Have I mentioned that we recently swapped our large refrigerator for a smaller retro refrigerator? We did. And you might be surprised to know what we think after downsizing & what we are doing next.
We have been contemplating getting a retro refrigerator- aka a smaller refrigerator that looks vintage- for awhile now. And when our oldest moved into his new house- he needed a larger refrigerator to fit his large kitchen. And since we were pretty much looking for an excuse to make that change and downsize to a smaller one- it worked out perfectly. We loaded up the big refrigerator and drove it to his new house- and then temporarily moved the small vintage refrigerator from the cottage into the house.
Instantly, when that large refrigerator was moved out – that part of the kitchen felt so much more open. And when the smaller fridge make the trek across the lawn from the cottage- it nestled into that spot perfectly and gave the ‘refrigerator corner’ a lot more breathing room. And I LOVE the aesthetic that these vintage look fridges have. So from that standpoint- I was loving the change already. But what about from the practical standpoint of what a refrigerator is there to do? Would that downsized fridge hold what we needed it to? The more we looked at it and how small those shelves were compared to the food on the island that was waiting to get put away… we wondered if we might be a little crazy.
Are we Crazy?
Okay honestly, we didn’t think we were ever going to be able to fit everything into that tiny fridge. Since this refrigerator is literally less than Half the size of the other one- we thought we would be shopping more often but bringing home less since we would be lacking space. But that isn’t the case.
This refrigerator is only 7 cu ft- we originally were planning to order a slightly larger version of this same refrigerator for the main kitchen – we have been super happy with it in the cottage. But instead of hitting order right away- we decided to pause until we adjusted to small fridge living. This is the refrigerator in this photo if you are curious.
But the funniest thing. We went through the various things in the fridge and tossed things that were almost empty, expired (oops) or that we just don’t really use. For example- we had a handful of yogurt salad dressings in the door- but we really don’t ever use dressing on our salads. We prefer them with a drizzle of balsamic if anything at all. So we kept the ones we use most often and tossed the rest that were just taking up space. (I do realize photos of food in the fridge are not aspirational haha- but wanted to show you just how much we are able to fit into such a small footprint)
We also have storage baskets for most of our root vegetables and fruit that does not need to be refrigerated. They are built into the cupboards. But- I added a few extra veggies, avocados etc. that don’t normally go in the fridge inside the fridge just for the photos to show how much more we can actually fit on the shelves.
We don’t use the wine rack that came with the refrigerator -but we did need full height storage on the top shelf for almond milk and things like that. So we took the rack out and the top shelf holds all the tall things.
Another shelf holds fresh produce such as lettuce and greens, asparagus, broccoli, butternut and beets, etc. along with smaller packs of berries. They simply stack up neatly. We also have containers with fresh salsa, hummus, etc. that stack where they can. Currently- we also have some extras that we don’t normally have for baking projects as well as some extra vegan egg substitute, vegan pizza and special condiments for my daughter that we stocked up on when she was visiting.
In the drawer – hard cheeses, feta and brie , etc. In the door- it is smaller things- the yogurt dressings, condiments, agave, etc. and a whole shelf just for several packages of Sweet Pea’s fresh dog food and fresh dog treats. etc.
The freezer space is on the small side. No doubt about it. The drawers are small and not very deep. But surprisingly- we have been able to fit everything we would like to so far. We do remove bulkier things like veggie burgers from the original packaging and place them into freezer bags and larger things like a pizza won’t fit in the freezer so I guess it is a good thing we don’t stock up on things like frozen pizza haha. We don’t generally have a ton of frozen foods honestly so the small storage space has not been a problem so far.
There are 3 drawers in the freezer. 1 small and two that are deeper.
The best thing about this little fridge? We realized how much more curated we are when shopping. Because we don’t have a ton of extra space in the refrigerator- we pay closer attention to what we need and what we will use rather than just picking up stuff on sale or extras etc. It is actually quite freeing.
These smaller refrigerators also run on very little energy- and they even have some models that can be off grid. My husband is a big fan of energy savings so that was one of the first things (aside from their size & vintage look for me) and the fun colors that drew us to them.
Next size up
We are ordering that next size up this week- it is on sale for Presidents Day. Since this will be our main refrigerator- we feel like having a few more cubic feet could be a good thing-and will probably feel like a whole lot more after using a smaller one. And the cottage needs it’s fridge back. haha. We use the one in the cottage for flowers and any extras and things for parties, etc.. This is the larger model that we are ordering if you are curious.
Shop the Look
Linking a few different brands and sizes in retro refrigerators if you love the look too. Some are very well priced around $500 and they have the look of the more expensive versions. Just click each photo for more.