Can Storage Ideas & Solutions: How To Organize Canned Food

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Can storage in pantries can be accomplished in lots of different ways, depending on several factors as well as your own preferences.


Organize Pantry & Spices Challenge
During the pantry organization challenge quite a number of readers dealt with this exact issue. What follows below is examples of how readers dealt with organizing and storing their canned goods.

Before looking at all the possible ideas and solutions though, make sure that you think of these things for yourself when deciding how to organize your cans:
Canned food shelf life, safety and storage tips
  • Size and space available in your pantry or cupboards;

  • Size of the cans you typically store; and

  • Quantity of canned goods you normally store.
With those things in mind check out all the possible methods there are for this task below!

In addition, make sure to check out my article with canned food shelf life, safety and storage tips to make sure you're keeping the right canned goods, and decluttering those that aren't good anymore.

Oh, and if what you see inspires you and you tackle this task please share your before and after pictures with me here of what you accomplished and I'll add them to this page!

Top photo courtesy of uberculture

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Shelf Can Racks Are Gorgeous & Functional: Help With Can Rotation

by Anna
(Mocksville, NC)

Anna shared these after pictures of her pantry.

As you can see she has utilized canned good racks to organize these items. I think they look both functional and gorgeous.

There are a lot of types of can racks available that you can place on shelves (such as shown), or even some that are so large they are freestanding (not shown).

Here are some of the most popular ones available below. The really nice ones help with can rotation, following the first in first out rule, so you don't forget to use the older can before you use the newer one. That way everything is less likely to expire before you use it.



Here's another photo from a reader, Nora, who also has a can organizer system in her pantry. She stated, "This is one of the few things I DO have and keep organized!"

Can storage racks in pantry, to help with can rotation {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Wall Mounted Can Racks In Pantry

by Jan

After

After

After Before

over the pantry door shelves
Jan at The Crafty Mermaid's Grotto shared this awesome can rack she's got mounted to the wall in her pantry.

She says of the before picture: "Here is a picture of the can racks with everything shoved on them willy-nilly."

She says of the after picture: "Here are the can racks all straightened up. I tossed out old items or things that the food pantry wouldn't take."

I have not been able to find a great place to buy these wall mounted ones, at least online. Plus, not everyone has this much wall space in their pantry.

However, a similar idea that is shows on the right is to use an over the door shelving unit, which has shallow wire basket like shelves as well. You can slip one right on your pantry door and increase your storage space dramatically.

Here are a couple of available varieties:

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Canned Goods In Pull Out Shelf In Cabinet

If you decide to put your canned goods in a cabinet, especially a deep one, really think about how hard it will be to retrieve some of the ones especially in the back.

If it is a low cabinet this is even more of a concern.

One way to use this space is to install a pull out basket shelf in the cabinet. Then, when you need something instead of having to reach far back into the space you pull out the whole basket, grab what you need, and then push the whole thing back inside.

It can be a real back saver, and make storing things like this more convenient in a space it might not otherwise have worked for you.



Photo courtesy of LizMarie_AK

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Use Metal Utility Shelving For Either Store Bought Or Home Canned Goods

by Angela

After

After

After Before

Angela at Confessions of a Craft Addict shared her before and after pictures of how she organizes her home canned goods.

She said: "My canning shelves in the basement were already pretty well organized after this summer. So, I didn't do a whole lot there, just a little straightening and putting away empty mason jars."

I like how she used metal utility shelves in the basement for this purpose. I have found these are very sturdy and a good value.

They don't look "beautiful" for main rooms of your home, but are great for garages, basements, and other utility type rooms!

Helpful hint though - before adding lots of heavy things to a shelf, especially breakable stuff such as Mason Jars, make sure the shelving unit you've purchased is sturdy enough to hold that much weight, so you don't break the shelves and ruin the contents. Ask me how I know! :)

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Lazy Susans For Canned Good Storage

If you don't have many cans, but you find it hard to find what you need one possibility is to place them on lazy susans in either your cabinets or pantry.

This allows you to turn the rotator and find what you need without having to shift all the cans around.

Of course, not many cans will fit on each one so this is only a good system if you don't eat a lot of this type of food in your home.

I suggest using one or more of these that are as large as possible but will still fit on your shelves. Therefore, this idea works best if you've got relatively deep shelves, so you can get a big enough turntable.



Photo courtesy of Rubbermaid Products

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Mounted Shallow Can Shelves Can Be Great In A Pantry

by Susan

Susan at Camp Slinkard shared the picture of her narrow can shelves.

Many times deep shelves can be helpful, but for cans that can make it a lot easier to "lose" some of them in the back, to be completely forgotten until they've expired.

So, for this common food items shallow shelves can be much more helpful. Yes, you can only place items one can deep on them, but everything is displayed that way.

Plus, deep shelves take up a lot more space than these narrow ones do.

***Update: An HSS101 Reader said: "Great idea. The wall behind the door in the kitchen/laundry room is wasted space . . . but not if you put shelves between the studs.

A sliding door over the shelves cleans up the space, but I like seeing the jars of home canned goods so I don't cover it up." ***End Update

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Use A Corner Cabinet Lazy Susan

by Crystal

Crystal from Crystal's Ramblings keeps hers in a lazy susan corner cabinet.

Sometimes people struggle with what to put in this kind of strangely shaped storage area, and this can be the perfect idea.

It is hidden most of the time, but it is easy to access the cans when you need them just by rotating the cabinet open.

This will only work though if you don't have too many cans. It can easily get too crowded if you're not careful.

***Update: I also got this word of caution about this method from a reader, which you should definitely keep in mind! Cans do weight a lot, of course. She says:

"My lazy susan cupboard is made with a plastic shelf. It is not made to handle the weight from can goods. Please don't put so much weight on the shelf that eventually it will break where it attaches to the pole in the center of your shelf. (Ask me how I know this). :0(" ***End Update

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Tiered Stair Stepper Platform For Cans On Pantry Shelves

by Tricia

Tricia shared before and after pictures of her pantry after taking Week #3's Challenge.

One of the things she added was a tiered stair stepper platform for her canned goods. You can see it on the right "after" picture.

These can help you see all of your canned foods more easily, especially the stuff in the back where it can be hard to see the labels otherwise.

This wouldn't necessarily be a great idea if you've got lots and lots of cans, but if you just have a few this can be quite useful and effective.

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Added Low Shelving On Pantry Floor For More Storage Space

by Lizzy

Lizzy says:

I needed more room for canned goods, etc. in my pantry so I took a shelf (that was meant to hold shoes) and if you look close you can see the shelves on the floor.

They are only about 27" wide but were just perfect to fit in the space and leave a little room on the side to store garbage bags and a large bag of dog food.

Taylor says:

Great idea Lizzy! Some shoe shelves might not be tall enough to accommodate cans, but it obviously worked well for you.

A similar idea are extender shelves that instead of placing on a shelf, you could place on the floor. Here are a couple of examples:

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Group Like Items Together On Shelves Of Pantry Or Cupboard

by Jennifer

Jennifer at Life of Reilly shared how she organized hers in her cupboard.

The key to her organization was to sort like items together, making it easier for her to find what she needed.

She explained this was her method: "Second shelf: canned goods, sorted into rows from left to right: vegetables, soups, gravy and other misc cans, fruits, and tomatoes."

That way if she needed tomatoes, for example, she could look to the far right and see what she had available, without having to look at each can on the whole shelf!

Have You Gotten Inspired To Get Organized Now?

organized home challenge
I hope that seeing all these different ways to organize and store your canned food has gotten your own creativity going, so you can tackle this area of your own home.

If you do this task, I'd love to see how you choose to do it. You can share your pictures and organizational accomplishments here and I'll add them to the page.

Further, I encourage you to join the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge where we slowly, over the course of the year, organize your entire home room by room, item by item.

Canned food storage ideas and solutions that you can use in your pantry or cupboard, whether you've got a lot of a little amount of canned goods {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Comments for Group Like Items Together On Shelves Of Pantry Or Cupboard

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How I organize them
by: Jo

I store my canned foods by expiration dates. A row for each month.

Caution!! - safety warning re wall and door storage units
by: Dana Jones

Please advice your readers to be cautious when putting up the storage units that can go on walls, doors, etc. The previous owner of our house had one on the pantry door, which we always thought was in good condition. While helping load cans our 4 year old daughter was pinned under the entire unit and all the cans and items that were on it after it fell completely off the door when she added a can to it. Thankfully, she was ok, but we immediately threw it out and decided to never use one of those again. Just an fyi to keep the kids safe. Thanks.

we invested in this for storage
by: Anonymous

While my mom and daughter, with her family, all lived with us we bought in bulk. (This was before I learned to can food myself). We invested in a storage unit by Shelf Reliance - it's amazing in organizing canned goods - it allows us to take advantage of good sales and keeps the oldest to the front as well. They are not cheap but I think it has paid for itself many times over. Apparently they've changed their name and carry other things but what I am referring to is the food storage systems they come in various sizes too.

Date on cans
by: Anonymous

I write on top of can month and year I purchased so it is easier to use oldest items first.

my storage system since I stockpile
by: MaryLena

The easy part is categorizing. More difficult is stretching cabinet space to accommodate my 5-week buying cycle.
Half shelves between the full ones rescue wasted space between can tops and the next shelf. This not only maximizes space but multiplies the number of categories. Full shelves are for heavy items like canned goods; half shelves for lightweight items like pastas, taco, cereals, cake mixes, coffee, etc. Blind corners, usually wasted space, are redeemed using former microwave lazy susans, from thrift shops. These are also good for spices. I even have a couple of "double deckers." Paper goods are stored on the top shelves; if one falls on you, no injury. Canned goods are stored at waist height. Juices at the bottom. Canistered items above canned goods, always in plastic screw top containers.

over the door vs. wall wire racks
by: AndreaRayna

Many of these "over the door" racks can be hung on the wall by turning the hook part around and securing to the wall with a sheet rock anchor.

Cans
by: roseyriver

I keep my cans in a drawer and write the contents on the top of the can with a sharpie marker pen.

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