Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Learning from the Pros

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Staying in the bathroom for one more post.

I believe strongly in learning from the professionals. I’m not saying I take classes from them but rather that I observe how they do things. I’ve learned a lot of my painting tricks (such as not using a tray when painting walls but dipping the roller straight into the paint can) from painters I’ve come across via previous work places or painters I’ve seen working in my current office building.



Here’s a thing I’ve learned from the ladies that clean at the office. Btw, I can’t believe I’m showing you our bathroom trash but it’s for educational purposes, people, so please forgive me.


What they do, our lovely helpers, is to keep a fresh roll of trash bags in the rolls at the bottom of the trash can.


That way they always have one on hand and can simply lift out the old one and hang a new one. And so now can I! Mind you I only do this in the bathroom and laundry room and then take those bags around the house and fill up from the other trash cans.

And for those off you who are wondering if I’m not recycling and dividing plastics, papers etc I must admit I don’t. In fact I don’t even compost organic material anymore except from the garden because I don’t have a warm composting bin or a good space for one. My plan is to start sorting more and composting more but I also know I need to keep it on a manageable level. Not having a car makes it difficult to take stuff to the recycling center and schlepping giant cardboard pieces flapping in the wind by bike isn't a favorite thing of mine. Believe me I've tried. My ambition is to better myself in the recycling area though. They don't make it very easy for us non-car users though.


  • akiyo says:

    I think you make a huge difference just by using a bike instead of a car so no worries! 😉 And at least you’re making an effort!

  • Catherine says:

    I agree with Akiyo. I am glad we have recycling bins that get picked up. I know it would just stockpile in our garage if we had to remember to take it somewhere! As for the bin, I do this too after observing the cleaning staff in the office where I worked years and years ago. I also copied their special little ‘pull tight, twist and tuck’ manoeuvre to keep bags tight to the top of the bin if the diameters don’t match. Ah, the little things that make life more enjoyable!

  • Anna says:

    Get the “brown bin” to compost organic waste, since I got it Ive reduced my waste enormously. And they give you a reduced fee for the green one if you get the brown one. Heja dig, det är ju superviktigt att sopsortera!

  • Susan says:

    I’m thankful that our cardboard is collected in front of our apartment house once a month — as I don’t have a car here in Zurich’ glad to not need one. Paper is also collected once a month. Glass and cans must be toted to bins but I’m grateful ours is only a 10 min. walk away – which is doable.
    But amen to the first comment, not having a car is a huge contribution to the planet, and something that I feel good about, too.

  • Luna says:

    Oh I so agree with you about being a non-car user. I’m so glad you showed this tip, because I need a better system than rummaging through my cupboards for trash bags.

  • Leena says:

    Nice tip!
    My mother and father have the same problem and they do have cars, but the recycling place is far away. They do however have a fireplace so they can recycle some paper and cardboard that way.
    I’m really glad our apartment building has recycling place right in front of the building, there is bio, paper, cardboard and regular trash. Also glass and metal recycling is not that far away, maybe 1 km.

  • tinajo says:

    Oh, I do that too – very handy! 🙂

  • Maria says:

    I agree with Anna, geting the Brown bin has reduced our waste considerably. And it’s supereasy! Read more about it @ avfall o återvinning.

  • Jennifer rin France says:

    The fact that you do not drive more than compensates the fact tat you are not recycling. No eed to feel guilty as your carbon impact is globally less.

  • Anja says:

    That trick is good! Usually we recylce all our stuff (here in Germany you get five garbage cans plus recycling places for some particular things) but I’m not that strict with bathroom garbage. I mean, come on! It is just a small fraction of the garbage you produce, and you can’t walk naked around the house to go to the right can (well, technically you can, but… *g*) xo Anja

  • Dominika says:

    I do the same thing and I came up with that trick myself! It’s just that I recycle old shopping bags as trash bags.

  • Ramona K says:

    We are a 2-person household living in Uppsala and have been sharing a brown bin for organic waste with a neighbour. Now we don´t have to. Reading positive comments about the Bokashi system which is used in several countries ( on a gardening blog, I decided to give it a go. We have had a bokashi bucket under the sink since March this year and are really pleased with the results – not least the fantastic fertiliser you drain off via the tap. You have to have access to a garden or some way to eventually mix the waste with soil to benefit from the Bokashi method but we think its great so far! According to the instructions, the bags of processed waste can be kept over the winter without attracting vermin until you can dig them down in the spring. If that works then we are on to a winner. B t w there is absolutely no sponsoring here, just enthusiasm.

  • Interesting! In the north of Sweden the recycling are well developed and working, the organic waste are burned and used as fuel in our District heating system.

  • I will look into that. Don’t fancy the idea of yet another bin though… Did they have to make it poo-brown?

  • Wow, I have to look into this! Might be the solution to the food waste!

  • Filipa says:

    Hi Benita,
    Thanks for sharing another tips! I have one question about the painting tip. If you don’t use the tray, how do you remove the excess of paint from the roller? I was in paiting sessions last weekend so I’m really curious!

  • I just roll the roller on the surface of the paint in the can to cover it and then tilt the roller, so the drips drip into the roller itself and not onto the floor, until I reach the wall. Then roll away. Slowly and confidently are the key words I’d say :).

  • Katharina says:

    YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS, we also keep the fresh rolls in the bathroom this way. *jumping up and down* I do something like Benita Larsson yeeeeeeessssss. So there actually IS hope that the BL way of neatness and tidyness and sense of style does eventually find its way into our home,too. Well, not as a copycat of course, that would be boring. But in a way that works with our family.
    But I guess being a household of one mother and one 18yr old son makes certain things easier than a family with three little girls not even 6yrs old (for instance,our input of pink will always be higher than white …)
    Thank you for this post, today I feel so proud 😀

  • Maddy says:

    I just love getting tips from other people! I take re-usable bags to the shops, and sometimes dont have enough plastic bags for the rubbish bin!
    I am quite interested in the Bokashi method, which I have seen in the shops here. I have had a “worm farm” for years: it is made up of 3 superimposed trays, and about 24″ x 18″. Once a tray is full of kitchen waste, you place another one on top, and then another one. I find it takes a long time to fill up one tray, as the worms compost it down. When the third tray is full, the first one is lovely compost and can be mixed with garden soil
    This wouldnt work of course if someone was icky with earthworms, but you dont have to touch them or anything. It has a lid and is fly-proof.

  • Maja says:

    Wow, this is the best tip you ever posted! Off to buy new plastic bags for all the trashcans in our house 😉

  • Kate says:

    Benita, I agree about how difficult it is when you a) don’t have a car and b) don’t have much space for composting. When I lived in an apartment it was impossible to deal with organic waste, although we did have a communal recycling depot for clean dry recyclables. Now I’m in a different situation with a garden and a car and it is sooo much easier. I’m even composting for the first time and am hoping to get some very rich material for the garden next season.
    And I agree with other posters about offsetting the guilt against the carbon you don’t use by cycling 🙂
    BTW, I love those subway tiles in your bathroom, they look fabulous.

  • Charlotte K says:

    I’m not here to chastise because I don’t own a car either and a lot of daily duties are difficult (though I’m totally accomodated to them now).
    I’m just really surprised your community doesn’t offer better solutions. In my town,(in US New England) we have weekly curbside pickup of recyclables (single stream), with limits on how much trash a household can toss in a week. We cannot put out garbage if we don’t also put out recyclables. Our town also provides compost bins to anyone who wants them (some cities pick up compost as well, mine doesn’t although it does pick up yard waste during the spring-thru-fall).
    Friends in Amsterdam have a system where they put the items in various bins right in the neighborhood, easy walking distance.
    I’m very surprised that Sweden, which I think of as so advanced, doesn’t have better ways of dealing with this.

  • Jen says:

    Totally unrelated to your topic, I have to say that I am constantly amazed by your level of English–SCHLEPPING?? While this is actually not English but Yiddish, it shows your amazing language ability. I work with international college students in the US and am reminded every day how lame we in the US are in comparison with language acquisition.

  • Marie H says:

    I drive 45 minutes to work everyday, in the motor city, Detroit, Michigan; we make cars and have very little public transportation. I am 33 miles from home. When I was 20 miles from home; I did ride my bike occasionally. I had a coworker who would pick me and my bike up on the way in at 5:30am and then I would ride home. So, I envy your ability to ride your bike everywhere.
    Now recycling…my city also has single stream recycling. It all goes in the same tub or stacked on top. Glass, any plastic with a number on it, all paper, cardboard, batteries, old appliances, screen doors, etc go out every week. Oil we have to drop off. I actually recycle more than I toss. I do need to start composting however and may actually be able to next spring when our yard is done. Then I will only be putting out a baby bucket of garbage. I like the New England reader’s town that won’t take garbage unless you recycle!
    Unfortunately not all of the US has embraced recycling; I wish it were so.

  • devil says:

    We gave our recycling bin back to the trash dept because we didn’t use it. There are so many rules and regs in California about what you can and can’t put in there it just wasn’t worth it. So, being childfree is our major contribution to the environment. 😉
    And, yes, not owning an automobile is far more helpful than not recycling a few items.

  • Haha, you’re so sweet and funny 🙂

  • Ah, but it’s such a great word! You can see the effort that goes in to schlepping just by looking at the word, don’t you think? I use the Swedish equivalent “släpa” all the time :).

  • kmorakefet says:

    Well, WE live in a building (18 families) but there are buildings with 100 families (yach 🙂 so in the common garbage room we have only 4-5 containers for garbage and another 2 for paper. BUT, I like how in SWEDEN the huge containers near the ICA supermarkets look. We have smaller and so UGLY once in every street so people can go and put it in. I hate them they make the neighborhood look ugly, even the nicest ones 🙁 there you go…

  • It’s very different in different areas. Where my mom lives she has to recycle EVERYTHING but is provided with the divided bins, garden bin, paper bags, etc etc and regular pick ups of them. In my area we can get a brown bin as someone described further up for organic materials but if I’m to sort that out I’d rather keep it and compost myself. My recycling problem lies more in glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, metal etc. That I’d have to lug around to a recycling station that’s not really that far away, but in the completely “wrong” direction for me. I never ever just pass there.

  • Maria says:

    Here’s an idea for à future blogpost: you get à Brown bin and figure out a way to decorate/cover it up and then you share “diy ugly Brown bin cover” to us.

  • kmorakefet says:

    What do you mean you are lame ? We in Israel start English studies in the FIRST grade. This is unbelievable since the little ones have not aquried enough of Hebrew rules. Yet, the education ministry “forces” our children to study English so early. Normally it’s a good thing. I think everybody should know English as a mother tough. BUT unfortunately my son (8th grade) and not only he can’t grasp the idea why he sould use verb form 1 when he uses did. not to mention the poor vocabulary. What I want to say is that I am frustrated that we don’t know English good enough despite the early start.

  • Actually I plan on one day removing the hedge I have at the front (ugly AND VERY prickly) and replace it with a good looking one and at that point I will probably add some sort of “stalls” for bins facing the street. It will be easier for the trash pick up and I won’t have to see them from inside. If I do that I will definitely consider adding a brown bin.

  • Andrea says:

    My boyfriend is in the oil and gas business (and also familiar with power plants and stuff) and he always tells me how important it is to have plastic in your trash especially if your waste is taken to an incinerator. The plastic burns hotter and thus makes for a cleaner burning process of the waste. That’s good enough for me. Even though it was very hard for me at first since my family and almost everybody in Germany is pretty keen on recycling. 😉

  • KariWK says:

    I started doing this in all my trash cans about a year or so ago (also after noticing the cleaning peolel in my office doing it). Now there are always trash bags readily available, and even my husband remembers to put the new bag in!

  • Debbie says:

    I’ve been hiding the extra bags there for a long, long time. I thought I invented that! (just kidding)

  • Tara Jane says:

    You have a great opportunity to start a recycling business! Our recycling gets picked up for free, because it is worth money to the recyclers who turn around and sell the recycled product.

  • Joellyn says:

    You must use a smaller roller then? The rollers I usually use would only fit into the cans vertically. But oh the mess that would save!

  • Jules Means says:

    Wow so many responses today! Regarding recycling…I am proud to say that my mum was a fierce proponent of recycling starting way back in the ’60s with tin cans (ingrained from the effort during WWII?) We had scars on the floor in the corner of the kitchen from stomping on cat food tins everyday for years. As a result I was a militant recycler my whole life until 5 years ago when I bought my loft in an old shoe factory where we have private trash pick up by a huge truck. To my horror I found that there is no way to have recycled things picked up here. So I went to city hall to ask where the dump or transfer station was with the intention of bringing it there. There isn’t any such place in my city! For about 2 years I put it all in the back of my Honda on a tarp in paper sacks and to my mum’s house in another town where I put it all in her car to take to her dump for which she has a sticker on her car. HUGE hassle and I have the tiniest kitchen and nowhere else to store it. I gave up. I am guilty and my kids are ashamed. But what choice do I have? And by the way I did drop things in other people’s bins on the sidewalk at night, but felt like a criminal… So, B, I am glad to hear you admit to not doing it either.

  • Jules Means says:

    OH and my kids are grown with families of their own and they all recycle so at least I set a good example when I raised them.. 😉

  • jeannette says:

    this is kind of hott, for a small household with little organic waste.

  • Hi Benita… I have been a keen re-cycler since the early seventies and it is just automatic now for me to compost and separate waste. We only generate one carrier bag full of non-recyclable waste each week the rest is sorted into their allotted bins in the garage then taken to a recycling point.
    Over here in the UK most councils provide two wheelie bins, one for waste and one nicknamed a ‘green’ bin. We can place cardboard, some plastics, paper and cans in it. My problem is they are quite big and difficult to conceal and at the moment I am trying to figure out how best to enclose them and make them fade into the background and look pretty instead of pretty awful! I am hoping someone, somewhere will have some good ideas that might inspire me – good luck with the recycling venture if you get started – perhaps you could swap with a neighbour who does have a car – you compost their waste while they take your recyclables away!!!

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve been doing that for years. However, I reuse the plastic grocery bags that we get here at the grocery store. I roll them up and twist them in on themselves so they make a nice compact little nubbit. There’s a little pile of them at the bottom of all my trash cans.

  • katie says:

    hi benita: above someone asked you about the painting tip….did you see her after comment? i’m sure you did. she is wondering if you use a small roller? or do you use a regular roller and dip it in the can vertically? i need to know too!

  • I think our cans are probably larger because we can fit the big rollers in the 10 liter cans which is usually the size of can I get because I use white everywhere. I know one brand actually uses oval plastic tubs for smaller quantities so you can dip straight in. You can see it in this post

  • I did and answered it a minute ago :).

  • Faith says:

    I admire so many things about Sweden and view it as such a forward-thinking country that implements practicality in so many areas. That is why I am astonished that you don’t have the benefit of curbside recycling! I live in Richmond, Kentucky, U.S. (a somewhat rural area) although I like to consider it suburban. Our city/county has a program that picks up recycling at the end of your driveway, just like the garbage truck. The city provides a bin in which you can put all the recyclables together (paper, plastic, aluminum, but not glass). We just have two trash cans in our house…one for garbage and one for all the recyclables. It is so easy! Before the curbside program, I used to drive mine to the recycling center, but it was a pain, even with a car.

  • Faith says:

    And as someone already mentioned, you are already doing the earth a huge favor by riding a bike and using public transportation. I think a lifetime’s worth of recycling pales in comparison to the environmental savings of not owning a car. I think I’d use public transport if it was available where I live, but like I said, we are in a rural area that doesn’t even have a city bus. You also re-purpose so many things, so please don’t feel bad about not recycling!

  • Vicky says:

    I don’t know about “professionals”…but the inmates at the jail that I work at do the same thing…

  • Paula says:

    Isn’t this interesting? Here in Sydney we get a rubbish pick up every week, and on alternate weeks a recycling or garden waste pick-up. The garden waste gets composted by the council, and used on parks and so on, and the recycling (glass, paper, most plastics) gets recycled. We can also choose to receive our own compost bins from the council – all this means that our household of four puts out one small supermarket bag of rubbish per week!
    The home compost means I get lots of baby papaya trees sprouting, but they get composted too!

  • Jen says:

    The trash can thing is a good one and you can take it a step further by not detaching the bag you are using from the roll. When you pull out the full bag, you will have a tail of bags waiting to be used hanging from the bottom! Detach your fresh bag then. Saves you from bending over to grab the roll. I learned that one from the workers in MY office. 🙂

  • the spectator says:

    The cleaner at MY work does the same thing.
    We have three wheelie bins. The general rubbish one goes out for weekly collection. The recycle one goes out fortnightly and the green waste one goes out fortnightly.

  • Maria says:

    I have a tiny bucket with a lid and a pedal (pedalhink) in our bathroom, I place a roll of doggy poo bags in the bottom. Unfortunately the bag is black but I haven´t found tiny bags in white.

  • I do the same! I’m very proud on my trash-management! I used to think that it is odd to post about them, but you give me courage…
    Have a lovely (and useful) day!

  • Filipa says:

    Thanks! I will try it next time (hope not so soon, heheh 🙂 )

  • Jen says:

    It’s an awesome word! Yiddish sounds like what it means. Love it!

  • Jen says:

    I use the word “lame” because I think we in the US typically don’t learn to really speak another language other than English. There’s so much value in learning another language!

  • Marianne says:

    We are lucky that most of our waste is collected at our home. We use a green container for the garden waste. Plastic is collected in bags, paper is collected (we have to get a box though). Everything else (except batteries and toxic waste) we put collect in another container. There are glass containers throughout the whole village. I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t split up the waste if it wasn’t so easy to get rid of it.
    Have a nice weekend!

  • Halle says:

    Benita; white flooring in the bathroom. Does it work?? I so want to have it in the bathroom we’re about to renovate no. But I’m afraid the white tiles and especially the stuff thats inbetween the tiles.
    We have three small children with messy feet and then theres the hairspray… 😀
    What is your experience?

  • White tiles are no problem, they can be wiped down but like you say, it’s the grout in between that gets dirty. I wouldn’t recommend it for a family with young kids. I figured since it’s just me and Wille we can get away with it. And we do but the grout does tend to get dirty even if I clean thoroughly once a week.

  • Vanessa says:

    Bokashi, never heard of it but will definately look into this! Yesterday me and my wife had to deep clean and sanitize our brown bin cause it was full of maggots. Yes, maggots!!! It was so dicusting that I can´t even begin to describe it.

  • Eeek! If that’s the case, no brown bin for me!

  • Oh that’s right!! Used to have a job cleaning when I was in high school and we always did this, but we used to not tear the bag of the roll that way when you went to change it you just pull the bag up and the next bag follows right behind. Don’t even have to bend down and pick up the roll. So easy, but I had totally forgot. (runs to but bags in bottom of trash) Thanks!!!

  • jja says:

    Nice trash can advice. I would only worry if somer cosmetic product run out of the package and somehow reach the botton of the trash can, that all of my begs would be ruined…

  • Heath Ashli says:

    I do that too … I keep scented trash bags in the bottom of the trash can in my car & all the waste baskets in the house.
    Check out the Green Solar Cone Digester Composter.
    You place it right in the garden. It heats up the compost using the sun, so there’s no need to turn it. It has a basket that is underground … the buried basket creates worm traffic underground, which is good for the soil/garden.
    # 23″d base, 11.5″d lid
    # Digestion chamber is 17″ deep
    # Stands 28″ high overall
    # Accepts 1.5 – 2 lbs. of food waste per day