Our kitchen is in progress right now. We have a couple of new things so far, but no backsplash, curtains, or art on the walls yet. I’m just showing peeks of the kitchen until it’s finished, hopefully, soon. (It looked like this previously.)
I’m no stranger to the way that smaller things can cost more than bigger things. The small houses in the historic district cost much more than the massive houses on the edge of town. One good writing pen costs more than the cheap pack of six. And you can’t just buy one battery, you have to buy the entire package and find a place in your apartment to store the rest you don’t need. Travel-size and apartment-size, while practical, often carry a premium price for their small design.
So it came as no surprise when I looked for a smaller counter-depth refrigerator that they cost significantly more than what I would consider to be a normal fridge according to American standards.
I looked for weeks, reading reviews and studying dimensions of cubic feet, but I saw no clear winner. The dozens of refrigerator models aren’t very different, after all; they’re made by the three or four companies who own the variety of brands. It’s hard to be impressed when an expensive appliance’s life expectancy is just 7 to 10 years according to the salesperson. What happened to quality? We used to expect better. But I digress.
IKEA had a model at a reasonable price that was a true counter-depth of 24 inches, but it was out of stock for months. We couldn’t wait for it. We needed a fridge for the house we just bought, and though our kitchen is a large size, a regular-sized refrigerator unit would have blocked the window.
We had our sights set on having a fridge that was smaller. That was one of the changes we decided to bring back with us from Italy. In Florence we became so accustomed to our dorm-size refrigerator with just barely enough room to store our fresh food that we didn’t want to go back to a deep fridge with enough food stored inside to rival a corner market.
A dorm-size fridge might really be too small, but a counter-depth fridge seemed just right. We liked how they look as well.
One fortuitous day we browsed through the aisles of yet another appliance store, studying the models that all looked the same, and we came across one lone fridge with a big yellow sign. It was a scratch-and-dent markdown with a steep discount that put it squarely in our price range, thanks to a burned-out light bulb and a small dent above the handle. We became excited when the dimensions fit the space we had for it perfectly.
The dent makes me happy every time I look at it.
So that’s how we now have a pretty little counter-depth fridge in our kitchen, but still it’s only half-full. We keep our fresh food for the week in it, and when it’s time to go to the grocery store at the beginning of the week, our fridge usually looks like this:
Clean and almost empty, ready to fill with fresh, new groceries.
I have so enjoyed having a smaller fridge that I can easily assess what’s in it, reach everything, and not let food go to waste. I find that an enormous fridge full of food can be overwhelming, and I can’t seem to remember what’s in it. Most of our food goes in the pantry, anyway. We use up what we have, and we don’t throw out as much.
Everything is fresh, and I never need to clean it out.
Cleaning the stainless steel:
When I titled this post about how the fridge cleans itself, I was referring to the inside, but the stainless steel on the outside of the fridge is easy to clean too. I spray it with H2, which is an all-purpose cleaning concentrate that I use for most everything, and then I wipe it in the direction of the grain with a microfiber cloth. It’s almost perfectly streak-free, but no one is looking closely enough to inspect my fridge. (If you’ve used polishes or other oil-based cleaners such as Pledge on the stainless steel already, then this method may not work as well on the residue those leave behind.)