6 Simple Steps To Starting Your Own Compost

6 Simple Steps To Starting Your Own Compost

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Easy Steps To Starting Your Own Compost

When it comes to composting the benefits are numerous.  Not only does it establish a nice nutrient rich soil for your garden, but it helps to cut down on your everyday waste you produce.  That’s a win-win situation!  A classic example of turning your trash into treasure. It’s also much easier to get started than you might think!

When I decided I wanted to venture into making my own compost, the amount of information I came across was overwhelming. However, once you wade your way through it all, the basic concepts are really quite basic and straight forward.  It boils down to figuring out if you want to use a bin or a pile, and what you can compost. I chose  to use a bin, and found out I can use a plastic storage tote I already had on hand.  This method was not only pretty simple to follow, but it was also very budget friendly.


 6 Simple Steps To Starting Your Own Compost


Step One- Prepare The Bin

Begin by drilling 8 to 10 holes each in the lid, bottom, and sides of the plastic bin.  This allows the oxygen in that is needed for the composting process to take place. I already had a large plastic storage tote for the project, but you can find them at just about any hardware store, or even Target or Walmart. Any bin taller than 24 inches tall should work fine.  You will want to choose one with a tight fitting lid to keep out “critters” tempted to raid your bin.  Once holes are drilled on each side, place the bin on top of bricks or blocks to keep  it slightly elevated from the ground. This ensures that drainage is possible if needed. It will also allow airflow. 


Step 2- The Bedding 

To get your compost officially started you will want to get your bedding layer made.  You will do this by adding any combination of the following items to your bin until it is about 1/4 full.

  • shredded paper (think newspaper, brown grocery bags, junk mail, etc.)
  • peat moss
  • dry leaves
  • small pieces of cardboard
  • saw dust
Step 3- Add Soil 

Once you have your bedding layer down, add potting soil or already established compost until your bin is about halfway full.  Since this was my first compost bin, this is something that I needed to purchase from my local plant nursery. It can also be found at most large hardware stores. 


Step 4- Start Adding Items You Wish To Start Composting

You are now ready to start composting. Items such as lawn clippings, vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, and paper can be added. (see list below) . You do NOT want to add anything fatty, or containing meat, or dairy. You also do not want to add processed food, such as breads, pastas, chips etc. 


Step 5- Mix and Moisten

Mix well and spray with lukewarm water just until mixture is moist. Check every few days to keep your compost moist but not wet. If your compost starts to smell bad you may be over watering.  Continue to mix your compost weekly to make sure oxygen is getting into mixture. This is necessary for decomposition


Step 6- Add Daily

Continue to add to your compost daily.  In about 6 weeks your compost should look like soil.  This is when you know it is ready.  You can use the compost  on the bottom layer as it becomes ready and keep adding to the top. Many people keep a small container of scraps in there kitchen they add to throughout the day, that they empty into their bin daily and cover with some of the soil. This seems to be a pretty easy process.


Acceptable items to compost:

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it will get you started. 

Green Items

  • grass clippings
  • dead flowers
  • vegetables and fruit peels
  • teabags


Brown Items

  • dead leaves
  • shredded paper/ small bits of cardboard
  • coffee grounds
  • twigs



  • eggs shells
  • lint
  • hair



  • Meat/fish
  • dog/cat feces/litter
  • coals/coal ash
  • glossy magazines
  • processed foods
  • chemicals


What are your thoughts on composting? Is this a practice you have established or would like to try? Why or why not?


  • Shaily

    March 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm Reply

    Wow! This is such an easy way to create your own compost. I looked for this information a number of times but never found something this easy. I love gardening and I’m definitely going to try this. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • happyhomeacre

      March 10, 2018 at 9:34 pm Reply

      I am so glad you found the information helpful! It really is easy to make your own compost!

  • Kristi Ann

    March 11, 2018 at 11:50 am Reply

    This is such great information! My daughter has a project on this and this is great help!

    • happyhomeacre

      March 12, 2018 at 4:40 pm Reply

      That’s great! I am so glad that the article helps!

  • Eileen Mendoza Loya

    March 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm Reply

    I have a large plastic tub I can use for composting. I have always wanted to start, but could not find an easy to follow process. Thanks to you, I can start on this project soon as the weather gets warmer.

    • happyhomeacre

      March 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm Reply

      That is wonderful! I am glad you are going to give it a try!

  • Melissa Blevins

    March 11, 2018 at 8:10 pm Reply

    When I was a little girl, my stepdad started a compost (I believe) to draw in worms for fishing bait. Don’t quote me on that, but I’m pretty sure that’s why he did it. We used to fish with grub worms and earth worms.

    • happyhomeacre

      March 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm Reply

      That is cool! I have heard about that before but have not tried it!

  • Maria

    March 12, 2018 at 5:15 am Reply

    In my town we actually have a community garden where we plant our own fruits and veggies, and ach person with “land” there has their own composting station 🙂 all your tipos are great and super accurate!

    • happyhomeacre

      March 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm Reply

      Thank you Maria! A community garden sounds wonderful!

  • Cori - Sweet Coralice

    March 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Oh I love this post! My son tried getting a compost started but gave up as he wasn’t really sure if it was correctly being maintained. Saving this post for him to use as tips 😉

    • happyhomeacre

      March 13, 2018 at 6:58 pm Reply

      Great! Hope he decides to give it another try! 🙂

  • Fee

    March 28, 2018 at 8:04 am Reply

    Very helpful and informative. I have always wanted to start my own compost, but never could work out the best way to do it. Thanks for the tips. Can I ask, whats the best way to get to the bottom layer of compost once its ready?

    • happyhomeacre

      March 29, 2018 at 11:10 am Reply

      Thank you! Some people pour the compost into another bin and remove the soil on the bottom. I find it just as easy to turn the soil while in the bin and scoop out the compost that is ready.

  • laura @ Mommy Dearest

    March 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm Reply

    This is our goal for this year to have our own compost. I can’t wait to start. Thanks for the tips.

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