Moving away from home is a stressful experience, especially if you’re starting at a university in 2018. Unless you’re lucky, you probably have to move to another city, make new friends, and share a house or even just a room with strangers. There are a thousand things to think of during this strange new world; this post is to let you know that one of those thousand things to think of is your fridge. You may have taken your fridge at home for granted all those years: but now it’s entirely possible that you have to think of where to get your own.
So where do you go to buy one? The refrigerator store?
To help you at this crucial point in life, we’ve put together this short list of things to look out for when buying a fridge for your dorm room.
Before you get started on your great fridge buying adventure, why not find out whether your roommates are willing to help you foot the bill? After all, you’ll all be using the fridge during your time together at school anyways.
It’s only a fair service that you all chip in. It’s also worth thinking about whether you’re going to need to buy a fridge at all, since some dorms have communal kitchens used by everyone living on the same floor; in that situation, you’ll probably already have one. You might not need to go on your fridge buying quest after all.
You heard it here first: size really does matter. At home, you might have been used to a full on, full size fridge with all your little favorite items neatly packed away inside. There are definite advantages to having a six footer: you can pack in a few weeks’ worth of food after just one shop. But there are a few things to bear in mind before you pick out a family size fridge or considering other offers. There’s always better and you’re going to want to have the most storage for all your products.
First of all, dorm rooms are small. Probably as small as your room at your parents’ house. And not just that, but depending on your situation, you might also be sharing your room with somebody else! So every bit of space that’s taken up by a big bulky fridge will be getting on your nerves for the next few years. That’s not something that you want and you won’t be getting any support having that kind of energy around either!
There’s also the fact that a larger fridge is a drain on resources in a couple of ways. First, believe it or not, but having a large fridge will encourage you to buy more and, in turn, throw out more food as waste. But probably more importantly, a large fridge will use far more electricity over time. You can save on your bills by buying small. Our advice is most definitely to get a half size fridge; even if it does mean that you can’t fit as much in.
Some of the things you’re going to want to look for are:
Even though it might be too small to fit much at all, don’t let that put you off buying a mini fridge with a freezer compartment. If for some reason you’ve never come across one, these look exactly like regular fridges, except there’s a small compartment at either the top or the bottom that’s kept cold enough to freeze whatever’s put inside it. It’s a useful alternative to having an entire external freezer.
It’s something that you don’t appreciate until it’s gone; but when you make extra portions of a meal to last through the week, or you want ice cream, you’ll be at a loss without that tiny freezer compartment. The good news is that fridges with mini freezers don’t tend to cost that much more than their normal-fridge counterparts, so it won’t put you out of pocket to get one.
Not all fridges are created equal. As we’ve already said, some are bigger than others, and some are more energy efficient than others; but some are also easier to clean than others. This is more a problem with older fridges, and it isn’t something you see that much anymore, but some fridges still have wire shelves rather than flat plastic or glass shelves. This can be a real pain.
Now, for whatever reason, you might think that’s fantastic: but bear in mind it’s a lot more difficult to clean. Getting in and around all the individual wire bars takes an absolute age, especially compared to the flat shelves, which are super simple to wipe down. Fridges which have a smooth metallic exterior are also prone to getting smudges and stains, which can be a pain. And it’s also worth thinking about getting a fridge with removable shelves, so that when you’re cleaning it out, you won’t have to be hunched over leaning inside. You may think this doesn’t matter, but you’ll be thanking us when the time finally comes when you bother to clean the thing.
In order to save a little money, it might be tempting to go second hand and try to find a bargain. This might be a great idea for some things like plates, knives and forks which can always be found on eBay or in charity shops for a bargain price. These things are easy to pick up second hand because they’re simple- so long as they’re clean, stackable and not covered in rust or dust then you’re pretty much good to go.
Fridges- or second hand appliances generally, actually- are not normally a good buy. First things first, older fridges are often built differently to modern ones, and many use harmful chemicals to actually cool the air within the fridge. If the second hand fridge you’re looking at happens to be one of these models, and you accidentally dink one of the pipes at the back, you could release harmful gas into your home. Not good. They’re also far less efficient in terms of energy than new fridges. Kitchen appliances are typically best bought new, just in case.