14 Pros & Cons + 12 Rules for Sharing a Fridge with a Roommate in College


Of all the values that college life teaches, sharing is a big one. Especially when it comes to food. And, more specifically, sharing the dorm or house refrigerator. It can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship or a source of constant misery.

As kids move into the dorms or a house near the campus this month, here are some pros and cons (from Debbie’s daughters, Sammy and Leah), followed by 12 tips on nudging things in the direction of a happy sharing.

Pros:

- When you share a fridge with someone, you get to know what foods they like, which is the foundation of all good friendships;

- When you and your roommate are in the mood to cook something together, you end up combining random ingredients to make something EPIC (and cheesy);

- When you are living in the library because you are cramming for an O-chem exam, you don’t have any time to realize that your milk is expired. So your roommate becomes your real hero and throws it out for you;

- When your roommate starts becoming obsessed with one type of food (bacon, pickles, chia seeds, to name a few) you notice, and you can host an intervention that they’ll thank you for later;

- You can put up embarrassing pictures of each other on the fridge.. or motivational quotes;

- Roommates get to go grocery shopping together which is the best kind of shopping;

- You get to share condiments;

- If the fridge breaks, our landlord can fix it, and we don’t have to worry about getting a new one. (Said the 4th generation of Mrs.G’s).

Cons:

- No one takes responsibility cleaning the fridge;

- No designated shelf space per roommate;

- “Free for all food;”

- Some roommates don’t know when to throw out food before it rots/smells;

- Overstuffing. Not everything needs to be refrigerated;

- You run out of beer space.

So how do you keep this partnership on the sunny side?


Here are 12 rules to follow:

1. Get refrigerator peacekeeping tools:

– Stackable containers with lids

– Tape

– Sharpies.

Regularly replenish the supply;

2. Divide the shelves vertically so that everyone gets a section of each shelf. Mark the territories with tape;

3. Establish a rule that food put in the fridge needs to be covered to prevent smell and mold (use said containers). Label with name and date (use said tape and sharpie);

4. Share long-living staples like condiments. Keep them in in plain sight in the refrigerator’s door, so they don’t disappear in the back;

5. In the rare case that everybody eats everything, also share things like milk, juices, eggs, and butter;

6. Schedule “family dinners” using everything in the fridge (a way to bond). Invite the whole floor;

7. Keep more perishable food at the front of the fridge so it won’t get forgotten and rotten in the back;

8. Add cleaning up the fridge as a chore to your dorm’s rotating cleanup routine. With a mandate to throw out every suspicious-looking food;

9. If you brought club-size food or cooked large batches, put the food in small containers or ziplock that fit better and save space. Freeze stuff you won’t use right away;

10. Take turns cooking dinners. You only have to make dinner once or twice a week instead of every evening. It also works out cheaper. And you get to try foods you might not normally make for yourself;

11. Use freezer space. Leftovers can be put into a container and frozen. They may not taste as good as freshly made food but much better than rotten food;

12. Be a mensch. You have to live with your roommate so try to be a little more understanding in the fridge and in life.


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