A June Bug Update And A DIY Space Saving Garbage System

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about our tiny vintage Airstream trailer – a 1966 Caravel that we call “the June Bug.”

Vintage Airstream

In these times when travel is difficult, I appreciate the June Bug more than ever.  This past summer was filled with small and safe local camping trips.

It has been fun to rediscover some of the beautiful places that are closer to home – places we often overlook because we could see them any time.  And so we rarely do.

Vintage Airstream

The June Bug is a work in progress, and traveling closer to home has given us a chance to fine tune some of the small-space systems so necessary in such a tiny trailer.

In addition to some mechanical upgrades, we’ve recently replaced the stovetop with a full trailer oven that Chris found on eBay.  Even a small microwave took up too much counterspace and now, with the full oven, we don’t need one.

We also installed a larger sink and a more practical kitchen faucet.  Now it’s so much easier to wash dishes and pans.  We made a few other minor aesthetic changes to the kitchen.

And I made fun ladybug curtains that let in a little more light than the old curtains did (although I also think a Scandinavian-inspired fabric would look great in here).

Airstream interior
June Bug interior

So, this tiny kitchen is just a little nicer and less cluttered than it was before.





We’d always struggled with the fact that there is no room on the floor or under the sink for garbage and recycle bins.  We tried different locations but, no matter where we put the garbage bins or bags, they always seemed to get in the way.

Recently, I came up with a simple and cost-free solution that seems to be working.

I have to warn you, though, that it’s kind of a silly project.  I thought twice about even sharing it, but here goes:

A Lightweight Vertical Garbage System

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Any garbage system for the June Bug needed to be lightweight (because we tow the trailer) and shatterproof.  It also needed to be compact and, most of all, take up no floor space whatsoever.

So I decided to make something that I could hang from a coat hook in front of one of the June Bug’s two narrow coat closets.

A fun challenge and, to make it even more fun, I challenged myself to use only items that I already had on hand.

Starting With Baskets

In storage, I found these two hand baskets.  I’d had the baskets for years.  For a previous project, I’d removed one handle from each basket.

I would tether them together vertically and use the larger basket for recycle and the smaller basket for garbage.

But the baskets didn’t match, and that bugged me.

Making Them Match

I wanted to paint both of them white, but I also really loved the natural look of the larger basket. Then I realized that I could have the best of both worlds.

I just carefully measured and masked the larger basket so I count paint only the lower portion white.

Masking off the basket for painting.

I wanted to use spray paint, but it was too windy outside.  So I used DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in Warm White, which I had on hand, with a small foam roller followed by a small paintbrush for anything the roller had missed.

I’ve never liked the look of the second, smaller basket, so I painted that entire basket with the same paint.

I should have primed it first, or perhaps used chalk paint instead, because I was fighting a bit of bleed-through with the red color.

Of course the handles on the baskets didn’t match, so I removed them.  I found an old belt that I never wear.  It would work well for creating a handle on the top basket and tethers for attaching the lower basket.


Adding Tags

It would be easy to get confused about which basket would be for recycle and which would be for garbage.  So I decided to label them using some chalkboard paper tags (similar to these) that I had stashed with my gift wrap.

Using the same warm white paint, I just stenciled a “G” (for garbage) on one tag and an “R” (for recycle) on the other.  (I used a stencil similar to this one.)

To make the tags a little sturdier, I coated each tag several times, front and back, with Mod Podge.  The paper tags wanted to curl up a little when I applied the Mod Podge, but I just carefully straightened them before they dried.

Then I attached the tags to the baskets using vintage buttons.

The Result

Here is the new “recycle” bin.

And hanging from it is the new “garbage” bin.


In the trailer, our new garbage system hangs in front of a narrow coat closet that is located between the accordion door to the bathroom and the shower curtain.

It is in such a small space that it was difficult to get a good photo.  I almost had to climb into the bathroom sink to get this one.

But in this tiny corner, the garbage system is tucked completely out of our way – yet it’s still arm’s length from the kitchen (although, honestly, just about everywhere in the trailer is arm’s length from the kitchen).

It’s not taking up any floor space.  I also like that it is cuter than a plastic hanging garbage system – although I must say that this one on Amazon looks like a very practical alternative.

We can still access the closet with the garbage system hanging here although, if we really need to rummage around in the closet, we just move the baskets to the coat closet on the opposite side.

But, in a tiny trailer where the sofa converts to a bed and the dining table folds away, being flexible is what it’s all about.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


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Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
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8 Replies to “A June Bug Update And A DIY Space Saving Garbage System”

  1. A thoroughly enjoyable post, Heidi. I love that you could solve your problem with stuff you have on hand, and so attractiveLy! I love it!

    1. Thanks Jane! I feel like I’ve amassed so much “stuff” over the years. I always love when I can put it to good use instead of buying new.

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