Sunday, August 26, 2007

Small Space Saturday: Making the Most of a Small Fridge

Every Saturday I write about strategies for living in 300 square feet

We have a really, really small refrigerator. It is a Novakool RF7500 with only 7.5 cubic feet of total storage, including the tiny freezer. While your RV fridge is probably a little bigger that ours, chances are it is much smaller than a typical household one.

In order to fit a week’s worth of groceries into this small space, I use plastic storage bins as extra “drawers.”

They are rectangular, so they fill the space well. They are perforated, so the cold air circulates freely. They have handles, so it is easy to pull one out to access the food in the back or on the bottom of the bin. The bottoms are not perforated, so if something spills it is limited to one bin and easy to wash out.

Food can be packed pretty tight into the bins, and so much more food can be stored than if it was loose on the shelves. Being full of food rather than air also helps the fridge operate more efficiently.

I sort the three bins by meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fourth drawer, at the bottom of the photo came with the refrigerator. Ironically, it is the one that is the hardest to open because it tends to stick and can’t be pulled all the way out unless the door is swung wide open. It is the largest one so it holds odd or long items like uncut celery.

The bins I found are about three inches shorter than the shelf, so there is space in the back for rarely used jars of pickles and mayonnaise. The bins help keep the jars from sliding around or falling over on rough roads.


  1. The bins are a great idea. Where did you find them? Also, do you have enough olives?!! I enjoy reading about your travels and it is inspiring me to hit the road in my little MC-5B. Shack, Roanoke, Texas

  2. That is a big jar of olives, isn't it? I think Sean was hungry while grocery shopping, never a good idea.

    I have seen these bins at many different stores. Look in Target, K-Mart or WalMart. The brand name is Sterilite on two of them and the third one is unreadable.

  3. Wow, thankyou so much for the great idea. Especially with a larger fridge it is better to have things contained, than rolling around in there when we are on the move. Greata idea!

  4. I would have thought the opposite; that you'd have less room with the baskets. Once we get back to the US I'll have to try them and see how they work. Course, organizing by meal simply won't work with kids who eat cereal for dinner and pasta for breakfast. :)

  5. I forgot to mention; the only item that I've purchased for organization is something for the bathroom. Camping World had flatware drainers that worked PERFECT for the bathroom shelves. I've organized by stuff - tooth brushing stuff, cutting stuff, eye (contact) stuff, etc. and now it is so easy to find the little stuff and we aren't constantly stuffing carp in there. I can't find it at Camping World; lmk if you want a picture...

  6. A belated thumbs up for bins in the fridge. We used to do that in our ice chest - to save space and keep things dry - but for some reason I never transferred that concept to the fridge. I will now.
    Michael K, San Francisco.


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