Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Who is “they” and what is it I’m thinking? I’m wondering how someone could take such a really great idea and screw it up so badly? Let me explain. I had a gift card from Lowe’s that I got for Christmas. I’ve held onto it while looking for just the right item to purchase. I really love hardware gift cards as presents. It’s the next best thing to getting money.
Anyway, I saw the perfect item online and thought this is great! It’s just what I need for all the canning I’ve been doing lately. It’s shelving specifically made to hold canned foods. Isn’t that a great idea? Well, I think it is.
The shelves are spaced just right for holding canning jars. You can adjust the shelves in 1 1/2″ increments. It’s made in the USA. It’s strong enough to hold them too. It holds a total of 750 pounds of food. You see? That’s the information from the box.
I think to myself, now why hasn’t someone come up with this one before? I believe lots of canning people and prepping people will like this shelf idea. Before ordering I read the customer reviews. Many people are saying the shelves are a bunch of crap. Mostly the customer reviews say the shelves simply won’t fit together. Some are drilling new holes for the bolts or simply giving up and tossing the metal into a recycling bin or returning them for refunds. A few reviews were on the positive side and said their shelves fit together perfectly.
I thought maybe I’d go to the store to see one for myself to judge how the shelves are. I could see how sturdy and maybe figure out why so many complaints about how to put them together. If I liked the shelves I could order while there. Nope, can’t see the shelves in the store. These are special order by internet only. None are kept in the stores.
I was hesitant about buying the shelves after reading the reviews. I didn’t want to buy a bad product but the idea is such a good fit for a canner like me. After a couple of weeks of thinking about the purchase I decided to go for it. The online site was offering free delivery to my door instead of to the store. Great, I wouldn’t have to make arrangements to pick the packages up. Besides, maybe I could be a lucky recipient and mine would fit together. If I couldn’t put them together then I could send them back. I ordered two because that’s what I could get with my gift card. These were $38 each at Lowes. I had $80 on the card.
Yup, putting these things together really is a nightmare! The instruction sheet had very little information on it and the words were written in tiny fonts. I had to use a magnifying glass to read it. Huh? What were they saying? I still don’t know. The instructions were no help at all. It would be greatly improved if they simply had drawings instead. Most people can look at a drawing and figure it out.
I had only a screw driver and my fingers to work with for putting all those tiny 1/2 inch bolts into it. I tried using a pair of pliers. Pliers wouldn’t fit into the hole where the nut goes. Only my finger tip fit so that’s what I had to use. It would have been much better if the hole had been centered in the opening. At least then I could use pliers or something besides my fingertip. Better than that; there should be a special tool included that would help apply the nut. This is the area where some had said they drilled new holes. See how the bolt and nut are off center from the opening and almost hidden in a corner?
See how far apart these holes are? (center of the photo below) This is the other side of the photo from the photo above. At least 1/2 inch off. The small hole should line up over the larger one before the screw goes in but it doesn’t. This is the place where the rails hold the shelves. I’ve got small fingers. I’m not sure someone with larger hands could put this together. I believe the bolt count is 147 to put the shelves completely together? That’s a lot of 1/2 inch bolts.
I worked for 13 hours one day and another 7 hours the next day for putting this one unit together. That was a lot of screws. My fingertip was really sore at the end. I had stabbed myself with a screwdriver more than once so I kept band-aids handy. Once I had started, I was not about to take out all those bolts in order to return it. I would not have it on my conscience that I sent back a product that would be sold to another person either. I would either get this darned thing together or I would take it to a metal recycling center! I finally took a hammer to it. I pounded it down until the holes lined up. It supposed to be heavy duty steel metal but it bent easily. After I got it all together, it doesn’t stand straight and level. DUH, that’s what happens when a hammer is used to help it fit.
I’ll still use the shelves. I’m sure I can find a way of making it level. Hammer will help. I really need these shelves. I will probably order a couple more; even if they are crappy. These are the only shelves I’ve found in just the right heights that will help store all of these.
Even crappy shelves will help sort and store all of these,
and all of these.
I waited a few days before putting the second shelf unit together. The second time was a little easier because I knew what to expect. NONE of the bolts were tightened until every one was put in. I put the unit together in two halves, tightened all the bolts, then put the two halves together.
The units are NOT strong enough to hold lots of home canned foods. Here is the weak spot. The place where the top part and the bottom part go together. It’s bending from all the weight. I plan to take the two halves apart and move them down so that two bolts can be used on each leg. That should give it more stability.
This is a very tiny room. 7 x 9 I think. It’s were I store all the extra food for when someone has a need. I had everything stacked because there wasn’t a single shelf in this room. I had most of the food in the closet until I had to empty the closet for the termite treatments a few weeks ago. The guys had to go through the floor opening to treat under the house. Anyway, the stuff has gotten so jumbled up because when I needed something, it’s almost always was at the bottom of the stack. Getting it all put onto shelves will help because I can find stuff quickly and put stuff away quickly. Better organized for better use. Even if it’s done with crappy shelves.
I do plan to buy more of these shelves, even if I hate putting them together AND they are not as sturdy as claimed. I still like how everything fits on them. I will make them work for my purposes. It will be so much easier to put together food packages when the food is clearly seen. Yeah, even crappy shelves help keep stuff organized.