Months ago, when we were first preparing to move into the travel trailer, we discovered that the full sized refrigerator it was equipped with was beautiful, looked like new, and did not work. That left us with a problem of replacing it. In such limited space, with limited funds, putting several hundred dollars minimum into a refrigerator was a major decision, as well as a serious space decision.
Should we go full sized but small, or opt for a “dorm sized” or small refrigerator?
I knew that I did not want the typical dorm refrigerator with the teensy freezer space that quickly became useless as frost coated it. Experience had taught me long ago that those refrigerators could not keep even a pint of ice cream overnight without it becoming mushy and less than icy in consistency. I’m an ice nut…I wanted space where a bag of ice at least could fit.
There IS a 4.2-4.5 sized refrigerator with two doors, and it was this refrigerator that we opted for. It uses less electricity, has the two doors, and we can keep a few items in the freezer such as bait, frozen dinners, etc. OR we can have a bag of ice. The refrigerator space can hold a half gallon of milk OR a two liter bottle of soda pop in the door, but not on the shelf inside. Removing the shelf will allow a gallon of milk or water to be stored, but essentially cuts the space in half. There is a small drawer at the bottom for vegetables or potatoes.
I’m not so sure we didn’t make a huge mistake. It still uses too much electricity and is not dual powered, so if we were boondocking, it would still be useless. It doesn’t hold a whole lot–we shop weekly and still have to moderate how much we purchase that needs refrigeration. It’s an either-or with freezer space, which means I rarely have ice to add to drinks. The space that was occupied by the original full sized (A 15-16 cubic foot refrigerator) is now occupied by a book shelf, and the refrigerator is near the door.
Using the smaller refrigerator doesn’t save us much on money, space, or energy. It greatly increases inconvenience and the number of trips required monthly to the store, and each trip to the store increases the probability of impulse purchases too, which further increases expenses.
Since that original purchase of the 2 door dorm sized refrigerator, I’ve gotten smarter about appliance purchases. “Scratch and dent” refrigerators (and other appliances) are sold at MOST retail stores, and the bigger they are, the more likely that they have ones with cosmetic damage. With patience, some shopping, and a bit of time to spare, real bargains can be found, and often the damage will not be in a location where it is even visible. These appliances come with full warranties, and face it…if the invisible damage is there, and you saved 50% of the purchase price…you don’t mind if you are hiding a gouge on the left side of the fridge where it is against the wall. You also aren’t worried about potentially scratching or denting it yourself–it’s already been damaged cosmetically!
If we had it to do over again, knowing what I do now, that’s the route we would have gone. I would not have purchased the micro refrigerator. Saving that space has turned out to cost us more in the long run, and I could have purchased a more appropriately sized refrigerator as a “scratch & dent” for about $50 more. I had mistakenly thought that the smaller size would be adequate, but our desire for cold drinks cannot be met with the smaller refrigerator, nor can I satisfy my passion for iced drinks with the smaller one.
Think over your refrigerator needs carefully before deciding that the micro sized one is appropriate. Smaller sizes mean more frequent shopping, and for many people, those frequent trips to the store are not practical.
In our case, our purchase failed to consider how much we enjoyed cold drinks, as well as the frequency we needed to store leftovers. The value of a gallon of water or milk, the savings of using 2 liter bottles of soda, and the budget considerations of buying a little extra on sale for next week were not considered.