My Grandma Taught Me This Genius Cleaning Hack Years Ago, and I Still Use It Today

published Jun 2, 2024
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Credit: Erin Derby

As it turns out, I share a lot of traits with my grandma. Over the years, I’ve unwittingly inherited her dark sense of humor, love of nature, and appreciation for a clean and tidy home

But I didn’t realize I shared these similarities with her until my husband and I lived with my grandparents for several months. And, now that my grandma is gone, I’ll be forever grateful to my husband for pointing these shared traits out to me.

Allow me to, briefly, explain. Three years ago, my grandma was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. When we got the news, my husband and I decided to pick up and drive three states away to move in with my grandparents. Of course, we wanted to spend quality time with them, but we also wanted to lend a hand with tedious tasks like running errands, cooking, and cleaning. 

Cleaning was a task I took particularly seriously. Partly because grief manifests itself in weird ways, but also because my grandma was notorious for keeping a tidy home. I started regularly sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping down countertops and tables to ensure everything was up to her standards.

And she taught me one genius hack I still use today: Always keep a roll of trash bags at the bottom of the can. That way, you always remember to replace the bag, which prevents you from accidentally tossing trash into the can bare (leaving you a mess to clean up). So simple, so smart.

Now that my husband and I are back in our own home, I use this hack for every trash can in our house: the kitchen, bathrooms, and office space. And, sure, it’s probably odd to think fondly of your grandma every time you take out the trash. But I’ll take any opportunity to remember her. No matter how small and strange.