Combating Small Apartment Living Issues: Refrigerator Space

Man reaching into a refrigerator to grab a red apple. The issue of refrigerator organization and lack of space can create negative tension among roommates, when you are adjusting to small apartment living. However, there are many preventative measures and rules you can set in place to avoid this crisis.


Before even putting any items in the refrigerator, set up some rules. It’s important for you and your roommates to establish boundaries in your small apartment living quarters to be able to better cope with the limited space. One idea is to designate certain shelves to each roommate, and leave the door space for “community” items. Some example of items that can be designated as shared, or “community,” items are soy sauce, ketchup, coffee creamer and baking soda. Any other items that do not fit on your shelf, but you do not want to share with others (e.g., tall bottles of wine, leftover food from restaurants, juice), should be labeled using a sharpie that can be attached with Velcro to your refrigerator door.

Another tip is to display a dry-erase board in plain view on the refrigerator door. This can be used to keep a running tab on community items that are running low. Every time a roommate goes grocery shopping, they could cross off and place an initial beside the item they are replenishing for the refrigerator. This is also a good measure to establish because it will deter instances of duplicate items that can be the cause of excess clutter in a small fridge. You can also avoid clutter by scheduling a day once a month dedicated to purging the refrigerator of old contents. Check expiration dates, empty and wash all tupperware, and toss all wilted produce on each of your respective shelves.

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