Off-Campus Housing 101

How to Avoid the Fridge War

By Libby Adams

Roommates can be what makes sharing a rental great, or they make it miserable. Don't let a fridge fight lead to a Fridge War.

Here are 10 peace-keeping tips:

  1. Buy a dry ease board and marker to put on the fridge for messages - like "Don't touch my food!" or "I made extra Mac and Cheese -- help yourself!"
  2. Some other important tools - tape and Sharpies. Use to label each roommate's space on shelves and drawers. Consider doing it vertically, so everyone gets a space on every shelf.
  3. Everyone must be in agreement that anything that goes into the fridge must have a tight cover. That will insure against awful smells and growing petri dishes. For this purpose, buy stackable food storage containers. When you put one into use, label with name and date (Your trusty Sharpies come in handy here, so keep them close to fridge.)
  4. Resist the temptation to buy food together - someone usually ends up feeling shortchanged.
  5. Hold "family dinners" using everything in the fridge and invite friends. It's a great way to bond.
  6. Set up Fridge Clean-up Detail- make a schedule for a clean-up rotation, at least once a month and before school breaks. If it looks iffy, cleaners should have discretion to ditch it. But that's where the Sharpie comes in again. Dating a food container helps with the toss or keep decision. Clean-up Detail includes restoring the taped and labeled divisions (see #2).
  7. No gigantic containers. If you've made a big-box store purchase or baked a heaping batch of muffins, store in small containers. For more space efficiency, try ziplock bags. (Another item to add to the to the shopping list.)
  8. Use freezer space. Put those leftovers and big purchase buys in a freezer-grade container or ziplock bag. Your future self will be happy you did.
  9. Restock your fridge peacekeeping tools - tape, Sharpies, containers and ziplock bags. Without them, anarchy is likely to invade the fridge!
  10. VERY IMPORTANT - remember you're going to be living with your roommate for a long time. Understanding and consideration goes a long way - a lesson for the fridge and beyond.

Shopping List for a War-free Fridge:

  1. Dry Erase Board and Marker
  2. Tape and Sharpies
  3. Stackable Food Storage Containers
  4. Ziplock bags - Storage and Freezer grades
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