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What Are the Best Options for Outdoor Trash Can Storage?

If you don’t have a secure storage place for your trash cans, you may someday come home from work to find your garbage strewn all over the place. In some areas, you can just put out large garbage bags full of trash with no problem.

In other places, not only would people not dare to put out unprotected bags, but even would prefer added protection for garbage cans. It all depends on whether your area is prone to wandering wildlife, bumming dogs, and unfortunately, unscrupulous neighbors.

There are the top 4 options for storing trash cans: Plastic storage shed, wooden storage shed, metal shed storage and the single plastic storage shed.

Top 4 Outdoor Trash Can Storage Containers

1] Plastic Can Shed – A plastic storage shed just made for storing garbage cans may be just the trick. Most of them include enough space for two cans and many feature double doors for easy removal of the cans. Other accessories which may be available include accessories for shelving, steel reinforcement, and a latch to which a lock can be attached, keeping out people who want to have you pay for their trash by dumping theirs into your cans.

Pros: They have a fair storage capacity and are not expensive. They are waterproof and weather-resistant, and even resistant to UV ray damage. They also don’t need to be painted.

Cons: Although some models may allow for a lock or shelf, the sheds do not come with these. There is also usually not much color choice if any.

2] Wooden Can Shed – If you don’t like the plastic shed idea, there are many styles of wooden ones on the market. They usually feature double doors for easy access, some even come with a top lid as well. Some can hold up to three full-sized garbage cans, or even provide storage for some yard tools if you don’t have that many cans.

Pros: Construction is usually solid and sturdy. They are good at keeping wild animals out, and come with flooring, whereas some plastic sheds do not. All the hardware to assemble it comes along with it.

Cons: These can be a little more expensive than the resin sheds. They also may require a little bit more assembly than some plastic ones.

3] Metal Can Shed – These are really going to be sturdy and secure for storing your garbage cans.

Pros: They usually come with a sloped roof to drain off rainwater. They are usually made of galvanized iron and may come in a few color choices. Some come with air vents near the tops of the sides to keep air circulating and smells from collecting inside.

Cons: They may be more expensive than some other choices, but if you have large dogs roaming around the neighborhood, you may want something sturdier than a plastic shed. They also will require some assembly.

4] Single Plastic Can Shed – These models are made to hold 30 to 33 gallons. They actually look like a square trash can themselves. They don’t look like garbage receptacles in case you want them on your deck. If you don’t have much garbage from week to week, this item may be just for you.

Pros: Not very expensive, made from durable resin, has a closing lid for security.

Cons: It may be difficult to put together, especially if the lid just doesn’t quite fit on the one you bought.

Is it Sanitary to Keep Trash Cans in the Garage?

There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping your trash cans in your garage. In fact, if you live in a homeowner’s association, you may be required to keep the cans out of sight until pickup day. Storing them in the garage keeps them safe from roving animals, not to mention kids who think that it’s fun to strew garbage all over the neighborhood.

Your cans will also be protected from most insects. While you might object to the occasional smell, if you have cans with lids that fit firmly, you should only get a whiff when you open them to add more garbage.

It also removes the temptations for others to put their trash in your cans so that they don’t have to pay for garbage removal. You can easily run out of can space with a family if somebody else is making you pay for their removal service. You may end up paying extra for the number of cans or bags over a limit without even realizing that you’re paying for somebody else’s responsibility.

How Do I Keep My Outdoor Garbage Can from Smelling?

First of all, get one with a lid that fits firmly. Some of the newer plastic ones have lids that close firmly enough that it takes a little force to get them open, and some must be opened a certain way. This will certainly help keep the smell enclosed. Next, don’t put in any garbage that is not in a bag. This doesn’t necessarily mean a garbage bag.

Plastic bags that your groceries or big box store items were placed in are great for enclosing the remnants of a takeout meal. Even bread bags can be saved for smaller things, such as plastic cups from fast food places or empty cans of sauces or fruits. They’re also great for anything that might leak. Just tie up the top and place it in with your other garbage.

Some tips for indoor garbage smells can also help with your outdoor cans:

Using newspaper – Adding newspaper to the bottom of the can will absorb anything that leaks, including their scents, and will also help you clean it up. It’s much easier to remove a whole chunk of newspaper along with the spill than to clean up a puddle at the bottom of the can.

Coffee filter with baking soda – Another trick is to fill a coffee filter with baking soda, then tie it closed with fine thread or floss. Plop it in the bottom of the can. It’s inexpensive enough to replace regularly. Baking soda is also great to use when washing the can out. Sprinkle some in the bottom of the can, add some water and a little white vinegar, then scrub. Washing the cans is not fun, but it goes much farther in keeping out long-lasting smells than putting in additives.

Used dryer sheets – Make double use of your dryer sheets by putting them in the bottom of your cans. They still have some fragrance left in them after they come out of the dryer. Likewise, old, dry coffee grounds can do the same. You can also buy deodorizers that contain charcoal, used for absorbing odors. Attach it to the undersides of your lids and replace them when they seem to stop working.

How Do I Stop Birds and Animals from Getting into the Garbage?

Even if you don’t live in an area that has much wildlife, you can certainly have animals digging through trash if you don’t have a can. Packs of roving dogs just love to grab a plastic trash bag and drag it around until it rips. The dogs then all play keep away with your individual trash items.

While you may prefer large bags made for garbage, the more layers of material between the garbage and the outside the less odor will seep through. Try using bags from stores to wrap up anything wet or smelly, especially leftover food. Then you can put it into your regular garbage bag.

Even if you use large garbage bags, you really need a can to put it in to prevent anything from dragging your bag around or just ripping it up. Choose one with a lid that’s a little hard to get off. Many can come with wheels to make taking it to the curb easy. If you ever have to clean up scattered garbage, you won’t hesitate to spend a few bucks on a can.

Should I Keep My Trash Cans Outside?

That depends on the area in which you live. If you have no problems with roaming animals or misbehaving kids, it may be feasible to keep your cans outside without needing outdoor trash can storage. If you live in a homeowner’s association, they may require that you keep the cans in your garage, so you should check first.

If you do decide to keep them outside, remember to keep them close to the house so that you don’t have to go far to put something in them in the rain. This is also a good reason not to keep them in a regular storage shed, which is usually situated farther from the house than a garbage can shed would be. If you live in a part of the country that mostly uses carports rather than enclosed garages, of course, the carport would be a great place for keeping you and your cans out of the weather.

How Can I Keep My Trash Cans Hidden?

If you don’t need to invest in a storage solution for your cans, you can keep them hidden with a screen or small fence. There are folding screens made for outdoor use that can do the trick nicely. Some can go all the way around your cans, while some are just for hiding the front side.

Some are tall enough to keep you from being seen as well, so people don’t see you putting the garbage in your cans and are then tipped off as to the location of your cans. This keeps them from getting ideas of using your cans for their garbage. Since many of these screens are made from plastic, they will need to be attached to the ground in some manner.

What are the Best Trash Can Storage Sheds?

More than one source lists a Suncast brand storage shed at or near the top of their lists. They are known for manufacturing some of the best storage sheds for outdoor use. One of their best models is the BMS4700 Stow-Away Storage Shed. While it is more expensive than some other models, if you have a large family or like to entertain often, this is probably the one for you.

It holds up to three garbage cans, depending on their size. If you don’t need it for cans, you can even fit a riding mower in it. It’s easy to remove the cans, as the double doors go the width of the shed.

Pros: It has three doors, two wide ones on the front and a top lid held open by gas shocks. All three doors are able to be locked. It’s rated for all-weather use, especially since it has a multi-wall construction. The inside space is 70 cubic feet.

Cons: It is rather costly.

Rubbermaid – This brand still means quality construction and features. Their horizontal shed also has a top lid along with the front doors, although it has a metal rod to hold it up. Models can hold as much as 32 cubic feet, so the shed is not a monster size. Check out Rubbermaid’s full line of garbage can storage options here on Amazon.

Pros: With just seven pieces, it’s something almost anyone can put together. In fact, it’s one of the easiest sheds to assemble. It is double walled constructed to better withstand the elements. It does have attachments that allow adding a little shelving. It comes with a heavy-duty floor mat, which can be removed for easy cleaning.

Cons: While the shed allows for shelves, they must be bought separately. The front doors don’t unlock separately; the top lid must be unlocked to open the front doors.

The Keter Store-It-Out MIDI Storage Shed is a model that is great for the more price-conscious buyer. While the brand also features both smaller and larger sheds, this model will store two 32-gallon garbage cans while not breaking the bank. It is made of plastic reinforced with steel for durability. The wide double doors give you plenty of room to get cans in and out.

Pros: It has a relatively low price for the features. Like any plastic shed, it doesn’t need painting, and only the occasional wash to keep it clean. It features water and UV ray-proof materials.

Cons: It doesn’t come with a shelf, although it does have supports for one. It also does not come with a lock.


Outdoor trash can storage may require you to spend a few bucks, but it’s a one-time thing. If you ever have to clean up a yard full of scattered cans and messy take-out containers, you won’t wait long to get one. If you’re handy, you can build one yourself in a size to suit your needs, painting it to match your house. Whatever solution you choose, remember to make sure your shed is capable of locking. You’d be surprised what some animals can do.