Composting is not as complicated as you think it is.

I mean, yes, sure, the SCIENTIFIC PROCESS of what is happening during composting is super complex. But you doing it? Stop making it a bigger deal than it needs to be.

Pretend like you HAVE to compost

Because in some cities, you do. I don’t know if there’s actual composting police that come out and throw garbage on your front patio or force you to sort your trash under a bright light (but I like to imagine there is). Just pretend. Remember pretending? You did it as a kid. It’s still possible.

I’ve made it even MORE easy by taking pictures of exactly what I do. You may want to sit down because it might make you lightheaded with how easy this is. Did I mention it’s easy? It is.

Easy Step-by-Step Composting with Jen

1. Make food

You probably do this part all the time. If you don’t, you probably eat out all the time. In which case, you probably get take-out a lot. Are you using a reusable container for your take-out and leftovers? Probably not. So that’s a whole other issue we’ll go over another day.

piling up scraps for composting

2. Pile up your veggie and fruit scraps

You probably also do this. If you don’t, how do you do it? Pare a cucumber over the trashcan? That’s just weird…and smelly.

keep a bag in your fridge for composting

3. Keep a bag or container with a lid in the fridge to put your scraps

I know people like to buy those cute stainless steel or ceramic compost bins for your countertop but, I live in Arizona and keep my house no cooler than 80 degrees in the summer. I don’t like bugs in my house. I also don’t have time to run out to my compost bin every time I cook. So, a bag it is.

4. Keep some of your newspaper-ish junk mail

All those flyers for grocery stores make great carbon input for your compost. Plus, if you live in an apartment, you’re not going to have yard waste. You need SOME kind of carbon to balance the breakdown in your compost so it doesn’t turn moldy.

collect your coffee grinds for composting

5. Collect your coffee grinds or tea leaves in a bowl by your coffee maker

layer your scraps for composting

6. Layer your scraps and newspaper

After adding some veggie scraps, tear up some newspaper and add to the bag. I also throw my coffee grinds in at this point. This seems to be the best mix to kickstart the composting and keep it all balanced.

add to tumbler for composting

7. Bag full? Add to compost tumbler

Yes, I said compost tumbler. I did a pile for years. After a herniated L5 disc and chronic back issues, plus the difficulty of getting the processed compost out, I’ve opted for a tumbler. It’s changed my life. As a gardener and person who gives a crap about my impact on the planet, the best use of plastic I can see is a composting tumbler and a rain barrel. I’ll pause while you go order both.

8. Tumble compost

Turn your composting tumbler about 3-4 times so it’s all well mixed. Now, leave it alone. If you’re using the YIMBY or another 2-chamber composting tumbler, you can add to one side and let the other side “cook.” I wait until one side is filled all the way to the opening before I let it cook. You still need to tumble it while it’s cooking but don’t add anything to it since it resets the start button on the composting process. Add to the second chamber while one side cooks.

9. Wait about 5-6 weeks for that good smell

You’ll understand what I mean. Soil is supposed to potentially have anti-depressant effects. When the soil is healthy with microbes, it has a wonderful smell.

See? That was SO freaking easy. Now go do it.