Best ways to store #10 cans
I’ve been building up my supply of #10 dehydrated food cans & am just getting around to organizing them. Anyone have suggestions for tall shelving that fits these specific cans? I live in earthquake country so something with a bar holding them in would be great too. I’d love to build some custom wood shelving but that’s way beyond my skill set. I’m also wondering about rodents. Should I be concerned about the metal cans attracting mice/rats & putting them in totes on the shelves (they’re going in my garage) or are the metal cans safe on their own? Thanks guys!
hikermor - December 23, 2021
Canned goods are impervious to rats and mice, also dogs and cats, etc….
pnwkraken - December 23, 2021
I kind of figured but I’ve been surprised to find things they’ve gotten through or into in the past when I lived in the country. Good to know though, thank you.
Barb LeeContributor - December 23, 2021
I can’t really offer anything by way of building shelves, but…we have some built in shelves in our food storage area. Each shelf has a 4″ strip along the bottom that will hold in short stuff. For taller stuff, I have installed eye screws at each end of the shelving (about 8 ft long), and a screw-in hook in the center brace. I use a ratchet binder from eye screw to eye screw to keep the taller stuff from falling off. The binder is supported in the center by the hook. These binders are really tight. The whole shelf will have to fall before the binders fail. And that will be a catastrophic failure! I also have binders strapped across some metal industrial shelving units that are attached to the wall.
I actually seal my #10 cans in gallon size vacuum bags to prevent rust damage. So far, no failures. Some cans vacuum sealed around 2015.
We are also in earthquake country.
pnwkraken - December 23, 2021
This is great advice, especially for the possibility of an earthquake. I like the idea of vacuum sealing the cans too. Honestly hadn’t thought of doing that. Thank you!
RedneckContributor - December 23, 2021
I believe in keeping it simple… and cheap. I use standard closet wire shelving that you can get at any hardware store. Granted, most of my stores are on the ground in 6 gallon plastic containers, however I do use a bit of shelving in my storage room. It is an easy, one person DIY project to install this shelving. In an earthquake area, you can actually turn the shelving upside down, so that the lip faces up… not down. As stated above, you can easily make a system to hold the cans in place. For simplicity sake, I’d probably just use assorted stretch cords to cover the required distance.
Like I stated above, you can simply turn the shelving over to have a front lip on your shelving. Since I’m not storing breakable items on these shelves, I didn’t need a lip.
pnwkraken - December 23, 2021
This is why I love these forums. So many great ideas that just hadn’t occurred to me, like using stretch cords or turning the shelving. Thanks Redneck
RedneckContributor - December 24, 2021
You are welcome. I, like you, don’t have the skillset to build my own shelving. Well I technically could but it would be rather crude looking. On the other hand, give me a tape measure and a pencil, and I can install wire shelving by myself… and everything will be straight & clean looking.
Peter 44 - December 24, 2021
I would go with some adjustable shelves like this
Make the bottom level tall so you can fit some 5 gallon buckets underneath and then the upper shelves can be adjusted to fit one or two high #10 cans. Then use the bungee cords to secure them from rolling around
Barb LeeContributor - December 24, 2021
With this type of shelving you have the critical option of bolting the unit to the wall. You might see if there’s a liquidation company around that may have industrial shelving for sale, we got a good buy that way.
pnwsarahContributor - December 24, 2021
Turning the shelves upside down = genius. Going to ask husb. to help me with that project and hope the landlords don’t get pissed (or that it’s easy to reverse). I’ve often thought about just stringing a bungee cord across the shelf about 3-4″ up, but felt like I needed a shelf lip below that since the cords have give. Upside down shelves + cord = an excellent plan!
ETA: We have the exact same shelving in our pantry as the shelving in Redneck’s photos, and I absolutely hate it because the lip tends to catch my hair when I go under the bottom shelf to grab the stuff stored back there. This would also fix that issue.
M. E.Contributor - December 27, 2021
I was very excited to see this thread as I, too, am looking for a great #10 can storage setup. I’ve seen some pretty awesome setups for restaurants but they are very expensive and I have not yet invested in any of them. If I were every to build a new home I would love to build a “hidden wall” where I could put a huge store of #10 cans behind it and then seal it up, to be opened only in an emergency. (Of course I would be the only one who would know where the secret door was so I could check on the cans occasionally and make sure they hadn’t rusted through).
Since I’m not that cool, what I’ve done in the meantime is “divide and conquer.” I basically bought cases of everything sold by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (I am not a member but you do not have to be to purchase their foods) – apples, carrots, onions, potatoes, oats, sugar, beans, rice – plus cans of Mountain House meats and then I mixed up all the cases. A case (box) holds six cans, so I’d have say chicken + rice + beans + oats + apples + carrots in one case, and I put that under one bed, a different mix in another case under the guest bed, another in the entertainment center, another in a closet, another in the basement, etc. I live in a climate that makes the garage unsuitable for long-term food storage (which generally should be below 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so and dry).
The reason I did this is that if there is some kind of a disaster that damages SOME of my stores, or if I am robbed, it is likely that something will survive. A #10 can of apples is a LOT of apples. The only problem I’ve had is sometimes I forget the stuff is there and I’ll be vacuuming and wonder “What the heck is that under the bed?” and oh yeah – it’s a big ol’ case of rice and beans and ground beef. If you live in earthquake country, definitely consider breaking up your stores a bit and having some of them under furniture or stairwells or something so if your main supply gets hit, you’ll still have something. This is particularly true for water. You don’t want to have all your emergency water in a room that might become inaccessible if a ceiling caves in. Particularly after the recent tornadoes I’ve made a conscious effort to break up my supplies into different areas of the house to increase the likelihood that the most critical things could still be located and used if things got REALLY bad. And remember to store a can opener with every case! (Those little military ones take up no space at all and are super inexpensive).
pnwkraken - December 27, 2021
I’ve daydreamed about a hidden wall to hide my preps a few times myself. I was actually just looking at multi-million $ Los Angeles compounds online with underground bunkers bigger than my house & there was a little jealousy happening lol. I’m curious, have you tried any of the LDS foods that you’ve purchased? I’ve tried to find some online reviews but only found one. They have amazing prices for how much you get. Also I hadn’t thought of separating my food storage (other than storing some at my parents house) but since I’m in earthquake country too that’s a really good idea.
M. E.Contributor - December 28, 2021
I have not tried them but kind of figured I can trust LDS. With any luck I will never, ever need them – I truly hate eating beans – but it does make me feel better to have the stores around, and they were very cost effective for the peace of mind. I actually live close enough to one of their warehouses that I could go stock up there if I wanted, and my understanding is that you can maybe try samples there?
I’ve always thought a supply of LDS foods would make a great wedding, graduation, or housewarming gift. It’s the kind of thing many people never think to buy but boy you’ll be grateful if the time comes and you need it.
How cool would it be if building codes required that all homes have a place for suitable storage of long-term preps? It would change people’s mindsets. Little things could make such a difference. Like, what if it were required that every home have suitable holders for fire extinguishers in logical locations? Having a place to put the darned things is half the battle.
Robert LarsonContributor - December 28, 2021
I highly recommend the #10 canned food from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I lived off that food for many years as it was the staple of our family’s food storage as I was growing up. I ate them months and months after they expired and they were all still good. Especially the dehydrated apples, like M.E. says, it is a lot of apples.
Alisa Felix - December 28, 2021
The area underneath your bed is about the height of a #10 can. I used to store my cans under my bed.
ALS - December 30, 2021
I like to keep the stuff in my garage in totes, keeps them clean and I can put desiccant bags in each tub to prevent rust.
I use these 10 gallon rubbermaid roughneck totes, the lids fit well and they stack really nicely/securely.
There’s VERY little wasted space with 6 cans per tote. I got them at Target, I think they were less than $10 each.
Alisa Felix - December 30, 2021
Those look perfect! Do you think you can fit a smaller soup or green bean can in between the spaces in the middle to maximize storage even more?
ALS - January 3, 2022
Sorry for the slow reply. A soup can won’t fit — it’s quite snug in there. (The photo makes it look like there’s more empty space than there actually is.) I just checked my local target and the tubs currently are $9.99. I forgot to mention that I keep some of my #10 cans in a high cupboard — and I too am in in earthquake country, so I use little ball bungees to fasten pairs of cupboard door knobs together in an effort to reduce the possibility of stuff shaking out. I find those little ball bungees are very quick and easy to take on and off.
Alisa Felix - January 4, 2022
Thank you for the response. I’ll have to check my Target for those tubs too.
I have some old ball bungees that I didn’t know what to do with, I’ll have to try and see if they fit the cupboards in the garage.
M. E.Contributor - December 30, 2021
Can you provide any recommendations on desiccant packs? Can they be “recharged”?
I am fortunate enough to already have quite a few of those totes but I never even thought to use them for my #10 cans. The price has definitely gone up – they are about $20 each now, but in a way that is good because it will motivate me to clean out junk from the totes I have so that I can use them for the cans! Thank you so much for this.
Gideon ParkerStaff - December 31, 2021
I wrote a forum post about the silica gel packets I’ve used in the past. The company I got these from have updated and improved their technology since I bought mine and the newer stuff works better.
XKPin - January 2, 2022
I have several hundred #10 cans of Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials and Mountain House products plus. Great foods to have around the house for camping and the SHTF scenarios! There are many places to store these cans.
I have raised our bed and made storage by replacing the mattress frame. The wife loves the higher bed!
I set aside a closet and made shelves specifically for these #10 cans.
They also fit well under one of my sofas and under a bunk bed mattress.
NOTE: Notice that I do not store any of these in my attic or garage. To achieve the best benefit and longevity from the freeze dried (or any other storage produce) it needs to be keep between 50 and 70-degrees. The more constant the temperature the better for the product.
Just my opinion, but since you asked, unless your garage can maintain a temperature less than 70-degrees, I would seek out other solutions. My kid’s room (they are grown and gone) is a perfect place to establish a controlled temperature and storage location. No pests in our house either – LOL!
Pics: The bunk bed holds 72 #10 cans. The closet 65 #10 cans. The bed (my wife would have a FIT if I unmade the bed and pulled off the mattress!!! More than 150!
Alisa Felix - January 2, 2022
Now that is awesome!
Josh CentersContributor - January 5, 2022
I keep mine on a bookshelf. About a foot high should give you plenty of room.
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