Tips for Sharing an Apartment Refrigerator with Roommates

The fridge and freezer are vital for storing perishable food, so dividing them between roommates can be tricky. Luckily, you can avoid stress and frustration by laying some ground rules and following a few tricks along the way.

Apartment Refrigerator Etiquette

The kitchen is a shared space, but that doesn’t mean you have to share your food. Before moving in, discuss what your roommates think. It may work for some people to split the grocery bill evenly and share all the food, but others might not be comfortable with that.

Here are some considerations to make as you figure out what’s best for you and your roommates:

  • It might make sense to share relatively inexpensive items that last a long time, like mayo, jam, and butter spread.
  • If everyone drinks the same kind of milk, you may decide to share to avoid wasting fridge space. Simply alternate who buys a gallon each week.
  • If you have a special item you don’t want anyone else eating, label it with your name.
  • If you’re unsure whether you can have something, ask!

How to Divvy Up a Shared Refrigerator

Your exact method depends on the size and layout of your fridge, the number of roommates, and how you decide to share food. Still, these tips can help you share the refrigerator fairly:

  • Each person might take a shelf, or you might split the fridge down the middle. You may also decide to organize the space by food type with labels on everything so you know which food belongs to which roommate.
  • To ensure everyone has space, don’t buy excess of something just because it’s on sale. Keep on top of expiration dates as well, so you don’t take up valuable fridge space with rotten food.
  • Be courteous about freezer space, too. Apartment freezers tend to be small, so limit yourself to one carton of ice cream at a time.

How to Deal with Roommate Refrigerator Drama

The best way to keep the peace is to have an open dialogue and set expectations ahead of time. Here’s how to handle roommate refrigerator issues without fighting:

  • Have a conversation. Your roommates might not realize they’re out of line, and a chat could clear things up.
  • Store food you don’t want to share in a designated bin so it’s clearly off-limits.
  • If the fridge is overflowing, suggest making a meal together where each roommate contributes ingredients to help clear out some space.

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