-Approved Fun Brooklyn Day: I was going to brunch and then I was going to shop. A few hours later, after doing exactly what I set out to do, I made my way back home with just one heavy-stock shopping bag. Inside: a $20 trash bin.
Sure, after that trip, I wanted to be able to say, Hey! Look at my amazing new vintage dress (or my ethically-sourced necklace handcrafted by a Brooklyn maker.) But you know what? I felt pretty freakin’ great lugging my new wastebasket back to my small, barely furnished room.
The object of my devotion is the Woodrow 2-Gallon Waste Can by Umbra, a Canadian brand that makes reasonably priced, modern home goods. The one I purchased was in mint, a color that would match much of what I own. So when I saw it, on a shelf with a few other colored versions, towards the back of the Park Slope shop Duman Home (a local business mind you!), I thought this was the trash bin for me; this was my destiny, one I found by chance just walking around Brooklyn.
When I got home, I felt a little silly discovering that my new prized possession is readily available on Amazon, for the same price and available in six different colors with Prime free shipping. Still, I adore it—a viewpoint shared with at least 60 Amazon reviewers—and this is why.
First, a preface: It’s a small trash bin, roughly the size of a watermelon. It’s not going to hold rotting produce or other grimy miscellany. It’s intended for light—and dry!—waste in a bedroom, home office, or maybe a bathroom if you’re super clean. In other words, its merits can be measured on looks alone—and oh is it pretty.
Beyond the minty hue, which instantly makes me think “clean and refreshed,” the bin is equally calming on the inside, with its unpainted pale wood. The form itself is sleek and minimal: Just a can shape with an open top and a small opening on one side for easy handling. Nothing for you to maneuver with your hand or foot when you want to dispose something. It does its job of taking in used tissues or random threads snipped from a shirt or, as is most often the case, stray strands of hair. And when I look at it, it just, you know, sparks joy.
So much so that keeping it clean and attractive has become a non-trivial part of owning this trash can. That means I’m not going to throw junk directly into its smooth wood interior. And there must be lining. On my worst days, it’s a small plastic bag from Bed Bath & Beyond, Uniqlo, or some other retailer that doles out little bags. On my best days, it’s a clear or translucent take-out bag from Wasabi Sushi & Bento, whose logo is strokes of dark and pale green—a perfect fit.