I’ve written often about preparing for emergencies, and more recently about the threat of inflation. In both cases, one of the generally recommended solutions is to build up a reserve supply of foods that you eat regularly, so that if the supply is interrupted, or prices get too high to be affordable, you have something to fall back on. To that end, canned foods are a vital part of emergency preparedness.
For years I’ve used the cardboard CanOrganizer storage units. I reviewed them back in 2013. Sadly, it looks like the company making them is no more – at least, its Web site is defunct. That’s a real pity, because they made a very useful product. However, in searching for alternative can organizer tools to expand our pantry storage, I came across the Cansolidator series from Shelf Reliance.
They work on exactly the same principle as the CanOrganizer: you put new cans in on the upper level, and they roll down an inclined ramp, fall down to the lower level, and roll back to the front, where you take them out as needed. In this way, you’re constantly rotating the cans, using the oldest first.
I particularly like the adjustable-width Cansolidator segments. They can be tailored to the size of the cans they contain, so that no space is wasted.
They snap together very easily (a rubber hammer comes in handy to make sure the tabs are properly seated in the notches), and are stronger than the cardboard CanOrganizer. I’ve chosen to build mine in 20″-long units, rather than longer ones, because if I ever have to move them, the extra length and weight would make them unwieldy.
The only complaint I have about the Cansolidator is that it can hold a maximum of ten normal-size cans per segment (slightly more of smaller cans like Campbell’s soup, or tomato paste, or whatever). The cardboard CanOrganizer came in four different sizes, so if you needed a lot of cans of one particular food, you could choose a longer, higher-capacity storage unit for them, and pick a shorter, smaller one for other foods. The Cansolidator is equivalent to the medium-size CanOrganizer, but offers only the one size. However, I suppose you can use two segments, side-by-side, if you want to store more than 10 cans of something. So far, I’m reserving the Cansolidator for foods where I stock fewer cans, and using the longer CanOrganizers for foods more in demand.
I’m not being compensated in any way for recommending the Cansolidator; in fact, the makers have never heard of me and don’t know I’m writing this review. Nevertheless, it’s an outstandingly useful product, easy to assemble, tough enough for all normal use, and very versatile – much more so than wire-shelf products I’ve tried, which were mostly somewhat unstable when fully loaded. I’ve bought two of the six-segment, 60-can-capacity Pantry Plus Cansolidators (as illustrated in the first photograph above), and assembled them into three shorter, 4-segment units (they’re very flexible that way). I’ll be buying more if needed. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a way to organize and/or expand your reserve food storage – something I suggest we should all be doing, what with the hard times that so clearly lie ahead.