Like any kid lucky enough to go to college, my freshman dorm room was crammed with random knick-knacks and decorations that had either been hastily bought at the local Walmart or, more likely, hauled from home. But my proudest possession was the 3 cubic foot mini fridge that fit snugly under my lofted bed. I had saved up over a six-month period to buy it, the justification to my skeptical parents being that having a mini fridge might come in handy if I needed to spend the day studying without interruption and needed some easy to make meals nearby. And in truth, that reason ended up reflecting the reality of the fridge’s use for the most part. But if I were being totally honest, the third, unspoken reason was that I thought a mini fridge would look cool. Mini fridges are often advertised for their uses as drink coolers or dorm accessories, so college felt like the best (perhaps only) time to get one.
This summer, I found myself shopping for mini fridges again, but under different conditions. I’ve worked from home since 2018, so the concept was not entirely unfamiliar to me when it became a default requirement for many in 2020. However, working from home under normal circumstances is an entirely different experience when compared to working at home during a pandemic. I’m fortunate to have dedicated work space, but I still find it difficult to keep to a productive routine most days, and that includes ensuring that I’m eating enough. Initially, buying a small mini fridge seemed like the best way to ensure that a few snacks and protein shakes could be kept close at hand. The longer I use it, however, the more I am realizing a secret truth: that a mini fridge, if you can afford one, is an indispensable tool for anyone working at home.
Not only has keeping a small mini fridge in my office allowed me to keep a few chilled Soylent bottles nearby, but it’s also given me a place to stash small portions of leftovers that otherwise might have gone to waste. Keeping a mini fridge has also allowed me to get a better idea of what my current eating habits are. Right now, the relatively compact (and cute) lilac RCA 1.6 cubic feet mini fridge I purchased contains a few cups of Grazier’s yogurt, a few snack cheese rounds and granola bars, some leftover Chinese, a couple of Coke Zeros and a mini Brita pitcher, along with a few other odds and ends. And since it’s only 20 inches tall, it slides under my desk with room to spare. I’m much more likely to grab breakfast if it’s right beside me; a mini fridge allows me to work around that habit rather than waste energy fighting it.
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Having a mini fridge in my workspace has also allowed me to develop a somewhat more stable routine when it comes to cooking and sharing food with family members. I’m more likely to remember to “bring a lunch to work” if there’s somewhere to bring that lunch to. Likewise, I’m more likely to have the energy to make dinner if I know that my breakfast and lunch is already prepared and waiting for me “at work.” The idea may seem a little bit silly at first, especially if you already have a sizable fridge waiting for you just a short walk away. The convenience, however, can truly be worth the splurge for those who find cooking (and doing, well, anything) to be an exhausting prospect during a pandemic.
Investing in a mini fridge can also have a more practical side during a pandemic, especially for multi-family or shared households. The addition of a mini fridge to my office means that if I needed to quarantine, my wife and I would be able to more easily keep our food separate. Another housemate who travels more frequently has also purchased a mini fridge for similar reasons
Having more than one refrigerator, or the ability to buy an additional one, is an undeniable luxury, especially in a year when so much has been up in the air. But if you have the means to get one, a mini fridge in your workspace can provide just a bit of stability. And, admittedly, it will also make your space look cool.
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