Determine which type of shelf system you want to use and purchase one shelf to get started. Build your own, buy plastic or metal shelves, or splurge and buy a fancy can rotation system.

Key Points

  • Don’t let small spaces intimidate you. For a comprehensive list of helpful ideas view our Small Spaces Storage Solutions post
  • There are a wide variety of shelf options available. Determine the amount you feel comfortable spending and consider what will suit your needs best.
  • Options for canned goods and other Three Month Supply foods:
    • Build Your Own – Cheap & offers the most flexibility, but time-intensive
    • Inexpensive metal or plastic shelving (i.e. from Walmart) – A cheap and easy way to get started, shelves may not be as durable. Be careful with cheaper metal shelves as they may bow in the middle.
    • Higher quality metal shelves – Heavy duty hardware store shelves should have no problem with bowing or collapsing under heavy food weights.
    • Deluxe Can Rotation System – Most expensive option, but very convenient for easily rotating through foods. Found at ThriveLife.com (formerly ShelfReliance.com)
  • Start with one set of shelves and add more as your food storage grows.
  • Plastic may be better than metal for storing heavier items (cheap metal shelves tend to bow in the middle).
  • Adjustable shelf heights will be useful as you store different types and sizes of foods and cans.
  • Clear a space near your shelves for 5 gallon buckets/water containers/etc. Cover with old carpet or pallets to avoid storing directly on concrete.

Diagrams/Charts

Diagram to build your own can rotating rack food storage shelves out of cardboard. This diagram can be a little bit complex so we did a step-by-step tutorial you can view here: “How to Build Your Own Can Rotating Rack”.

More Information

Helpful Products

Deluxe Food Rotation Systems: Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) produces high quality shelves are customizable in any shape and size to fit everything from tuna cans to #10 cans and more!
CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks also from Thrive Life that can be adjustable for any width of small to medium can. Available in three sizes and fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry.
CanOrganizers: The cardboard rotating racks fit on any shelf in your cupboard or pantry. Three sizes available to best suit your needs.