In college, it’s likely that students will spend most or all of their college years living with a roommate. While the thought of living alone and not having to share your space with another person seems ideal, this is not the reality for most students. This means that there are things in your apartment or home that are inevitably shared. You might be sharing a room, a bathroom, or just a fridge, but regardless, a conversation needs to be held in order to keep each party on the same wavelength.

Sharing a fridge with a couple of roommates may seem like an easy task, but it is still smart to establish ground rules. No one likes to open a fridge and get a whiff of stinky leftovers or see that there is no room for newly bought groceries. While there are different frustrations about any shared space, these guidelines will help to ensure that you and your roommates have established "fridge etiquette."

Agree on items to share.

There are so many items that are routinely bought during grocery store trips. Instead of each roommate buying a carton of eggs, half a gallon of milk or a package of shredded cheese, buy those items in bulk! It takes up more space to have three containers of the same item in one fridge, so think about establishing items to buy in bulk to split, eliminating the overcrowding of overlapping groceries.

This also stands true for condiments - there is no need to have two jars of mayo and three containers of butter in the fridge! Make a trip with your roommates to your nearest Sam’s Club, Costco, or even your normal grocery store and stock up on condiments that you all can share.

Designate space for each roommate.

We all know those people that get a little too excited when they go to the grocery store and end up coming home with more food than they need. When this happens, one roommate might get their food shoved to the back corner of the fridge in order to make room for that one person’s groceries. In order to avoid someone becoming a “fridge hog,” use masking tape and a sharpie to designate sections of the fridge to everyone. Whether it be a drawer, a certain side of the shelf or the door bins, each roommate should have a section of the fridge to claim as their own.

Use the pantry.

The pantry is a great place to store food and beverages that don’t need to be refrigerated right away. Extra water bottles and soda can be kept in the pantry until they are needed. When space in the fridge frees up, move these extras from the pantry to the fridge to chill them! This also goes for most bread items like English muffins and bagels. After a few days or a week, you can move these items to the fridge when space becomes available. Refrigerating bread or similar items keep the batch fresher for longer!

Always ask.

For the most part, roommates will buy the specific foods they like and intend it to be eaten by only them. Being a student is time-consuming, and having time to go to the store to pick up last minute ingredients may not be convenient. So, if you need a slice of bread to make a sandwich or some pretzels to accompany your lunch, ask your roommate. Nine times out of ten your roommate will be willing to lend you some of their food. But it is very important to communicate and ask before you just take something in order to avoid conflict.

Clean out your fridge.

Opening the fridge to the smell of rotten eggs or spoiled leftovers is less than ideal. It occasionally happens to everyone, but ensuring that it is not a common occurrence is key. Establishing a cleaning schedule for your apartment fridge will help avoid your fridge from being overcrowded with old, smelly leftovers and groceries. Try to go through the fridge at least once a week, getting rid of the items that are spoiled.

Label food with a sharpie to avoid confusion.

As mentioned before, there are specific foods that your roommate will buy that are meant to only be eaten by them. There also might be some foods in the fridge that are duplicated, making it easier to accidentally eat someone else's food. A good way to avoid this conflict is to label all of your food. Sharpies are great to have on hand after coming home from the grocery store, making it easy to label all of your groceries to eliminate any confusion between you and your apartment mates.

Save your mini fridge.

If you’re sharing a fridge with four or more people, fridge space can be tricky. A way to create space and have even more personal space for your groceries is to keep the mini fridge from your dorm room. Keeping that tiny fridge may seem like a waste of space, but it is a great way to conveniently keep your food and beverages separate from the madness of the “main fridge.” While it’s impractical to think that all of your groceries will fit into the tiny fridge, it is definitely a great place to store snacks, water bottles and some items that you do not want anyone else using!

As college students, moving from a dorm to an apartment means freedom and space. It also means that your small, two-shelf fridge is gone, and a full-size fridge with ample room for as many groceries that you please is your new reality.

Liberty Properties not only supplies its renters with a full-size fridge but also a kitchen fully stocked with appliances. Take a look at Liberty Properties when you are looking for you new home!

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