living without a fridge

Now our kitchens not the most conventional, no fitted cupboards, worktop and a 1950’s hygena sink but there’s a washing machine and a cooker- which has seen a fair few Christmas dinners but still works fine- but there is one thing that induces the ‘visitors twirl’ in any guest trying to make a brew.
“where’s the fridge”
they exclaim as they whirl round and round, their eyes searching for that familiar wintry wardrobe. I have to explain, as they continue to search fruitlessly behind doors and once outside! that
“we don’t have a fridge.”

When this house was built in the mid 1920’s a fridge would have been a luxury and not one which probably the previous owners could have afforded. A tin or ceramic lined cupboard would have been as close as they came to one. Eggs, cooked meat and milk would have been kept here or in the built in pantry, which is nothing more than a cupboard under the stairs.

When I was a child not so many years ago, most things that now my mother and grandparents put in the fridge would have been kept in the pantry. I can remember that milk was always left out near the kettle, a one pint bottle brought every morning by the cheerful milkman- he really was. Cheese was kept in a tuppawear container or under a special cheese dish and veg was always in a basket in the pantry. The only things that I remember that were kept in the fridge were yogurt and anything that had been cooked- leftovers.

We never even had a freezer but as the years went on my parents bought into the domestic bliss that was a fridge freezer, micro wave, electric mixers and washer dryers. The pantry went the same way as the meat slicer, removed and replaced and since then everything from bread to butter, cakes to carrots are confined together in the whirring cabinet of chills.

Before I go any further, I’m not a hippy or bonkers, no comments please. One reason we have no fridge is that the thought of stepping into an electrical appliances showroom fills me with the same fear that i get on the way to the dentist. It had been in the back of mind for a while, what would life be like without such a familiar kitchen appliance? It is one of the kitchen trinity, sink, cooker and fridge after all.

To be honest we just got on with it, yes we may go shopping a few more times a week and never have ice cream anymore but we live in the city, a shop is never far away and I’ve long since given up eating such cheap dairy excuses for the real thing. Goats milk lives near the kettle and lasts as long as we need it, cheese is kept in a metal lunch box in the pantry and is always stone cold, vegetables live in a wicker basket and I admit broccoli only lasts a few days but it also gets eaten in a few days.

I can honestly say there is only a few times I miss it, one is holidays such as Christmas when the shops are closed for a few days and it would be nice to stock up. I don’t want it to sound like we do without, our life remains pretty much the same, we eat what we like, I still buy meat and fish, I just eat it fresh rather than freeze it and forget about it. Fish is never as good once frozen. When we’ve cooked meat and have leftovers they are used the next day.

What Ive noticed is that we eat better our food is fresher and we’ve given up processed food. People still say you’ll need one when….but we’ve not yet. Yes when we have a glut of peas or beans they’ll have to be eaten straight away but it hardly warrants a whole freezer.

That brings me on to cost, you could get a fridge freezer for £300 with an eco one at £600+ then there’s extra warranty, and the cost of running it. Now I’ve not worked it out but we only use around £4 a week on electric, thats without a TV, DVD and any of the other electrical bit that go with them. A fridge is always on always using electric even if your asleep, out or even on holiday, I like the thought that so often we are never using a even single watt of electricity and are at home getting on with our lives, yes that makes me feel smug.

It’s been nearly a year now, we’re not dead, were a little better off and our carbon footprints more Borrower than Bigfoot. I’m not saying everyone can do without but for a change the city dweller has the edge on the country mouse, we live near the food we eat, I can leave my milk in the shop fridge and collect it as I need it rather than buying 6 and freezing them, you can keep your fishfingers and my butter always spreads.


11 thoughts on “living without a fridge

  1. Z says:

    I’d not be that bothered about living without a freezer, but I’d hesitate to do without a fridge. I’d really have to rethink our way of life – we only use a pint of milk a day at most (nearly all of it used by my other half) but the milkman calls twice a week. Good for you.

  2. dibnah says:

    I find that our milk lasts ok out the fridge. It is goats milk don’t know if that makes a difference?

  3. alicemariearcher says:

    Its great to hear. I’m about to move to a boat – out of curiosity more than for ecological reasons, although this does present the opportunity to go ‘off grid’. I’m reassured that some of the implements I was intending to run off the 12volt (hypothetically solar charged but certainly not at the moment) may not be necessary after all. Life without a fridge? Nipping to the shop for something when I fancy it sounds rather luxurious and would probably save on some of the food waste at my place too… Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Bethany says:

    We also blog about our life on a boat! And it definitely has made us rethink the fridge. We have a refrigerator on the boat, but it is small, and we often anchor out, with no power hook-up. Living in Michigan, we winter on land, and the refrigerator has always been a thorn in my side. We heat the house, and the fridge with it, then cool the fridge. This winter, we plan to freeze ice blocks outside, then use the refrigerator as an ice box.

  5. Ember says:

    Inspired by this. Thanks :0)

  6. […] Living Without a Fridge (2011) (Folks learning to live off-grid.) […]

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  8. Maagbander says:

    I do find a fridge convenient. It simply saves time as I can do grocery shopping once a week and everything stays fresh for a week. I could probably live without one if I lived in the city, close to shops.

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  10. Charli says:


    I recently moved back into the home that I had previously rented out. My renters destroyed the refrigerator. They also did quite a number of other things to my house which has caused me to rethink the way of living that I had become accustomed to. One of them living without a fridge. We’ve found several options which are quite inexpensive, but we can’t get them moved to the house, so I’ve begun to think that just maybe I could go without indefinitely. I’ve been doing research on canning and what I can do to make this an easier transition. My boyfriend and I have been eating out quite a bit and I began to realize that maybe we don’t need to spend all that money, other than cold soda and orange juice, I can’t think of anything that I’m really missing out on by not having one. Would you happen to know of any resources I can look into to make this an easier transition?

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