Rethinking Refrigeration: The Benefits of a Smaller Fridge

| 11/28/2017 2:28:00 PM

Tags: Jennifer Tuohy, Home Depot, mini refrigerators,

Small Fridge 1

Downsizing is on trend. While we may not all be rushing to join the “tiny house movement,” there is a growing consciousness among today’s consumers to make the most of our resources, waste less, and eliminate clutter—it’s good for the Earth and for simplifying our lives. When downsizing your home or merely trying to cut back, one significant way to increase this impact is to get a smaller refrigerator.

If you’re a family of four or more — or you have teenagers in the house — a big French door refrigerator can be a lifesaver. But there’s room to simplify in even the most bustling households. And for smaller families, empty nesters, singletons, and retirees, opting for a smaller fridge can almost go unnoticed. These “alternative” fridges use less energy, take up less space, and encourage you to waste less food. They’re also a much better fit for small kitchens and can help you add counter space.

Here are the reasons to consider an alternative to a big refrigerator.

Take Up Less Space

Whether you’re downsizing to a condo after raising a family, living in a small apartment in the city, or just trying to make more room in your kitchen, maximizing space can be a challenge. A fridge that is smaller than its full-sized counterpart can allow you to find extra room in your kitchen for seating, cabinetry, and other appliances.

Use Less Energy

Not only are smaller refrigerators less expensive, but they’re also less expensive to run. Appliances are responsible for 13 percent of a household’s energy use, and after the heating and cooling system, the refrigerator is one of the biggest home-energy hogs. Refrigerators take up a lot of valuable space and energy in a kitchen, but they’re often working harder than they have to, cooling food that you don’t ever need or use.

12/2/2017 11:43:26 AM

My husband and I have been using a Swedish made refrigerator/freezer for about 20 years. It is tall and narrow, with both sections about the same square feet. Freezer on bottom that is not self-defrost (and it builds up a lot of frost). Here are some things to consider: Pros: lower energy cost and space requirements, as the above article says. Cons: I need to shop more often and buying produce that will last a week in our heavy vegetable diet is impossible. I prep everything just after purchase to cut down space. Salad greens are cut/torn, washed and then packed in containers. as is quinoa, carrots, cauliflower. Beets and onions are pickled. Protein is cooked a few days at a time, cut up and packed in a container. We rely on a cooler on our back porch when company comes with beer, wine, juice, or potluck dishes. I freeze half gallon milk jugs in our separate smaller upright freezer and use those to keep the cooler chilled. All meat is frozen until just before use. It takes getting used to and quite a bit of planning to have a small frig. Our next refrigerator will also be small, but will be a refrigerator only. I've been looking at tall, narrow (24 inches wide) commercial style refrigerators for the future. They are a bit more expensive, but they too can be low energy and low maintenance.

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