Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Propose a New Law

I'm doing my spring cleaning, and have just about had it with my pantry.

I definitely think it should be illegal to sell a product in a can that will not stack on itself!

Really, some of these manufacturers must think we have all the cabinet and shelf space in the world, and we can afford to line up their product in single-tier rows simply because they want to save a few cents not purchasing nesting cans. And the horrible thing about it is that the worst offenders seem to be folks whole sell cases/packs at the warehouse stores. They sell the exact same product in nesting cans individually at the supermarket; but somehow when they sell 8 or 12 or 24 of them at once, they can't be bothered?!?!

Oh sure, you could just leave them in the box/case/flat... but how not useful is that unless they're full? Once you open the case, you just start losing space again. Assuming, of course, that the dimensions of their case actually fit in your space, or that their packaging is even vaguely easy to get into. Totally sucks if the only way to make it fit is to put it in so their "convenient" roll-out tabby thingy is either completely useless or spews cans all over the place the minute a mouse so much as farts in its general location. Of course, most of them don't even come with the semi-useful tabby feeder slots... you have to yank the whole box out and open it... and usually after sledgehammering the glue off the "lid", all the other joints to spontaneously erupt. And those shallow cardboard flats simply fold up and fall apart the minute you take the annoying plastic shrink-wrap off them.  GRRRRRRRR

Yes, you can cut up cardboard to make little support trays between the tiers. Yes, you can get fancier and make/buy extra shelve. Or purchase one of those nifty wire/plastic "organizers" that never seem to fit the space either, don't seem to fit the products either, and experience an abnormally high failure rate. You could go ultra and buy/build self-feeding, top-loading, "professional" food storage and rotation systems... because, hey, we have all the money in the world, right?!

Why?!? Why should we even have to go through any of that at all? Can't these bastards have a little bit of compassion and just package in nesting cans in the first place?!? Then I'd only have to worry about making the funky shaped/sized cans fit. (Hello, Hormel, are you listening?? Your Spam and Corned Beef cans may be cute and all that, but they do NOT play well in the cupboard!)

Ban the Funky Can, Man!!

[/end rant]


Bob from Athens said...

I totally agree with you. I built a set of floor to ceiling shelves for my pantry and used two nesting cans of soup for my height betweem shelves, they fit just right with a little bit of spare height, but them dang non nesting ones are just a little to tall so I have to waste half of my space. I get even though, I just don't buy the ones that don't fit.

Jerseykat said...

For some odd reason I feel the need to fist pump, yell "yeah!" and hold up a lighter.
Great rant and you are absolutely spot on. It's a conspiracy by the can creators (or would that be a canspiracy?)

HermitJim said...

I totally agree with everything you say! I guess that the people designing the cans never have to stock them in their own pantry!

Sure seems like someone could come up with an affordable way to maximize the storage, while using minimum space to do it!

Unknown said...


Plickety Cat said...

The most disheartening thing for me is that two of the products that don't come in nesting cans are ones that aren't manufactured in the US... my tinned butter and cheese.

I have to source those from our Aussie and Kiwi brethren, because they seem to be the only countries that enjoy their dairy products without expecting to be able to refrigerate them. Not being US, their cans not only don't stack, they're not standard size either. I can't complain too much, even though I have cases that don't play well in the pantry.

But I can complain about Progresso. There are 2-3 flavors of their soup that I either prefer to Campbell's or that Campbell's doesn't make. I only buy maybe a half-dozen of those a year... but they don't stack AND they are a funky wide-squatty can unlike almost 90% of the other soup and veg cans. WTH!! There may be small differences between the diameter and height of the other cans, but I can at least design shelving that fits the maximum and they'll fit without wasting space (the variance is usually only about a 1/2-inch)... but those Progresso can completely blow the system!

Novel concept... instead of worrying about how your can will stand out on the grocery shelf, worry a little more about how it will fit on ours!!!

Plickety Cat said...

... AND (just can't stop the rant)

A lot of the long-term storage foods come in cans that don't stack either. I have 6 cases (one for each flavor) of 20oz canned meats from Yoders. These are wonderful products, it's just a shame that they come in funky cans :(

But I do buy enough of those to feel justified in designing a shelf or two specifically to hold the cases in a single tier -- they are heavy after all. But then they went and made their bacon a different size... frustrating!

Marybeth said...

One good thing at least you'll get to design your new pantry to meet your needs. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

BTW I don't even have a pantry!!! We
re-doing our kitchen to add one. I mean really there is space for one. I think at one point in time is was removed, but I have no idea why ugh!!!

Plickety Cat said...

It's kind of nice being able to design your pantry from scratch though. Sometimes I think it's better to have no pantry than to have one that's laid out all wonky.

The "pantry" in our last house was one of those big utility cabinets 24x24" -- things were forever getting lost in the back of that thing or flying off the lazy-susans we installed to try to use the back better. We even tried installing a pull-out, but 2' of cans is just a wee too heavy for most of those and heavy-duty slide brackets are over $50 a pair!

I'm just really looking forward to seeing how much I can actually get stored in the pantry, since it's only about 7x7 finished, and we still need walk-ways between the shelves. I'm totally OCD about it. I've been using SketchUp to make 3d models of the space, including placeholders for cases, common items and some of my larger storage containers... trying to make everything on my inventory fit, as well as setting the shelf dimensions correctly for when I switch from commercial cans to my own canning jars. With the models I can tweak a self depth or height, rotate a case, stack two cases of something small to see if it will fit the same height as #10 cans. LOL obsessive!

Plickety Cat said...

Just stumbled across a nifty little organizer that could come in handy for those of us who store commercial cans that don't nest...

These are heavy-duty cardboard FIFO style can feeders that come flat, and you just pop them out and fold them up together like pizza boxes.

Now, I'm not a fan of FIFO can feeders in general because I'm not planning on using commercial cans forever (esp. not the $$$ metal ones). Eventually I want the majority of my food to be home-canned in jars which do NOT store well on their sides, do NOT roll easily, and do NOT appreciate dropping down to the bottom row.

However, since these are affordable and recycle-burn-compost-able, I wouldn't feel so bad if one failed, or if I didn't need it anymore down the road.

They currently come in 3 sizes, all of them are 5" wide (the height of most common cans), are 10 3/8" tall (accommodates double diameter of most common cans), and are either 11" 16" or 22.5" deep to fit your depth of cupboard or shelf.

You won't be able to fit a #10 in here, but a #2.5 might squeeze in; and the bigger pineapple and Progresso soup cans should fit, too. I could probably get 2 Bega cheeses per slot (wasting height though), and 2 Red Feather butters (might be a bit tight in height).

Anonymous said...

OMG I can't believe someone else is going nuts about this too. I end up with a disjointed pantry trying to stack those damn things. The biggest problem is "losing" cans in the back of the pantry. I finally tacked on thick strips of cork the length and width of the shelf front to which I affix little notes telling me what's in the back. It's classic Rube Goldberg, but it works for me.

Plickety Cat said...

Oh goody, another compulsive shelf labeler... good to see I'm not alone :D

I like the cork strip idea, I was using sticky notes but they kept falling off. I tried using a label maker to make labels for the shelf edge; but when the contents keep changing that's a pain, plus if there's a lot of different things in a column/area you end up with a foot-long label or microscopic print. Tried the same with handwriting shelf edge labels with a sharpie and masking tape, but it has the same problems (and can be illegible!). But the cork strip idea lets you have a larger label and it's easy to swap out stuff as the content change. Excellent! I kinda like modern sculpture and crafty gadgets :)

Anonymous said...

And I was under the impression you guys moved out in the hinterlands to get away from it all. Now more laws are suggested? Kidding, but realize you need to keep the mind occupied too. Cheers!

Plickety Cat said...

LOL -- well, I figure if they can legislate everything else in our lives to the point of near-paralysis, they might as well tack on a bit of standardization regulation that's actually useful :)

Quinton said...

I see that temps in the mid 40s are forecast for your area. Will this allow you to get the roof done? I'll bet that you are chomping at the bit to get into the cabin.

Plickety Cat said...

Hey Quinton, we're trying to get the interior squared away so we can move in... then we have to get the porches on (at least the roof part) because the roofs tie in at the pitch break, then we can *finally* remove the tarp and get her top hat on properly :) But at least with the milder temps it's almost warm enough to get the window and door membranes to stick, so we can install those properly so the extended jambs, drywall returns and sills can all go in at the same time (hopefully properly!)

Anonymous said...

I have kind of a large pantry, and I have lined all four walls with some kind of storage The jars rest on shelves, and the shelves are labeled using a 3x5 car stapled to the wood at the leading edge. It's like a word diagram of the entire shelf. I like it for all the reasons you mentioned, most specifically the fluidity of the inventory!

Plickety Cat said...

I've noticed that most folks who are seriously into home canning and stocking their pantry to the gills tend to have more shelves rather of stacking jars and cans on top of each other. Not only does this eliminate the non-nesting issues, but it also keeps things from slipping off or falling over. And, for all us compulsive labelers, makes it much easier to label the shelf contents ;)