dorm room fridge for back to school

Most dorm rooms don’t have full-sized refrigerators and most university students don’t have family-sized grocery budgets. That means you’ll have to get really creative with what you buy when you shop for groceries and even more creative with how you place your perishable food in your dorm room fridge. Whether you’re sharing your fridge with a friend or you’ve got the entire space to yourself, here’s the best way to stock your dorm room refrigerator.

What type of dorm room fridge to buy

Most dorm rooms are usually one small room, and you’ll have a bed, dresser, closet, and bathroom all in that tiny area. You’ll need to make the most of what you bring in, so you’ll want to choose a dorm room fridge that’s roomy inside but still small enough to fit your space. There are a variety of different fridges you can choose including retro models in cool colours like red, pink, or blue. You can also choose dorm room fridges with a small freezer on top so you can store ice cream or other frozen treats.

If you’re sharing your fridge with a roommate, you may want to choose one that’s slightly larger or one that has removable shelves or dividers so you can divide the space equally.

Stock your dorm room fridge with the food you’ll enjoy

mini fridge for back to school

I remember the first time I bought groceries for myself. It was so much fun picking out my own food and planning what I was going to eat and choosing my own snacks. The only problem was that I didn’t know what would fit in my small fridge and what wouldn’t, so I wasted a lot of food. When you’re a student, wasted food means wasted money, and I learnt quickly what I could fit inside my fridge and what I couldn’t. I started to take stock of what I wanted to eat before I shopped, and because space was always an issue I stuck to the popular food items most students will put in their fridge.

  • Frozen meals – If your fridge has a tiny freezer, you’ll be able to fit in a few frozen rice bowls or ice-cold snacks
  • Sandwich meat: If you love sandwiches, you’ll want to pick up some sandwich fillers like roast beef, turkey, and veggies
  • Cheese – There are a lot of different kinds of cheese, from dairy-free, cheese slices, cheese sticks, or shredded cheese
  • Fruit – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, especially when you’re in college and everything is stressful
  • Yogurt – Probiotic yogurt sprinkled with a bit of granola will keep the late-night munchies at bay
  • Eggs – If you have a griddle or microwave in your room you can whip up a quick meal of scrambled eggs
  • Condiments – Ketchup, mustard, and mayo all make for a well-stocked dorm room fridge
  • Milk – If your go-to snack is cereal, you’ll need to have a small jug of milk on hand at all times
  • Beverages – Juice, water, and a cold brew bottle of coffee are handy to have in your dorm

Organizing your dorm room refrigerator

dorm room mini fridge

Once you’ve picked up your groceries you’ll want to put them away in your refrigerator, and this is where organizing your dorm room fridge is a smart idea. Here are a few tips for organizing what you put into your fridge.

Sandwich meat and cheese

Most dorm room fridges don’t have a deli drawer like a larger refrigerator, but you can create your own drawer with a small plastic basket. Keeping your sandwich meat and small condiments like mustard and mayo in a basket means they don’t get buried and they’re accessible when you need them. You can put your cheese sticks, shredded cheese, and cheese slices in your ‘deli drawer’ with your sandwich meat.


You can save money if you buy a flat of water instead of single bottles, but you can’t keep an entire flat of water in a dorm room fridge or you won’t have room for anything else. Take one or two bottles to keep cold and put the rest of the flat in your closet or under your bed. You can put a 1-litre jug of milk on the side of the fridge, add a bottle of juice and a bottle of water and you’ll still have room to spare.


Not all fruit needs to be refrigerated. You can place a basket on the main rack of your refrigerator and use it to hold any fruit that needs to be kept cold like strawberries, grapes, and oranges. Cold fruit is a great quick snack.


Small bottles and containers are the name of the game when you have a dorm room refrigerator. You’ll want to make sure your ketchup and other condiments are small enough to slide on the side of your mini-fridge. You can also choose larger size condiments and split them up between yourself and your roommates or a friend in another dorm room.

Save a spot for leftovers

Most university students eat out a lot, so you’ll want a spot in your refrigerator for take-out meals and leftovers. These can make a great mid-day meal when you’re studying and since you’ve already paid for the food, you don’t have to spend more money for another meal.

More tips to organize your dorm room fridge

cute mini fridge for dorm

Labels make it easy to separate food – Whether you have a roommate or leftovers stored in food storage containers, you can use labels to split up your food or let you see what’s inside the container at a glance.

Consider adding an extra shelf – You can choose a small fridge with an extra shelf or add a rack to your fridge. Although that will decrease your vertical space, it will give you more room to store items inside.

Cardboard six-pack containers help you organize – Some dorm room refrigerators will have a wide enough side compartment to hold a six-pack of drinks. If you leave a few six-pack holders in the fridge you can use them to hold drinks, condiments, and more.

Binder clips for the win – You can use binder clips to hold bags of frozen fruit and vegetables to your freezer rack so you can place more items on the shelf.

How do you organize your dorm room fridge?

A dorm room fridge may be small, but that doesn’t have to mean you have to be short on storage space. Once you’ve got your refrigerator set up with these organizing tips, you’ll never have to worry about digging for food or having to cram everything inside again. Check out everything Best Buy has for your dorm room and back to school and you’ll be set up for another successful school year.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag