What Type of Food Storage Shelves to Buy

Our BabyStep 1 is to get your shelves, and food storage area ready. The reason we have shelves as step number 1 (after your basic emergency prep) is because when you have a room set up, building and adding to your food storage feels fun. It no longer becomes a task of figuring out where to put stuff. So whether its cheap and temporary shelves, or if you’re more experienced and run into extra money, some of the food rotation shelves can be really nice solutions.

When deciding on which shelves to put in your home, there are a lot of things to consider. We go into this is greater depth on our BabyStep 1 page. You may have space or budget issues to deal with, but there are options out there. Depending on what types of foods you are storing, rotating shelves can be a great thing to have. It’s also okay to start small with one shelf, and then add to it as you grow your food storage.

Shelving Options

Heavy Duty Shelves:

You can get some decent shelves at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and other stores like that. You can also price check them on Amazon’s Shelf page to see if you are getting a good deal. These shelves vary in size, and pounds they will hold. If you will be storing heavier foods on them, invest in quality shelves if you can. These types of shelves are good for boxed foods, oils, honey, and a lot of miscellaneous cereals etc. Depending on how tall between shelves, they aren’t always good for cans, since you can only stack cans so high (unless you use a small rotating shelf with them).

Pantry Size Can Rotators:

If you store a lot of cans, there are a few different options for you. If you have space on your regular shelves, you can make or buy rotating shelf units that sit on your shelves and help organize your canned goods.

Make Your Own: Free plan for building cardboard rotating can racks. This is a cheap option but can be time intensive.

Cardboard CanOrganizers: Similar to the ones you build yourself, but CanOrganizers are a little sturdier and simple to put together. Save money by buying several at once.

Plastic CanSolidators: The heavy-duty plastic Cansolidators from Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) have a ton of flexibility for can sizes and are very durable. As Thrive Life Consultants, we can get you these CanSolidators for a GREAT discount. Check out the sample savings:

The largest size “CanSolidator Pantry Plus” is actually one of Thrive Life’s April Monthly Specials and is ON SALE for only $37.99, retail $62.99. Sale ends April 30th

Food Rotation Systems:

If it’s in the budget, these shelves are an absolute dream. They make rotating and keeping track of everything so easy. When deciding which type of Food Rotation System to buy, make sure you take into account the width of the different shelves, and what kinds of cans they hold. The traditional shelves hold some small (soup), medium, and #10 cans all in one unit. You you can also get shelves that carry all small, or all #10 can sizes. Again, it becomes a matter of what kinds of foods you store more of. As Thrive Life Consultants, we can get you these amazing Food Rotation Systems for a GREAT discount. You must click ADD TO CART to see the full sale price come up. Check out the sample savings:


There isn’t a “one size fits all” shelf out there. Some people recommend shelves based on what works great for them, but if you don’t eat the same types of foods as them, they may not work great for you. For example a rotating shelf with small soup size cans may be perfect for a family that eats a lot of canned goods, however for a family who rarely eats canned food, it may be useless. On the other hand, you may find that as you grow your food storage, you start eating differently so a shelf that may work now, may not work forever. When Julie moved into her new house, she moved her food storage shelves out to her garage to store her e-prep supplies and got new shelves that fit her room and foods better. Change is good, even with food storage shelves.


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  • Grammy

    We inherited several industrial strength wire racks. These hold hundreds of pounds on each shelf. We then purchased one from a hardware store and it was NOT the same strength or carrying capacity. Only order these shelves on-line to get ones that are sturdy enough. You are also able to purchase attachable labels and “lips” to prevent items from falling off. However, I do NOT like these shelves. The wire racks must be covered with something firm in order to safely store my canning jars. I would rather have a different system with solid shelves .

  • Momof7

    I put a lot of my dry food storage in 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids so it’s easy to access.  Problem is that I have about 10-12 buckets, and I have to stack them 3 high.  It makes it hard to access the bottom ones and I can’t send the kids for a refill.  Is there a solution for making 5 gallon buckets easy to access, but also space-saving?  Seems like there should be a simple rack to build that I could put the buckets in at a slant so I could easily access them.  I know you can buy stackable gamma lid bins (like for dog food), but I don’t want to invest that much in buying all new buckets.  

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi and Julie

      That’s a good question, we should be on the look out. It IS annoying to use when you have stuff you need on the bottom row. I have the same problem. The food is just so heavy…. maybe we’ll have to ask on our facebook if anyone has a good way of storing buckets- and how they stack/shelf them.

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi and Julie

      That’s a good question, we should be on the look out. It IS annoying to use when you have stuff you need on the bottom row. I have the same problem. The food is just so heavy…. maybe we’ll have to ask on our facebook if anyone has a good way of storing buckets- and how they stack/shelf them.

    • Renee

      Isn’t there the Bucket Shelf by Thrive Life, now?

  • http://rethinksurvival.com/ Millenniumfly

    I like the cansolidator by shelf reliance but have found that they don’t fit real well on some shelves due to depth requirements. The larger Harvest rotation system is awesome provided you have the space for it.

  • Fourinohio

    I love the adjustable metal shelves from Target. They come in multiple widths and can hold something like 300 pounds per shelf. They are VERY reasonable and come on sale often, especially around “back to school” times. I have 6 sets of the 48″ and a couple Harvest 72″ and that holds everything I have, for a family of 4, and then some…

  • Bullockes

    Hi!  What we did was combined 2 projects:  we wanted to insulate our garage as well as create storage for food.  So we bought from Home Depot the insulation, studs and peg board (instead of plywood).  We put it up.  Then I went out and bought L brackets and 1″ thick x 12′ long boards.  We hammered the L brackets into the studs, lining up the holes in the peg board for levelness.  Then we placed the 12′ long board on the L brackets with the end bent up (so the board wouldn’t slide off).  The L bracket was a bit longer than the width of the board.  We were able to put up 8 shelves on a 12′ section for around $300. This adds up to 96′ of storage compacity! 
    Sandi