Apparently the bags already come inside out and we're supposed to place it on a garbage can in reverse "like a hat."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 20, 2021. It has since been updated.
A woman's TikTok "hack" about trash bags has ignited a friendly but extremely polarized debate on how we're supposed to insert them into garbage cans. Hannah Ian—one half of the professional organizer duo, Stored Simply—took to the video-sharing platform earlier this year to share how she recently discovered that she'd been using trash bags wrong her whole life. To be honest, it did give me pause for a second, because is there really a right and wrong way to use them? As long as you don't go around wearing them, it's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it? However, Ian's 44-seconds-long video did end up leaving me questioning my initial thoughts on the matter.
In the footage, Ian points that the bags actually already come inside out and that we're supposed to place it on a garbage can in reverse "like a hat," instead of fluffing it before inserting. She goes on to demonstrate how you partially open a trash bag, place it over the top of the can, once it on taut, press the bag down so it lines the can. Turns out, I— and presumably, most of us—didn't need to spend all these years doing the trash bag dance.
The video has racked up over 11 million views on TikTok with many users admitting that, like Ian, they had lived all their lives unaware of this so-called hack. On the other hand, many proclaimed their continued allegiance to the old-fashioned way as it gave them the means to vent their anger without making it too obvious. "If you shake it down loudly, it scares the cats, which can be fun," commented Greg Lewis. "I prefer the aggressive behavior of doing it the wrong way. It makes me feel better," wrote Kitty. "But then, how will my wife let me know that she's mad?" asked DonD.
"It's really relatable, and it also stirs up controversy because people don't always think there's a right and wrong way," Lydia Amerson — the other half of Stored Simply — told Good Morning America. "Most people were saying, 'This is dumb' or 'Wow I never knew this. I've been doing this wrong my entire life.'" She explained that the method demonstrated by Ian can work on almost any garbage can, except those without a hole in the back, as that might cause an air pocket to form in them. Ian revealed that she first saw the hack online and decided to make a video for her and Amerson's 138k followers on TikTok.
Ian and Amerson credit the commenters for making the video viral with their fun banter surrounding the trash bag hack. "People got opinionated about it and it's not super controversial so I think that leaves a little bit of lightness into the conversation," said Ian. She met Amerson while working in marketing and the duo launched their Stored Simply in the fall of 2020. Since then, they've had the chance to consult with several clients, many of who are working parents, on time-saving organization tips. They also make videos featuring a range of these tips, including labeling ideas and pantry organization.
The trash bag hack reminds me of another incredibly helpful tip I learned around this same time last year. Made viral by Facebook user Becky Holden McGhee, it's a pretty simple but extremely effective way to seal an opened cereal box. "It's only taken me 40 years, but I now know the correct way to close a cereal box," Becky shared on Facebook. "Genius. It takes seconds, no more dried up cereal and ugly torn boxes to greet me every morning." You can check it out here: