Fido? FICO? Five-0?

D): None of the above

A new problem this week: storage rotation.  This is a common problem, faced by everyone from Walmart to the various branches of government to the menacingly reticent apocalypse survival folks.  Basically it boils down to this: if you are storing anything perishable from food to gasoline to ammunition, you want to use the oldest stuff first, while constantly replenishing the back of the stack with new stock.  The acronym that gets tossed around is FIFO: First In, First Out.

Where this came across my bench was the need for rotating canned goods easily.  If you have a shelf that is accessible from both sides, you could in theory take from one side and replenish from the other.  But if your shelves are backed up against the wall, you have to pull the stacks all the way out in order to put new stock in the back.  It’s time-consuming and irritating and tends to be ignored, which is how you get spherical cans of beef stew on the back of the shelf that expired in the Bush administration…the first one.  Ewww.

So in the interest of science, I did some research and built a prototype dispenser for a “normal” can.  This consisted of buying a bunch of cans of beans (took me forever to get through all of them!), and playing around with angles and whatnot.


As it turns out, while I finally made it work, it was cheaper and more efficient to use the powers of injection moulding and mass production.  If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that will fit on a regular shelf and is adjustable for can size, the Cansolidator is probably your best bet.

But there was a hitch.  Some cans are very small.  Mushrooms, tomato paste, and so on are packaged in tiny little cans that, while you can get them to fit into the carousel, waste a lot of space, since the bays are sized to accommodate much larger diameter cans.  In addition, while you could just make big stacks of these little cans and bull your way through, they also don’t stack: the top is the same diameter as the bottom, making it precarious at best.

So I came up with a different solution: a vertical FIFO rack that will hold a goodly amount of cans, able to be constructed economically, and fit in little awkward spots (like behind a door).  That’s what we’ll be building this week, and hopefully you will find this an interesting solution to your fungus problems…