We once stayed 10 days in an AirBnB studio apartment that had a dorm-size refrigerator. At first we worried it wouldn’t be sufficient to hold anything, but we quickly realized it actually offered more than enough space.
Two people staying 10 days doesn’t lend itself to a lot of food hoarding. Think of what’s typically consuming space in your fridge: the average person has an extensive condiment collection, one that has taken months to accumulate and maintain; then there’s a few gallons of milk, orange juice, and other beverages; they might have stocked up on bread and cheese, plus other bulk purchases or “two for one” deals that get you to buy more than you need. (Pro tip: when something is, let’s say, 3 for $5, you don’t actually have to buy 3 to get the deal. One will cost $1.67. (tweet that))
But, thanks to preservatives and extra space in the typical fridge, you can take your time and leave things in there awhile! And meanwhile, keep buying more!
When you’re only going to be somewhere for 10 days, you don’t stock up. You buy what you need and keep ingredient lists pretty simple.
Dinners usually consisted of rice, chicken, and vegetables. We’d buy the chicken the day of from a local shop, and bought only a few vegetables at a time which we kept in the fridge.
Another meal staple for us was sandwiches, which required sliced meat, mayo, and sprouts in the fridge, as well as any left over tomato and avocado. The lettuce we bought just happened to be hydroponic (it still had the roots on it) so we kept it in a bowl of water on the counter.
We bought a ton of fresh fruit because there were awesome farmer-owned fruit stands all over, and the fruit tasted amazing where we were visiting. This was a major part of our diets during our stay, and most of it didn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, eggs are perfectly fine outside the fridge, which blew my American mind.
Other miscellaneous refrigerated items included orange juice, apple sauce pouches, some butter, and a mini soy sauce.
Sometimes being forced into tight quarters shows you how little space you need. My boyfriend even remarked during our stay that he really doesn’t need his full-size fridge at home, and that he might switch to an efficiency-size (in between the dorm-size and the full-size).
One downside of that small fridge was that it was in a cabinet only a few inches off the floor. Bending down to get everything wasn’t as easy as standing up surveying your options. If I had a small fridge like that at home, I’d put it up higher!
I know for larger families, big refrigerators can be useful. Although how much of what’s in there actually needs to be refrigerated? Can your bread, butter, fruit, or eggs go on the counter/in the pantry? I know some people refrigerate everything, even apples, which is so strange to me! (Cold apples hurt my teeth biting into them.) But to each his own.
As for us, we learned on that trip that we can live with less than we have. Which is always an empowering feeling.
I’ve written before about buying groceries, and how stocking up can be tempting but can lead to way too much. I’ve realized that I prefer buying fresh foods more frequently, over buying frozen stuff that will last longer. Doing it this way lends itself to a smaller fridge, fresher food, and a more organized supply.
That’s what I’m trying these days. What about you?