I keep at least two weeks’ worth of food in the pantry that only needs heat and/or water to prepare. I have a fair amount of canned goods — beans, mostly — and I have always been concerned about stacking them too high. I also have to remember to rotate my stock every time I buy more beans from the store. I was looking for home storage products and found the Three tier can rack shelf from Get Organized. I thought I could use the rack to save space, store my cans more safely, and more easily put new cans into rotation.
This was my old can-storage situation. I store two cans per stack, with five stacks per row. That’s a total of forty cans of beans.
My Get Organized order arrived quickly. The can rack assembles easily. The frame is a three-piece wire section, and the three shelves attach to the frame via hooks on each end. The rack includes thin guide wires that are supposed to segregate cans on each shelf. I built a can rack and eagerly snatched five cans of beans from the pantry. I rolled a can down the slanted shelf. Sweet. I put in another can next to it. Sweet. I could imagine all the space I was saving. I put in a third can … and was disappointed to find that the shelf is about a half-inch too narrow to fit three large cans side by side.
The hooks that attach the shelfs to the frame are to blame. They gradually slant up towards the frame, and reduce the available storage area by about … you guessed it, a half-inch. I could cram three cans side-by-side, but then they wouldn’t have enough space to roll freely. Fuck.
I cleared space in the pantry and put one rack inside. I stacked it up full of cans, and this was the final result:
Not very impressive. I could store thirteen cans in a rack if I turned the cans in the left-most row. That’s twenty-seven less than my rackless method. Worse yet, the rack takes up more space — I had to scoot my cans of corn over to make the rack fit. I lost another row of cans making room for the rack, so the total “loss” of space is thirty-seven cans.
I didn’t get the other benefits I hoped for, either. The shelves are too close together to easily slide new cans in. My pantry shelf bowed under the pressure from the rack. I think the weight of the cans is focused through the two wire legs instead of spread out along all forty cans.
The product write-up for the can rack says it can store up to sixty cans. How was this possible?
Here’s the product shot from Get Organized. The first thing I noticed is that they have smaller cans in the rack. My bean cans are the size of the orange and corn cans. At first glance it looks like there are three cans per row, with room to spare. But the cans on the far right are smaller soup cans — 10.5 ounces instead of the 14.5 ounce bean cans. Damn my reading comprehension — er, visual comprehension!! We won’t even talk about the tiny tuna cans. I imagine you could cram sixty of those in a rack, but the weight might completely bend my wire pantry shelf.
Get Organized’s three tier can rack may be for you if you eat a lot of Campbell’s-sized soup or use cans of tomato paste on a regular basis. My BIG CAN needs make the can rack more of a space waster instead of a space saver. I suggest you pass.
Get Organized three tier can rack shelf, I shelve:
Two out of five STFU mugs!