Is it really worthless

Yesterday, I had time to spend with my grandson as you saw.  What I didn’t show you was the horrible state of my fridge.  The ice build up on the tiny freezer compartment finally had taken over too much space. I planned to stop for my first real grocery shopping of the month today, even had my list ready.  With that in mind it was time to defrost the freezer.  Ever have one of those days that by the end of it you are asking yourself why you didn’t leave well enough alone? Yep, my day!  Let me begin by telling you there is a reason I’m sharing this with you, so please bear with me.

While I have no pictures of the ice damn that took over the fridge, trust me it was bad.  I really shouldn’t have started this with a little one around, especially one who loves to work.  I had very little food in the fridge so I turned it off, opened the door and guess what?  I let him talk me into hurrying the process along.

With a screwdriver and a hammer to chop away at the ice we began to make a few dents.  When I knew it needed time to sit and thaw I took him outside to play, upon returning he begged me to go back to the freezer, he was having fun.  We played this little routine 4 times before the job was finished.

Sounds good right?  I can see you shaking your heads already.

I’m not stupid, really I’m not.  The hose is on the far back right corner of the fridge, I wouldn’t go near that spot. I was working on the far left, in the front of the fridge when all of a sudden I hear a whooshing sound and feel a nice stream of cold air being forced out.  It’s coming from the left side.  I know there is nothing in that area that could possibly be making that sound.  I tried to tell myself it’s just air from under the ice.

Ever wonder how smart a 4 year old is?  As soon as the hissing sound starts my grandson turns to me, straight faced mind you,  and says “grandma, that doesn’t sound good, I think you broke it”  I have my finger on the spot trying to stop the air coming out and literally sat up looked at him and burst out laughing, when I regained control of myself I told him how right he was.

With the freezer defrosted, the huge chunks of ice now in the sink melting, I proceeded to inspect the hose in the back. I see nothing wrong. Well, let’s give this a try.  I turn it back on and hope. It sounds strange, but maybe that’s because I don’t remember what it sounded like when I plugged it in for the first time, or maybe that’s what it should sound like without an ice damn in it.    It feels cool, I know these fridges take a while to get cold again, the instruction book recommends 48 hours before adding food.  I ask my daughter-in-law if it feels like it’s getting colder, does she see any damage? I am holding my breath.

Five hours later I open the door with my fingers crossed and find I could cook an egg in there. All I have is heat.

Are you done laughing yet?  Let me now tell you why I am sharing this story with you.

When I went looking for a fridge, I chose this small one because it only used 3 kw of energy a month.  I figured that was as good as I was going to get.  I figured since I lived so close to town and could go to the store frequently I wouldn’t need a freezer too.

Well, it turns out these little dorm-sized fridges can’t be repaired. I’ve called everyone I could find. All laugh at me and tell me to toss it.

Can’t be repaired!! Seriously, you want me, who pulls things out of the dumpsters to toss something in?  It’s turned off, unplugged and no one will repair it or take it.  What the heck do I do with it.   My imagination is failing me.

But this has made me change a few things, starting with my shopping list.

I have decided I will not replace the fridge.  I don’t need a full-sized one for just me, and I’m not buying something that can’t be repaired.  For now, any thing that needs refrigerated, such as leftovers, will be stored outside.  I will just be careful that what I choose to eat won’t be harmed if it falls below freezing.   Past generations used ice boxes, why can’t I?

I had plans to build a very large window box and fill it with greens for salads, now is the time to speed that plan up and start growing what I can indoors.  Fruit will become a larger part of my diet than it’s been for a couple of months as it won’t need to be kept cold.

With spring I will enlarge the garden, already had the seeds and plants chosen so it’s not something I will change.  I will eat plenty of fresh, homegrown food and supplement at the farmers market when they open.

Finally, I will purchase the freezer I have been wanting when the temperatures warm up (even if I have to resort to purchasing it new) to put up food.  I’ve actually been thinking of getting rid of the fridge when I purchase the freezer to trade off the electrical usage.  When I cook, things like soups, I make more than one meal.  The extras could be kept frozen and taken out in portion sized packages. Currently, I have to eat the same thing over and over until it’s gone as I have no way of freezing things.  The only thing that I considered a problem would be the yogurt I purchase for the little ones, but I could freeze that and let them eat it frozen or thaw it some before giving it to them.

So my only question now is…..what do I do with a worthless, unrepairable fridge?  Suggestions….anyone?





  1. My nan only had a fridge for the last couple of years of her life, and I think that was more to help my mum keep her stocked up on perishables when she was too infirm to shop for herself. She did however have a pantry and her house was a tiny cottage without central heating, so I suppose cooler than we’re used to. But this ‘no fridge’ idea is very interesting – I’ll be watching to see how you get on.


    • Thanks Anny, I have always expected to have a fridge,as I grew up with it being the norm. But I do recall the stories of how my grandparents grew up without one, of course they had outhouses too 🙂 I’m thankful today that this happened during the colder months to allow me the transition period of having the option of a cold box outside.


    • I think this is the worst trend we have created, as it helps that mindset to not think about the life-cycle of our things. I never got used to a microwave, the first time I had an opportunity to use one I was 22, I thought food tasted horrible coming out of it.


  2. No suggestions for a use of the broken fridge. I guess you could maybe use it as an ice chest and keep it filled with ice from your new freezer to keep a few things cold in the house rather than frozen outside where conditions may not constant.

    Guess I am too ingrained in the current century to consider going without a refrigerator – even a small one would be better than needing to keep the ice made for a cooler every day.

    I do have a guy friend who lived without a fridge for years. He is a bachelor. He just didn’t eat anything that needed to be kept cold. But he ate most of his meals out so I don’t think he saved much money nor do I think he ate well. I guess you could try deleting things from your diet that would need refrigeration.

    I guess the no fridge idea can be done if you manipulate the situation (an “ice box” or refrigerator is a fairly new idea in the scope of history,) but a small fridge (even if it can’t be fixed) is a small concession to eating healthy and keeping time free for other worthwhile things. But the experiment would be interesting.

    Interested in seeing where you go with this.


    • Ah yes, the bachelor. My ex was like that, I hadn’t realized he never learned how to cook and either ate everything out or had a girlfriend feed him.

      For my experiment without the fridge, I will be using the trunk of a car to store my food. It doesn’t go above freezing here right now, so that will keep it safe from the critters. I may eat even better once I have the freezer because it will allow me more variety in my diet during a week.

      I’m not going to bother purchasing or trying to store ice, it just doesn’t make sense to me right now, but I may rethink that at some point.

      I hadn’t realized how many people would be interested in hearing about my experiment without a fridge, I will have to post periodic updates to let everyone know how it’s working.


  3. I think we’re all interested in the idea of living with no fridge. Of course, you’ll do it safely. Don’t want to read about a stomach upset you’ve had. Also, when you store things outside, don’t forget about the critters. They are very clever about getting at food. I’ve stored a few things outside and know this is true.


    • Don’t I know it about the critters! I will be storing my food in a trunk of a car, that’s just sitting here for winter. I will be careful about the food I choose to store. I am a vegetarian, but I think this experiment will be best done as a vegan 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on how this works out.


  4. You could take all the wiring and such off the back of it, cover it with fabric, and let the kids use it as a toy cupboard. You could lay it on its back so it opens up like a treasure chest, or keep it upright. Maybe take the door off and make a bookshelf out of it. I’m really stretching there. 😦 Sorry your fridge broke!


    • Those ideas made me laugh. I actually stopped and thought about letting the kids play with it from your suggestions, but I don’t think I want it in here, what space I have could be used better in other ways. I did think about taking the door off and setting it out in the field as a planter, but I’m afraid my landlord would blow his stack. He’s been wonderful about letting me take over the field and do what I want, but I don’t want to push it.


    • Thank you Betty. I can’t believe they make these fridges as disposable. I was even told by someone I called that I was lucky as many of these fridges don’t last beyond a years worth of use. I was dumbfounded.


    • Hi, Tessa and thanks for the link. I used to follow Tammy at Rowdy Kittens, but haven’t for a couple months as the direction of the blog wasn’t pertinent to my life. I will check out her link for more ideas for meals.


  5. Now this is an interesting idea. Going without a fridge. But, as you said, people used to all the time. I will be following your journey of life without a fridge Lois. I find it fascinating. As for ideas, I’m out of them. It is dangerous I know to leave a door on a fridge for little ones to play in. I don’t think your landlord would appreciate a fridge in his field. haha. Good luck my friend!


    • I went without a fridge for a couple weeks when I first moved in here, it was summer and I had never tried it before, of course the experiment was hampered by not having a stove for the first time either. Being cold out will give me some leeway to transition and see what works and doesn’t. Ya, I’m convinced that’s where my landlord would draw the line! You have no idea the number of ways I had come up with to use it out there. Storing tools, extra seating, cooler, planter….


  6. First of all… OY VAY!!!! That totally sounds like something I would do! You have my condolences for the death of your fridge.

    Have you read No Impact Man? They went through all sorts of gyrations trying to live without a fridge, and finally ended up with a cooler and ice filched from the neighbors. But I think if you had a freezer it would be easier. You could always use ice from your freezer to keep other food cool. When I lived in Norway I spent a week at my host family’s cabin. They did everything old school up in the cabin which included no electricity – so no fridge. They had a little locking cabinet on the north side of the house that served as refrigerator – of course it was Norway, and there was about a foot of snow on the ground, so there wan’t much issue with it getting too warm!

    In terms of what to do with the dead one well… my first thought is to be sure that you don’t leave it any place where a small child or an animal could climb inside and suffocate. I believe you’re supposed to take the doors off if you trash it because of that danger.

    This one will make me sound like a crazy cat lady, but if you could remove all of the chemicals and electrical parts and basically were just left with a highly insulated box, it could be turned into a shelter for feral cats. You’d have to cut a hole in the side and put some straw in there… anyhow, maybe there’s a feral cat organization in the area that could use it. Crazy thought I know but I can’t help myself.

    My other stray thought is that back when I was a residential adviser in college, one of my jobs was to inspect the dorms before and after all the students left. Don’t know if the students in your college town are as well off and spoiled as the kids I went to school with, but the stuff they left behind was incredible! Literally, when the school year was over I could have had about a dozen fully functional mini-refrigerators if I’d had something to do with them.


    • Glad to know I’m not the only one who would take hammer and screwdriver to a block of ice in a freezer compartment 🙂

      I have read No Impact Man, and would consider a cooler if needed. If I remember correctly their main concern was for milk for their daughter. I don’t drink milk so that’s not a problem and with no children I am freer to choose to change my diet. I did get some shopping done today, the only things I bought that I needed to keep cold were eggs and a small piece of cheese. Of course I have neighbors who would let me borrow space in their fridges but that feels wrong to me to ask them, I would rather think outside the box and do for myself.

      I would expect nothing less from you than to think of a way to help cats with the fridge. I will keep that option in mind. For now, we took the door off and not having come up with any use for it I allowed myself to be talked into tossing it in the trash. Yes, it’s law here too that the doors must be removed.

      Yes!! The college kids do toss tons of perfectly good things away. My son used to go around and pick up all the perfectly good computers, and there are still plenty of people who go around checking the garbage for things they can save in our town. Although classes just started and won’t let out till May.

      I’m not going to purchase a freezer right now, I don’t have enough to fill it which means it would really drain the electricity, so this solution will have to suffice until the weather warms and I can start filling one up. I think I’m going to feel downright spoiled when I do purchase one, after only one day of going outside in the cold to take food out or bring it back in for a meal it’s going to be a luxury to simply open the freezer for food without freezing my entire body to do so!


  7. It seems like nothing is made to be repaired anymore! The appliance repairman once tried to talk me out of having him repair my range. He said it was almost as much to do the repair as to get a new one. But it would make more trash! ( and it could be fixed, in my case). I second or third the FreeCycle idea. Sometimes I just don’t have brain power or the space to do all the up cycling I would like to do. Thank goodness other people have big garages to putter in!
    I am making plans ( long term) to redesign my kitchen. I was thinking of getting a tiny fridge and a big freezer. But that would be a poor design for resale.


    • Good for you! It’s amazing how many people just think it’s easier to toss something that could be repaired and purchase new without ever thinking of where “away” is and making a better environmental choice.

      FreeCycle is the best option out there, I’m listing it for parts/salvage materials.

      It’s horrible that we now are at a point where we have to think about resale value before we do anything to make our homes fit our needs. My grandfather towards the end needed a better way of caring for my grandmother, he wanted to knock out the wall between two bedrooms and add an open bathroom to the enlarged bedroom with a half wall dividing the toilet from the sleeping area to be able to keep my grandmother home, but knew it would destroy the resale value. I told him to go for it, the only people who were going to be affected by his decision were those in the will who would get the proceeds from the sale. He took my advice and had the changes made. It was done very nicely and he was happy with it. In the end it only affected the sale price by $20,000. I know that’s a lot, but it was worth their comfort.

      If you want to change your kitchen, maybe you could have it designed in such a way that should you want to sell it you would have the space to change the appliances without losing the resale value?


  8. How about converting your broken refrigerator into an ice box ( I’ve used an ice box before and they work well. Just get a tray which can be placed towards the top of the refrigerator and fill it will ice. Another idea might be to take the doors off and turn it into a planter … I’ve heard of people doing it but haven’t actually ever seen one. I think Freecycle has already been mentioned … maybe someone likes to fix them as a hobby. Can’t wait to see what you end up doing! 🙂


    • My first thought was to turn it into a planter box for the field. I was thinking it would be a great way to contain mint as that tends to overtake everything around it. I don’t think I could get away with doing that here, but I plan on asking around and seeing if I can find someone who owns their own property and would like to use it. Thanks for the ideas.


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