When my wife and I moved into our new home last year, we quickly filled the basement kitchen cabinets with our canned food. At the same time, we had an unfinished, stud-exposed wall in the underneath-the-stairs storage room. We decided we could better utilize this space by building a vertical canned food rotation system.
Our solution allowed for 17 columns of standard sized cans at 16 cans per column for a total storage space of 272 cans.
Since I’m describing this after the fact, it was difficult to get pictures, and unfortunately, I have no pictures of the process, so I’ll do my best to be as detailed as possible.
You may need to modify the plans as necessary to fit your mounting location as well as the material counts and sizes below to fit your designated space.
- 1 Box of 1 1/2″ wood screws
- 1 4’x8′ sheet of 1/2″ plywood
- 1 2″x4″x”36″
- 1 5.5″ piece of scrap
- 1 4.75″ piece of scrap
- 1 1″x8″x96″
- 1 1″x2″x96″
- 18 1″x4″x48″
- 18 1″x3″x48″
- Drill driver, with assorted drill bits
- Table saw, or circular saw and a steady hand
- Tape measure
Cutting and build preparation:
- Cut each 1″x4″ piece to 42″. Yours could be taller. We went shorter to allow room for the 1″x8″ that will sit along the bottom to catch the cans, and a 5.25″ gap at the top to load the cans in, since ours butts up against the ceiling.
- We cut the 1″x3″ pieces to 38.5″ to leave a 3.5″ gap at the bottom for removing the cans.
- We cut 13 small angled pieces off of the 2″x4″ to sit in the bottom of each column and push the cans out as gravity brings them down.
- I used some scrap lumber to cut a 5.5″ and 4.75″ piece of 1″x4″ to use as quick measurement guides. Pic:
- I started by holding a 1″x4″ piece (red) against the right edge (short side) of the plywood (blue) and drawing a line.
- I then drew a line 5.25″ down from the top of the plywood (blue) (long side.)
- Use a small drill bit to drill pilot holes in the middle of the .75″ area between the right edge of the plywood (blue) and the line you drew. This makes it easy to hold the 1″x4″ (red) against the top line and left line, and complete the next step.
- Using the pilot holes you just drilled screw the 1″x4″ (red) along the right edge and the line, making sure to align the top with the line 5.25″ down from the top.
- Take the 4.75″ spacer and butt it up against the vertical 1″x4″ (red) that you just screwed into place. Now take your pencil along the opposite edge, and slowly pull the spacer down along the vertical 1″x4″ (red). You will now have a parallel line 4.75″ away from the vertical 1″x4″ (red).
- Repeat the previous step with the 5.5″ spacer. You should now have two parallel lines, .75″ apart designating where your next vertical 1″x4″ (red) will go.
- Drill Pilot holes in between the two lines you just drew.
- Repeat steps 5-7 until you have all your vertical sections (red) in place.
- Butt the 1″x8″ (green) horizontally against the bottom of the vertical 1″x4″s (red), and screw it in to each 1″x4″ (red) bottom.
- Place the 1″x2″ (not shown in diagram above) at the end of the 1″x8″ (green) and screw it down to serve as a lip to keep the cans from rolling off.
- Now take your 1″x3″ (not shown in diagram above) pieces and skipping the farthest left and farthest right, center them on the 1″x4″ (red) vertical pieces, while aligned with the top of the vertical pieces and screw them in. These will serve as a lip to keep the cans stacked.
- For the end pieces, you can center them, screw them in, then mark a line along the outer edge to cut off the excess width.
- Taking your small angled pieces of 2″x4″, screw them on top of the 1″x8″ (green) centered in each column. This will serve to push the cans out toward the 1″x2″ lip.
- You’re finished with the building! Now it’s up to you to determine the best and safest method to hanging the entire thing on a wall. DISCLAIMER: This thing will be heavy when loaded. Make ABSOLUTELY sure you’re tied in to enough studs to support the weight.
Sit back, and enjoy your hard work. Below is a picture of our end-result.
Good luck, and feel free to comment with any questions! I hope this helps!