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How to Organize a Fridge with Roommates and Survive

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Trying to organize a house to accommodate roommates and live in harmony can be difficult, but one of the worst areas that can also cause the most arguments is the refrigerator.

If you all have to share the kitchen, then chances are you are sharing the fridge too.  You need to get some ground rules set up before they move in, and although you may have to tweak it a bit as you get on with living, these ground rules can make the difference to a good experience and a bad one.

Unless you are all literally cooking together and eating the same foods, there will be a need for “separation” of goods and supplies.  If your roommate will cook his or her own meals then you will need to come up with a checklist for who will do dishes and when and cooking times.  But you don’t want an overloaded fridge either. 

From experience, sharing a fridge didn’t sound like a big deal at first, but if your roommate eats differently than you or starts using your foods as they quickly get mixed up, then resentment will set in.  So the best thing to do is assign a shelf or two to your roomy and invest in a few containers that are designed to utilize as much space as possible in an organized fashion.  There is nothing worse than rotting food migrating to the back never to be seen again but makes itself known in the form of “odours” when you open the door. 

how to organize a fridge with roommates

If you have more than one roommate you may need to assign only one shelf, so organization is the key to proper food storage for health and sanity.

You also need to setup some rules on “condiments” Will you share the ketchup and mustard and mayo or will each person get their own and stick to their own shelves.  When you have a refrigerator to yourself, you can spread your supplies out and use the crisper drawers, but when you share the fridge, you may want to assign one crisper drawer each, and now you only have half the space to store your food supplies or even less if more roommates are involved.

Finding good storage containers is key to a calm refrigerator environment.

Below are a few container ideas that can work well in a shared fridge environment and you will be amazed at just how much you can store on one shelf of a fridge.  You will wonder why you never did this before.  

organize a fridge
Interdesign 4-Piece Fridge and Freezer Storage Bins
Amazon Price: $39.99 $29.00 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 21, 2015)

Stackable Fridge Storage Bins

These can sit on one shelf and house a lot of food supplies.  You can see what you have without having to empty the shelf.  Using some of the vertical height helps you to have more supplies on that shelf compared to sitting the things one by one and side by side on the shelves.  It stops things from rolling around, and you don’t have to worry about things migrating to the back.

how to organize a fridge with roommates

Divider Containers

These are a really cool option especially if you have a deeper space.  They sit side by side or can be stacked and can keep all your supplies in order so that you can simply take out one container and then put it back.  You can get these online but also check the dollar store for office supplies that might work as well.

how to organize a fridge with roommates

Stackable Deep Organizers

This set works well if you have the space between shelves as this sits a little higher, but this system can house a lot of food goods, literally a double layer.  You can keep track of what you own, and can label the containers if you need to as your own food supplies.  It is a great way to keep track of older food goods, and keep the area clean.  These can be used in freezers as well.  There is a lot of vertical wasted space that can now be utilized.  Imagine just how much food can fit in there with two layers.  It is like creating your own shelf within a shelf.

sharing a fridge at uni

Variety Bins

As you can see in the picture, you can quickly and easily organize all your food supplies into containers that can now fit well on your shelf in the refrigerator.  This is the perfect way to keep your area clean too, as you can easily rinse and dry the containers before refilling.  No more migrating containers to the back of the fridge.  

how to organize a fridge with roommates
InterDesign Refrigerator Bin Water Bottle Holder, Clear
Amazon Price: $12.73 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 21, 2015)

Drink Holders

If your biggest issue is drinks, they can easily take up a lot of room.  You can get holders for bottles of water or cans of pop and you can stack then as well to take advantage of the height.  If you have just been shoving a flat of drinks into your refrigerator, you can see just how much room they can take up.  Take the time and place them into one of these drinks organizers and you will now have room for other supplies.

Dollar Store

Don’t forget to check out the dollar store as they sell many different containers for a buck.  Think of the types of foods you will store and then find containers that will fit your needs.  If you like to buy lots of single yogurt containers then get a container that is wide enough to hold them and a double layer. 

You can get creative in the dollar store if you are on a tight budget, but this can quickly become a sore spot between you and roommates if you don’t have some separation for them and their own food goods. 

Shopping online is also a great way to see more variety of containers and ideas for organizing a fridge with roommates.  It can be done and if there are rules right from the move in day, then it can run smoothly.  But, from personal experience, if there are not any rules in place, then things will migrate and instead of checking out their own shelf things on your shelf are easier to grab.

More Fridge Organization Ideas

Cleaning Out Rules

You don’t want to scare your roommates away with rules, but some are just necessary, such as cleaning out the fridge.  You can have all these great containers and organizers but if you have a roommate who lets things rot, then it needs to be addressed. 

But it is much easier to spot that rotting apple when there are fridge organizers in place.  This is a worthwhile investment and utilizing the vertical space in your fridge.  Living with roommates can be a great experience if you have some rules in place.

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Comments

Apr 12, 2016 11:18am
brendaanne3
Great article! I wish that containers weren't so expensive. I love organizing but always find myself thinking about how overpriced things like these seem.
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