A month ago I became a true Oregonian and started composting. I even asked for a composting bin for my birthday! In true form, my husband researched all the options and discovered that Metro was practically giving them and their much-needed accessories away.
We installed it near our back door which is Rule #1, especially if you live somewhere other than Hawaii.
Rule #2 is get the kitchen collector accessory. This one has ventilation incorporated into the lid and it snaps shut to help prevent unpleasant odors as well as gnats. I try to empty it every 2-3 days.
Rule #3, Experiment. After researching, it turns out there isn't a definitive guide to composting because it depends on so many factors. There are conflicting lists of items that are 'okay' to compost although most seem to agree on what NOT to compost. Here's is a handy guide to post on the inside of a cabinet door. It's on the liberal side so some of the things on the 'okay' sidemight not work for you.
Turning the compost manually is not as hard as I expected especially if you get the compost turner accessory
It doesn't smell. If yours smells then you should reevaluate what you are composting or your compost might be too wet
You can add pet hair to help keep rodents away
You can compost paper! Plain paper, newspaper, coffee filters, paper sacks, etc. It should be shredded in order to break down faster
You can compost egg shells, they should be rinsed and crushed
Encourage worms, they speed up the composting and apparently they like coffee grounds. If that's the case then we have very happy and caffeinated worms because at our house coffee is the one thing guaranteed to be made daily
After a month in we have about a foot of compost and you can see progress. I read that it can take anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on how "hot" you get your compost. That's another post for another day, but as soon as our compost is ready to harvest you will be the first to know!