Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Canned Goods Rack

This is in part an encore post about one of my favorite kitchen organization tools (originally posted in September of 2008):

When we moved into our house a few years back, the one thing that I was glad to gain was a pantry in the kitchen. At our last house, we had used a closet in our basement to store extra food items. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the wire rack shelving that seems to be used so universally in the pantries and closets of newer construction is not at all suited for holding significant numbers of cans. At least not with the configuration that I have that only has side supports due to the relatively small size of the pantry. To combat this, I found myself organizing my shelves with cans lining the three wall sides and then filling the middle with other "lighter" stuff. Unfortunately, this way of organizing resulted in me double stacking cans and made locating items more challenging. I would lose product in my pantry and find it only after it expired. This just wasn't working for me, there had to be a better way to organize the cans in my pantry so that I could find them and use them on a first in first out basis.

I wanted something that would allow me to organize my cans where they would be easily accessible. As I thought about possible solutions, I decided that the racks that Campbell's Soup was displayed in on shelf was exactly what I needed to help me organize my pantry. I figured that something like that would be easy to find. I searched high and low for something that I could purchase. I tried a number of racks, including both wire and plastic soda can organizers, but nothing worked for canned vegetables. I even contacted Campbell's directly to see if I could either order through them or if they could put me in contact with a supplier. All to no avail.

Then, one day, I found it. I found it on (it's no longer available, but I read on to learn about a similar item I have recently found). It has plastic rails with metal connection rods. It was a little more money than I had hoped to spend, but I decided to maximize my shipping dollar and to allow for more storage, I would get two racks. This turned out to be a great idea on my part, because when I received the racks, I discovered that when you bought two you could use the enclosed connection rods to connect the two racks, creating a "third" rack between the two I had purchased. The two racks I had purchased were perfectly sized for a standard vegetable can (and canned pasta, beans, tomatoes, etc) and the additional rack created with the connection rods is the perfect size for soup cans. Actually, if I had bought the third rack, I would then be able to have five "racks". The modularity is a very nice feature.

Each rack has two sections, one inside the other, so it allows for the storage of a lot of cans. I keep vegetables in one section, beans in one, tomatoes in one and canned pasta meals in one. I have two sections for soup, which I have split between eating soups and cooking soups. It is a great organization tool. Since you load the cans from the top and remove them from the bottom, it helps to make sure that we are using the oldest product first.

I keep the rack on the floor, it is much too heavy to put on a shelf. This required me to relocate things like soda that I had previously stored on the floor of the pantry, but freed up some additional space for me on the shelves. I still struggle to keep the balance of the pantry organized, but my cans are always in order.

As I mentioned earlier, I recently found another Canned Goods Organizer - the Cansolidator. I am really excited about this line of organizers. It has added flexibility that my current organizer does not have. It comes in multiple sizes - from cupboard to pantry plus. The Pantry size accommodates different types of cans - from tuna cans to 30 oz cans (my current one only works for soup cans and vegetable cans). I am excited to let you know that I will soon be doing a review and giveaway of the Cansolidator. (I had hoped to have it in time for this post, but since it is not here yet, you will have to watch for the giveaway over the next few days.)

Organizing my cans works for me!

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.