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Posts Tagged ‘refrigerators’

I’ve spent the last five years trying to figure out how the heck side-by-side refrigerators got so popular in the ’80s.

I grew up thinking my family, with our old-fashioned one-door, freezer-on-top model, was missing out, that somehow the families with side-by-sides were enjoying better meals and tastier snacks. They were certainly enjoying hipper, more modern kitchens.

Oh, the misguided assumptions of youth. I finally got my new-fangled side-by-side refrigerator when we moved to Huntsville (at the same time, I might add, that the hippest homeowners were purchasing refrigerators with French doors and freezer drawers on the bottom).

I quickly ascertained that side-by-sides are virtually useless for anyone who actually wants to USE a refrigerator. I was constantly rearranging things to try to make other things fit. The freezer was a disaster, with two extremely deep, extremely narrow drawers that quickly turned into a tumbled mess of freezer bags and containers no matter how careful I was to try to keep them organized, and shelves that were difficult to navigate despite their small size.

Organizing the refrigerator shelves was like playing a game of culinary Tetris. A gallon of milk and a container of orange juice was pretty much all the top shelf could handle. My love for greens fresh out of the salad spinner required a dedicated bottom shelf. The small salad spinner, mostly reserved for fresh herbs, sometimes had to reside in the crisper, a problem given that the drawer usually already contained an array of veggies.

We never got around to getting another one, partly because someone had kindly custom-built the cabinets around the refrigerator, severely limiting the potential replacement models.

Now that I’m in Atlanta, I’m once again living with an old-school, freezer-on top refrigerator with one non-French door. Only this time, I’ve decided that old-school is pretty awesome.

The refrigerator shelves offer wide, open spaces — currently, the salad spinner is residing alongside half a gallon of milk, a carton of goat cheese AND a jar of jelly. The freezer’s a huge open space — no shelves, but a couple of small plastic boxes can help sort a LOT of frozen foods. It even has a working ice maker, an innovation that I have, until now, not enjoyed in my own home.

The whole setup is so much more usable than the side-by-side that I’m not even curious about freezer drawers on the bottom anymore. I just want space that makes sense.

I guess the moral of this post is to be careful what you wish for, because you might be stuck cursing at it for five long years when you finally get it.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 29: Listed a couple of books and CDs for sale at Amazon. I’m always tempted to keep every book that comes into my hands, but I don’t have room, and I don’t miss them when they’re gone.

Day 30: I have been granted permission to scour the garage and make executive decisions. Best. Fling. Ever.

Day 31: Who’s the genius that came up with side-by-side refrigerators? The freezer section isn’t necessarily small, but it acts small, with two deep drawers that items just get lost in, and a couple of flimsy wire shelves, one with too much vertical space, the other with too little. The design of the refrigerator section is slightly better, but it’s not proportioned quite right either. And, because it’s shoved into a just-right-sized hole in the cabinetry, I can’t open the fridge door enough to remove the drawers. So they’re only as clean as I can get them while they’re still inside. No soaking old dirt and grime off; it’s there for life.

I’ve only chosen my own refrigerator once during my entire life, and we had to leave it behind when we moved four years ago. Therefore, I’m always stuck with somebody else’s bad decision and missing accessories.

Sigh. Today, I repacked some small bags of frozen cantaloupe, strawberries and greens into bigger bags in an effort to make one of the freezer drawers less of an abyss. The other one may hold a human head for all I know.

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