Thread Number: 38964  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
Canned Goods Storage
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Post# 413595   9/8/2019 at 22:02 (300 days old) by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


Here was a good Sunday afternoon project.

Ever since we've lived here, we've kept canned goods crammed into two shelves by the stove. These shelves are low to the floor and very deep and narrow.

This was a ridiculously impractical storage space for canned goods -- the two-foot-deep shelves made it hard to find anything or keep any sort of inventory. I frequently went out and bought more stuff because I thought we were out when I couldn't find it.

Well, I finally decided to make a solution to the canned goods dilemma. I pulled everything out and went through it all, discarding expired goods. Some of the cans way in the back had expiration dates of 2012 on them!

Then I de-cluttered a narrow bookshelf in my bedroom and placed it alongside the wooden cabinetry that encloses the refrigerator.

The shelf fits there perfectly, as if it had been made to order! That's where the canned goods are now. It's easy to see what's there, so this will make life just a little bit easier.

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Post# 413644 , Reply# 1   9/10/2019 at 00:38 (299 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Post# 413651 , Reply# 2   9/10/2019 at 08:30 (298 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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My storage shelf/ deep freeze in the garage space saves my butt. I do have to keep up on the rotation of new to the back. Great idea Charles!

Post# 413671 , Reply# 3   9/10/2019 at 19:45 (298 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Built-in medicine cabinets make use of space in the walls that usually goes unused. These are in the side of the pantry. I had added them to my house right after it was built so that they matched everything else. However, you can get style-creative if that is not possible due to age differences.

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Post# 413871 , Reply# 4   9/15/2019 at 22:51 (293 days old) by dartman (Portland OR)        

We bought a cheap pantry type cabinet with 2 doors in a light wood vanier cheap and put it against the wall in the dining room. It matches the look of the kitchen cabinets and I wish we could find another or something similar. We have cans and gadgets everywhere on top and in the cabinets but at least some of the overflow is in that pantry thing and it looks nice enough.

Post# 413877 , Reply# 5   9/16/2019 at 01:04 (293 days old) by huskyvacs (Midwest)        

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I did the same, have on rolling racks in my basement, but only temporarily until I eat it all. I don't want two big shelves hogging space in my basement. My mother always over-buys food, and me I just buy food and snacks when I see it on sale or on clearance, and save it to go with my lunch or as a meal another day.

There is no danger in eating expired food, I eat 2-3 years expired food all the time because I do not make a hobby of wasting food. But always check canned goods because acidic foods can eat away the protective liner inside the can and put that metal into the food. Also just common sense if it looks discolored from normal or smells bad, don't risk it.

You should have saved the expired cans, people collect old cans. I wish I would have thought of that when I purged the fridge in 2014 - there was old jars and stuff from Walmart's old Great Value design in the mid 2000's. I just have a few old cans from the early 2000's so far.

Here's the racks, eventually working through eating the stuff or eating enough to file the rest away into the cabinets. I always take empty boxes I see on store shelves to assist in keeping the shelves organized and the food from falling off, as they have no backs or sides.

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Post# 413878 , Reply# 6   9/16/2019 at 01:08 (293 days old) by huskyvacs (Midwest)        

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Forgot to mention I have all the locations in the house cataloged and inventoried with a phone app called "Freezer". It takes a long time to catalog it all by hand and get it all entered in (took me a few months), but it's worth it when you have your own unintentional supermarket. lol

Post# 413920 , Reply# 7   9/16/2019 at 19:55 (292 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Respectable points you made. The local food bank will take canned goods up to a year past the date, as there is a good safety built in to accommodate potential improper storage conditions. I will try most things up to a year or two past the date if they pass the look, smell, touch, and taste rules. Eggs I have had up to 8 months past. Milk up to 1 month past. It all depends on storage conditions and how well it was processed. However, after 3 years i will not even try it. Meat I am pretty pick on.

People collect old cans?? New one on me, and ironically I had just chucked about 30 old cans last night. I was given a small bag of rice last week that I put in the pantry, not knowing it was infested with bugs. Found out yesterday and they were everywhere on that shelf. During the cleaning scramble, stuff came out that I had long forgotten about. First 2012, then 2008, then 2004, then.......... 1996. Yes, almost 25 years old. I then stopped and my eyes teared up. These were part of the many groceries my mom had brought over when I had first moved into this house in 1995. Over the years new stuff was bought and covered the old. Some of these cans were ok but most were leaking or starting to leak. Two cans of carrots had already leaked and were dry inside - talk about dehyrated! I was sentimental enough to carefully cut off the labels from each but the cans just had to go.

Today the trash was emptied so I started cleaning through the boxed stuff, and I found more very old factory sealed packages. Cup a Soup packets, hot chocolate, crackers, cookies, pasta, and more. Remember Walmart's 'Sam's American Choice?' Coca Cola Classic 'Santa pack' from 1996? Doritos 'Star Wars' R2D2 limited edition bags? 'Dinosaurs' cookies? M&Ms from Pirates of the Caribbean? All were here. I found coupons inside some that had expired 1997, which caused me to get teary eyed again as I prepared to dump them into the trash. I stopped and went out to mow the grass for a change of mind. If there are any food historians around here who wants this stuff, I would be happy to let them have it! The interesting part is that much of this smelled and looked just fine (but some were rancid). There were no bugs in any of it so far. Was food processed better back then or what? I have 3 more shelves and two more cabinets to go through so more treasures may be found. Just very difficult to let it all go due to its history. A strange guy I am!

Post# 413922 , Reply# 8   9/16/2019 at 21:41 (292 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Husky, looks like you're prepared for the apocalypse. Was gonna mention tomato acidity in canned food, but looks like you've got the whole eating expired canned goods thing down pat :P

Post# 413930 , Reply# 9   9/17/2019 at 00:21 (292 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I notice the racks have wheels. Where did you get them.
You guys are great organizers. I may use some ideas on my upcoming project.

Post# 414224 , Reply# 10   9/24/2019 at 09:24 (284 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        

That's really impressive the way you've got those shelves stocked. I wasn't expecting that. For a split second I thought I was looking at the inside of a mom & pop corner market. Kudos!

Post# 414245 , Reply# 11   9/25/2019 at 10:44 (283 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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It amazes me how many people are under the mistaken impression that packaged food instantly goes toxic the day after the "expiration" date on the package, regardless of whether that date is labeled "Best by...", "Sell by...," or "Use by..." Seriously, I have known people who, if a product has a date of, say, September 2019 on it, would think nothing of eating it for dinner on Sept. 30, 2019, but would treat it as though it were poisonous the following morning.

That said, there are limits to everything. When my parents were moving to a retirement community in 2016, they were "eating down" their extremely overstocked pantry (Dad was a supply officer in the navy and still bought groceries in shipload quantities) and one night Mom fixed a salad and Dad pulled a mostly full bottle of blue cheese or ranch dressing that had expired in 2012 out of the refrigerator and dumped it on his salad. He then got mad with Mom and me for finding an unopened, in-date bottle dressing and using that instead. I'm sorry, but the shit was four years out of date, contained dairy and had been open God knows how long. There was no way I was going to touch it.

As part of the moving process, my sister rented a construction dumpster and had it put in the driveway to dispose of stuff they weren't taking with them and that nobody else wanted. Dad about had a conniption when he came home one day and my mom and aunt had dumped all manner of expired cans, boxes of cereal, etc. into there. While the move didn't kill him, I don't think he ever recovered from the stress of it.

Post# 414479 , Reply# 12   9/30/2019 at 22:44 (278 days old) by huskyvacs (Midwest)        

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Les, if you have a Menards in your area you can find the racks there, common metal utility racks. About 50 other china-pride companies make them, so you might find something similar on Amazon. They had the wheels there too (shelves never came with wheels), and they cost like $14 for the set, but they are worth it. Moving these heavily loaded shelves is like butter because of the large wheel size and solid rubber.

human, I agree. When getting rid of things, you have to overcome the mental conflict in your brain as to if it stays or goes. You can;t have someone else just come in and "fix the problem". It wil cause a total breakdown in that person and they will hold that grudge for decades or lose sleep at night over it. I've been there. I have been working with myself for years and it has taken the constant losing of things I need, and tripping or cutting my feet on stuff laying around, or not having room for new things to make myself go "okay, I want to have a livable house again" and I can now get rid of things on my own - but I don't want to just give it away either. I try and sell it first.

kirbyguy, that is an amazing sequence of events in your house. Your dry climate there must have contributed to the long-term preservation of the cans. I know every inch of my house, I don't think it would be possible to forget about food for that long. lol I just had a few cans blow this weekend from 2015 expiration that had totally decayed and had eaten away the inside of the can and then caused it to blow.

And yeah both people that like old food graphics/items as well as movie set designers love having old food items to use as background props for sets/shows./commercials. For canned stuff you can always just use a can opener that does a neatly cut lid open, empty the contents, wash the can and just keep the can sans contents. I paid $25 on eBay for some Durango'Os cereal that came from the Dodge booth at the Detroit auto show in 1997 for the promotion of the then-new Dodge Durango. My mother owns an '02 and I grew up with that truck so it's a really cool thing to have.

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