Wire shelving and S-hooks

Someone pointed out the shelving in a previous post.

For storage of food and household goods, I use the wire shelving units found at CostCo. They’re about $90 and you get four uprights, six shelves, and four wheels. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can buy a cheap little force multiplier that really opens up a world for your shelving plans. These little jewels are called “S-hooks”.

Imagine that you buy a shelving unit and set it up. You have one rack of six shelves, yes? Now, lets say you bought a second unit. You set that one up. You now have two columns of shelves next to each other. Ah, but if you had the s-hooks you could have three clumns of shelves, using those same two units. The s-hooks allow you to hang a shelf off the edge of another shelf. And since you can put the s-hook anywhere along the edge of the shelf, you can make L-shaped shelving arrangements to co around corners, or even T-shaped arrangements.

Here’s an example:

thumbnailNotice that the run of shelving on the right butts up against the row running along the back wall. Where they meet, thats where the s-hooks are…thats why theres no upright at that inside corner.

958e05b7b00fc0c6e6f8fdbf6cacc9da-mediumI get my s-hooks from these guys.

Also, note that when you buy wire shelving make sure the shelving has a reinforcing rib running down the middle of each shelf. In the first image you can see a rib that is just like the one running around the edges of he shelf. You don’t want just a piece of wire running the length of the shelf, you want an actual rib. Anything else and the thing will sag and not hold weight well. I’ve been using the wire shelving I got at Costco for over fifteen years and never had a problem with it. Yeah, it’s made in China but there’s not a lot out there in American-made wire shelving that meets my needs.

Anyway, I highly recommend the wire shelving for your food/gear storage and if you do decide to go that way, definitely get the s-hooks.…they will make the shelving so much more versatile.

15 thoughts on “Wire shelving and S-hooks

  1. I will use this idea with the s-hooks. my only concern would be weight if you are stacking heavy items like full mason jars. Also, be very concerned about the wheels. they are attached by a very weak grade of bolt. I have had three bolts snap; i have removed all the wheels on my wire shelves. my advice: the 3 pack of Costco clear plastic totes ( https://www.costcobusinessdelivery.com/Iris-11-Gallon-Storage-Container-with-Lid%2C-3-ct.product.11943392.html ) 2 totes fit perfectly on the 36 inch wide wire shelves. I like having my goodies inside totes. in addition, 3 of the the Ball quart size mason jars boxes fit very snugly on the 36 inch wide 14 inch depth black shelve from home depot.

  2. I have been using similar shelving units from Home Depot. I like the S-hooks, but would like to know where you got the extra shelves.


    Doc Raydio

  3. Might not be a bad idea to think about adding cheap 12v (aka low-voltage) lighting to the under lip of each shelf as you go. Yeah, you need to run a wire pair to a switch and have a battery and so on but I kid you not – when everything goes black and all you have is your EDC flashlight and you can just turn around and flick a switch FOR WHAT YOU NEED in a unfamiliar space it makes a huge difference. Saves the battery, controls light and makes it much easier to send a kid into the stock room for a can of corn if he is only looking at “Canned Goods”.

    • As kitschy as it may look, there is a lot to be said for using strings of LED Christmas lights for that type of lighting.

      January of 2017 my local Lowes was clearing out hollow decorations and I was buying boxes of 100′ strings of LED lights for $1 each.

      There’s a reason that you see these types of lights being used in places that are running solar panels or generators; its the most efficient form of commonly available illumination.

  4. It’ll cost more than Costco (or Home Depot, which sells similar (18D X 48W X 72H with 6 shelves for $99, on sale occasionally for $79), but restaurant supply houses have the heavy duty (center rib) epoxy-coated shelving in depths of 14, 18, 24 (I’ve seen 12 inch depth online, but 12 in is spendy for some reason) lengths of 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, 72. Corner posts are in boxes of 4, in 63, 72 and 86 length. Posts and shelves are separate, buy however many you need, to fit the space you have, spacing shelves however you need, assemble. Plastic shelf liners are available in different sizes to fit the different size shelves to keep small stuff from falling through, or you can cut them from 1/4″ (or 3/16″ if you can find it) plywood or flooring underlayment. You can build an 86″ tall unit in a room with 96″ ceilings, but it requires planning ahead, and will probably have to be disassembled to get it out if you move. Gentle use of a dead blow hammer is your best friend for assembly/disassembly.

    If assembling a “linear run” vertical posts can be shared between shelf units by staggering shelf heights, but that precludes being able to move individual shelf units (and requires planning to assemble the entire run at once). Zero’s tip of S-hooks for corners is golden, and it’ll also work on holding shelves in a linear run between 4-post units. Wheels are available, but use more expensive corner posts, and become pretty useless with several hundred pounds on a shelvng unit.

    Pro Tip: each shelf will come with (or should) qty 8 half-round plastic tapered shelf keepers; buy several extra sets of the plastic shelf keepers (they’ll come qty eight 1/2 rounds to a package) – you may find a couple broken ones with the shelves, you make break a couple, you may lose a couple. Damn frustrating to assemble a shelving unit and discover you need 1 half-round keeper to finish it.

    2nd Pro tip: the posts are 1″ in diameter (actually, 25MM because all this stuff ia made in China), and they’ll put a lot of pressure on flooring when the shelves are loaded. Depending on floor surface, it’s useful to put lengths of 2X6 under the shelf posts, put a 1 1/4″-1 3/8″ diameter inset in the 2X6 about 1/4″ – 3/8″ deep with a spade or Forstener bit to keep the post bottoms from sliding around on the 2X6.

    3rd Pro tip: Don’t skip the bottom shelf. It’s tempting to save a few bucks by using the floor for a bottom shelf, but that shelf adds rigidity to the unit and keeps your stuff off the floor and out of water, etc.

  5. Thanks for the good ideas!

    Any chance you could do a write-up on the can storage unit, on the right shelving unit? Brand, your experience, pro’s & con’s, etc?

    Again, Thanks!

    John in Alaska

      • Apologies to the Commander for butting in; http://www.thrivelife.com has the FIFO can kits he linked to earlier, assuming Amazon still doesn’t have them. My experience (YMMV) is that while a bit pricey, the Thrivelife stuff is the most convenient and most flexible (it’d also available in different size units). It’s been a while since I put it together, but their “standard size” Pantry unit is about $23+shipping for 5 dividers (which provides 4 “slots” for cans), 8 L-shaped snap-together brackets to hold the dividers, and it’s completely adjustable for can length. It holds ten standard (15.5 ounce) cans in each “slot”, can be stacked up to 4 horizontal sections high, can be assembled in whatever length you want, extra L-shaped brackets can be had in bunches for a few bucks, same for extra dividers (it’s cheaper in the long run to just buy another 5-divider kit), it’s all plastic so the snap-together brackets are easily cut with a hacksaw to make it fit whatever shelf length you have. If you have larger cans (Dinty Moore beef stew, Dole Pineapple, etc) reverse the top snap-together brackets to have the open side of the L face upward (which works best if that horizontal section(s) is/are the top sections). It can be assembled with dividers close enough together to handle the thin tuna cans, so it’s quite flexible.

        AFAIK the only FIFO system Thrivelife has for #10 cans is their metal racks (they have a couple sizes) which are steel you-assemble standalone rack systems. I have no experience with those, but the pictures on their web site look impressive.

        RE: #10 cans – if youre looking for 6-can boxes for them, the cheapest reliable source is your nearest LDS Home Storage Center – 95 cents/box. A wire rack shelving unit (from the restaurant supply place) that’s 48″ W X 18″ D will hold 6 boxes on their sides per shelf, so a unit with 86″ posts and 6 shelves will hold 36 boxes on their sides which is 216 cans (and, actually, you can use the 14″ D shelves). It’s not FIFO, but i does allow direct access to each case, as opposed to the one case you want being on the bottom of a stack of 12.

  6. Thanks for the S hook linkage! About to update my less than useful storage shelves to all metal and those hooks will make my life a lot easier. Happy birthday to me, dang it. Semi-relatedly, in re: storage of bunches of TP and paper towels – I have started using this method which works pretty well. The Mega rolls are a tight fit but you can get two TP rolls per space…off the floor, off the shelf, neat and tidy.

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