Asked on Jan 03, 2017

How can I organize all of these cans?

by Sharon
I would like to put my canned goods in some type of order so you can see what they are and get to them more easily. Right now, they are stacked on top of each other but I try to group them. Canned fruits, tuna, vegetables, tomato sauces, etc. The pantry is very deep but very narrow, In the back, I've just placed things I should probably give away. The pictures show the top and middle shelves and the middle and bottom shelf. The bin is just what I purchased for another project, but I want to try and use it for this. I can (and will) take it back if it doesn't work. I bought four and you can stack 3 on top of each other. Thanks for your suggestions.
Middle and bottom shelves of pantry.
Top and middle shelves of pantry.
Partially filled. two rows of cans will fit in one bin. I have tomato stuff on right and pineapple on left side. My husband doesn't think we will be able to see what food is in can and that it won't be easily retrievable. Comments on this or other suggestions?
  37 answers
  • Jcraw Jcraw on Jan 03, 2017

    Return and look for a bargain on sliding shelves you can install. Elf, thru Crate and Barrel, or 20 companies on-line. Thru Bed Bath you get 20% off. Having dealt with this issue I know it's a financial bite, but consider the money you will save by not having 10 cans of everything. You can have tall bottle shelves and small can shelves and see Everthing with a quick slide out.

    Your pantry looks sturdy enough and it will change your life!!!

  • Lillian Tremblay Lillian Tremblay on Jan 03, 2017

    You could place all the like items ie the cereal boxes in a bin. That way you can easily take it down to choose your cereal and even label the bin so you know where it goes back. They sell raiser shelves at the $ store - each can have like items ie veggies, soup etc I have one in my closet and works wonders to find things. Things in envelopes ie Lipton soup or sauces I set them up like a file system in an old tupperware bin - again label on the front - I bought chalkboard tape so you can write in chalk - if you change your mind you can wet it and erase it!

  • ReneJackson ReneJackson on Jan 03, 2017

    Go out to a dollar store and buy plastic shoe boxes. Gather like cans and put them sideways into boxes. Them put them on your shelves. Put all the foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper into a magazine holter. Put the boxer cereals into large plastic containers and toss the boxes. That should help.


  • Sgr7349969 Sgr7349969 on Jan 04, 2017

    My pantry is deep and narrow also, so I understand your challenges. I recommend bins on the back of the door (Google-search "door storage bins", "door storage racks", or "door storage organizer"), along with pull-out shelves and bins on drawer glides in the back (The Container Store is an excellent resource). Instead of stacking cans 4-5 high on your top and middle shelves, you can add more shelves and put deep refrigerator organizers on the shelves. If your space is 11" deep--the standard for an upper cabinet--I recommend Tupperware's Modular Mates Super Oval containers for your dry goods (rice, beans, pasta, cereal); they are deep and narrow, stack nicely, and have a clear window so you can see what's inside.

  • Paulette Paulette on Jan 04, 2017

    You definitely need more shelves. Just copy the shelves you have. Make some just 1-2" taller than the average veg can. Cut down sturdy cardboard boxes for trays. Attach a rope handle to the outside of the cutdown box on each side, or the cardboard will rip too easily. Or just use long narrow boxes. You can put the cans in a row going back, all corn in a row, then beans etc. Pull out to see, supporting from the bottom. I don't know how many cans deep the closet goes but you can double up varieties. Definitely utilize door organizers for lightweight boxes and bags. This will deepen your door storage and shorten your shelf storage. If you still have alot of room behind what you use regularly, use it to store out of season decor or other rarely used items. Just pull out a cardboard tray and it is accessible. Something I did for the moms is put empty boxes at the back of their cabinets because they couldn't see or reach to the back anyway. It kept cans from getting lost for years , then bulging and leaking. (Really happened) Emptying cereal etc into other containers never really worked for me because there would be a little left in the box and I'd buy a new box and had nowhere to put it. It's easier to just take the little amt from the old box and rest in the new box to get used up. Use baggies if you have to. You can buy sliding trays and drawers if you have the money but I never did. If you install shelving strips on the sides of the closet, then you can continually change the height of the shelves as needed. Make sure to mount in studs if at all possible. Groceries are heavy. Good luck.

  • C Crow C Crow on Jan 04, 2017

    I have the same issue as Sharon and just want to thank you all for the ideas you've provided here!

  • C C on Jan 05, 2017

    My first thought was that you should install pull-out shelves that have a lip around the edge...... However, I noticed in the pictures that your pantry appears to be even deeper than I expected!

    Here are 2 other options.... {see pictures}

    Although the first option may seem like a loss of space, I think it would be far more functional & actually increase your storage. Make the shelves on the left of the pantry ONLY deep enough for a large can..... and the back shelves deep enough for boxes or baskets.

    The second option with an entire roll out cart would be my personal choice. Haha

    • See 2 previous
    • Karen Reilly Karen Reilly on Jan 06, 2017

      I like the skinny shelf on the left idea and wider ones in the back.

  • Vickie Raymond Vickie Raymond on Jan 05, 2017

    I have found that the beverage storage trays, that you lay the cans down and they gravity roll into position, work well for me. I use several. Corn, etc.,another for beans/peas, another for soups, etc. If you don't want what is in first position, just move back to top to put into rotation for future consideration.

  • Rca16575778 Rca16575778 on Jan 05, 2017

    i bought a shoe bag to hang on inside of pantry door.. i use it for saran wrap, foil n envelopes of food jiffy mixes, anything that will fit, has been a great idea for me

  • Sheena Sheena on Jan 06, 2017

    I have a pull out cupboard so I can see what is on the shelves. I also used to have a can holder rack that was U shaped lying on its side. The cans got fed in on the top leg of the U and the can would then roll down to the bottom leg. This way the cans are automatically rotated and you can see them.

  • Joyce Gilliard Joyce Gilliard on Jan 07, 2017

    You people must all live miles from a grocery store....looks like hoarding to me

    • See 2 previous
    • Joyce Gilliard Joyce Gilliard on Jan 08, 2017

      I apologize..everybody has the right to do what's best for them.

  • Lindy Lindy on Jan 07, 2017

    Hmmmm, well I have a functional pantry that works for me so my comment is basically about hoarding. It's just my husband and myself, but I stilI buy in bulk. I am not a hoarder, but rather someone who hates grocery shopping almost as much as wanting to make something for dinner but finding I need to run to the store for that one item. In doing so you save time, money on spur of the moment items and gas. I'd opt for the pull out convenient wire shelving unit as a suggestion.

  • Harriett Fergason Harriett Fergason on Jan 07, 2017

    I found some sliding shelfs on line and they work great. My daughter bought a new home and had sliding pantry shelfs in the kitchen. The shelfs have to sturdy because of the heavy cans. My handy husband made the shelfs for the drawers. They pull out so you can see all the way to the back.

  • Suzann Suzann on Jan 07, 2017

    I have pull out shelves with front/back and sides about three inches deep. I have them on drawer rollers so you can pull them out. There is about and inch and a half in between the top of bottom one and the bottom of the next on on top. They are 24 inches deep. I then lay my can goods down in each drawer front to back and three cans across. I have six drawers like that. I am amazed at how many canned goods I am able to put in them. The wider cans go in a drawer that has more space between the top of the drawer and the bottom of the next drawer on top. I then have some drawers that have more space between drawers for the items that are taller. The width of your space looks like you could put drawers from the floor to as high as you can see into the drawers. I also placed pull out drawers above my sight line but put tile mirrors on the bottom of the drawers so I could see what was in those drawers by looking into the mirrors.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ntun2music Ntun2music on Jan 11, 2017

      I love this idea, however I live in a rental and the walls of the pantry are thin panels so they wouldn't hold the drawers. I am saving this for future reference, though.

  • Julie Boshell Julie Boshell on Jan 08, 2017

    looks good i had a cabnet maker make shelves that pulled all the way out i love

    it . i can see eveything on the shelf

  • Banjojane66 Banjojane66 on Jan 08, 2017

    Looks like the others have my ideas, so I can only add that when SHTF comes around, you will have plenty to eat!! Congratulations on providing the best ways to store your food and use the space in your home!! I have a back porch with a freezer and shelves for everything. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Nancy Flemming Nancy Flemming on Jan 08, 2017

    Your husband is right this time, you will be just as frustrated not being able to see what you have. Pull out drawers and lay cans on side like Suzann suggests, you could also label your draws or instead of wooden fronts you could use plexiglass to see into them. Good luck let us know what you do.

  • Virginia Virginia on Jan 08, 2017

    I don't have a large pantry like this, but I do keep a good supply of canned items and dry goods on hand. For the cans, I use a spin-turn table. One turn table for tomato products, one for soups, one for vegetables and one for canned beans. I haven't found a good way to manage the dried goods....yet except in a basket from the dollar store.

  • Suzann Suzann on Jan 08, 2017

    You are welcome. Good luck on your project.

  • Karen Dunnam Karen Dunnam on Jan 08, 2017

    My cupboards all had one shelf, so I added more. These are inexpensive finished shelves from Home Depot, and I took measurements along and had them cut to fit at the time of purchase. In a couple of instances I fastened two shelves together using joining plates.

    Not shown: my storage bins for baking supplies. Those are up high in deep cabinets, so I added a few bins that easily pull out.

    Hope these ideas help!

  • Glenys Glenys on Jan 09, 2017

    The trolley you have on the floor - could you turn it round so that the narrow end is toward you? Then there would be room for another one next to it - being able to slide things is always easier. In England, shoe shops are always happy to give shoe boxes away. Then they're easier to divide up, and label. And when they wear out, get some more! Keep eg dried beans in coffee jars - then if you have any littlr 4-footed intruders, they can't eat anything. Could you have sweet on the top shelf? As it happens, I don't like fixed shelves, but I suppose that might be more expensive than you want, but it does save space. Hope this helps! Best wishes Glenys

  • Cynthia Jordan Cynthia Jordan on Jan 09, 2017

    I have a kitchen closet/pantry that is deep but not wide -- similar to your closet . It has several shelves. I always hated not being able to see what was way in back. I didn't want to waste the space I had in back by not using it, so I bought some sliding metal trays at Lowe's. The ones I bought that I use for canned goods is screwed to the shelf so when I pull the tray out it won't tip from the weight of the can goods. I also bought a double sliding tray that I put on the floor and use this for storing paper towels and toilet paper. Since the double sliding tray was on the floor and it was being used for light weight items, I didn't bother securing it. I love being able to use all the space available and having easy access to everything. Probably the best investment I every made. Not too expensive either.

  • Patricia Pittman Patricia Pittman on Jan 10, 2017

    Today there was a Walmart ad for a storage rack for cans (3 shelves and cans are on their sides. I have a cabinet with not a lot of shelves (an oven used to live there) and it's tall and deep, also my husband made a pullout drawer for cans.

  • Patricia Pittman Patricia Pittman on Jan 10, 2017

     This is what I saw in the Walmart ad.

  • Paulette Paulette on Jan 10, 2017

    I made suggestions earlier, but I must say, I love the way so many people have so many different ways of accomplishing the same goal. There are many ways to do the same thing. You can pick and choose what works for you. I love it! Personally, I love the pullout shelves on wheels. Put the most used items on the end.

  • Amm7025897 Amm7025897 on Jan 14, 2017

    Do you remember all the soda can organizers for the refrigerator? You can find them cheap at thrift stores, they are phenomenal for organizing cans.

  • Lori Lori on Jan 14, 2017

    I was going to suggest using those Ammon! You can also make them out of cardboard if you don't stack anything on top of them. I also use plastic crates as 'drawers' for cans too big for those soda can organizers.

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Oct 01, 2022

    I have several organizing posts that might help you

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 01, 2022

    We added a second half self above each normal shelf. This nearly doubles our storage space and makes it much easier to see what you have on hand.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 24, 2022

    Shelf or Rack.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 04, 2022

    If have found pull out shelving to be a winner. I use this for my heavy glass cookware so it hold some serious weight.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 05, 2022

    I like putting the same items in a group so they are easier to find also turning the labels all the in same direction so you can read them at a glance helps.

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Feb 07, 2023

    I found these canned goods organizers on Amazon.. they assemble easily, fit all different sizes of cans and I think they can be stacked... and... when you move you can take them with you

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 17, 2023

    I put all canned soups in a group with the product label facing out so we know what it is at a glance, same with beans, fruits...cereals on the top shelf with belly to belly.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Nov 29, 2023

    Walmart has a great selection of risers and lazy Susan type products that can help you get the cans organized. :)

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 01, 2023

    Arrange the cans front to back by expiration date, placing the closest-to-expire items in the front and the newest ones in the back. You can also organize pantry cans according to how often you reach for a certain item, making sure to place your most frequently used items toward the front so they're easier to access.