DIY: Compost at Home

Follow these easy steps to create your own compost bin and in a few months, you’ll have fantastic nutrient-rich dirt ready for your garden or yard!

If you’re running low on space or would prefer to make a smaller compost, follow these steps.

What You’ll Need

  • An old garbage can or large container with a secure lid
  • Drill
  • Dirt and leaves
  • Food scraps
  • Water


  1. Find an old garbage can or large container you are no longer using. Make sure it has a secure lid.
  2. Drill holes in the lid and around the container. This should be done by an adult.
  3. Add leaves and/or dirt.
  4. Next, add compostable items such as fruit and veggie scraps, paper towels or shredded paper.
  5. Lastly, add enough water to keep everything damp and stir.
  6. Secure the lid and keep in a shaded area.

After making your compost bin, you’ll want to stir the contents regularly – at least once a week – and keep them moist. Do not saturate your bin with water!

You can continue to add to your compost bin until it is full – just don’t forget to stir everything up to help break down the materials. Once you can no longer identify the items you put in the bin (shredded paper, banana peels, etc.) the compost is ready to use.

This is a slow process, and depending on the size and location of your bin and what you put inside, it can take anywhere from 4-12 months.

It only takes a few minutes to make your own compost bin. Be sure to use proper safety measures and only have adults use power tools like a drill.
this or that game to help understand what can go in a residential compost bin
Click on this graphic to see the answers!

Don’t forget to share photos of your compost bin with us on social media using #forcvnp or by tagging us!

You can also email your creations to us at for a chance to have them featured on our website and social media channels!

Special thanks to Young House Love for the inspiration!

Click here for more spring time activities you can do at home.

The Conservancy is a nonprofit friends group for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Our goals are to improve visitor experiences, and provide meaningful, life-enhancing programs to our communities. If you would like to join us in protecting the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, please consider supporting your park today.