How to Organize Canned Goods


Canned foods are ideal for stocking up and storing, but keeping them organized can be a challenge. If your supply of canned goods has turned into a jumbled mess, then these tips for organizing canned goods are for you!

What You Will Need:

How to Get It Organized:

  1. The first step is to know what you’re working with. Pull out your canned goods and group them by contents. Consider one of the following storage and organization solutions based on what you have in front of you and the amount of apace you have available for organizing.
  2. A Three-tier Can Rack Shelf holds 36 standard sized cans in a small 10” x 14” x 10 ½” space. It’s ideal for keeping cans rotated because when you remove a can from the front, the rest roll forward. Simply load from the back to keep your supply effortlessly in circulation. Cans must be loaded from the back, so you’ll have to be able to pull it out from the back of the cabinet unless you want to remove all of the cans and push them in from the front. Still, if you buy in bulk, this is a great organizer.
  3. Use an Under Sink Storage Shelf if you have a lot of cans and limited space – it’s perfect for reclaiming space that has few practical uses. The expandable shelving, made from plastic and wire, adjusts around your plumbing for a custom storage solution. You can easily fit large quantities of cans here!
  4. This Expandable Shelf Organizer is a mere 9 ¼ “ deep so it’s great for shallow cabinets, but it adjusts from 15” to 28” wide to fill almost any space. Best of all, the stair-step design keeps the items in the back row visible from the front, which virtually eliminates lost items in the back. These are ideal for situations where you have several different kinds of canned goods, as it allows you to see all of them at once.
  5. For small spaces, consider a Narrow Shelf Organizer. Just 10” wide and 8 5/8” deep, this three-step riser will fit in narrow cabinets and still allow you to see what you have on each of the three rows at a glance.
  6. For shelving with a lot of “overhead”, divide the space in half with a Large Expanding Shelf. This simple shelf sits on your existing shelf and provides a second storage surface 5 ¼” above it. At 10” deep, this shelf expands from 16 3/8” to 32 ½” wide for maximum storage potential.
  7. Once you’ve found a storage helper to expand your space, it’s time to organize it. Line your canned goods up from oldest to newest and put the new ones at the back of your space, continuing forward so that the oldest are at the front.
  8. Start a new row for each kind of food. For example, a row of lima beans is next to a row of green beans – not mixed in with it.
  9. If you run short on space, start a second row on top of an existing one. Always stack like items on top of one another (if space allows) before starting a second row, but even items that are not the same can be grouped in this manner. For example, store beef broth on top of chicken broth. When you create stacked rows, put the item you always have fewer of on top.
  10. Keep similar items together. Canned tomatoes should stay near tomato sauces. Keep beans together, and fruits grouped in another section.
  11. As you add new canned goods to your supply, put them in the back and move the line forward. It takes a few extra minutes to put groceries away, but the reward is well worth the effort!

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Use under sink or basement storage for bulk items and move 4-5 cans at a time to your cabinet as space permits.
  • If you have trouble seeing the expiration date, write it on the end of the can with a permanent marker.
  • If your cabinets are narrow and deep, use rolling can storage to keep them front and center, or make long lines of one product from front to back.
  • A pantry is the ideal place to store large quantities of cans, especially when you have several of one item. For many different types of canned foods, use tiered organizers so you can see what’s in the back at a glance.

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