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I’m always running out of fridge space but my kitchen is too small to fit a bigger refrigerator. I’m constantly throwing out spoiled food and entertaining is a nightmare. Sound like a familiar problem?

There are few things more annoying in the kitchen than cramming food into the refrigerator only to have it jump out at you later when trying to find something. And packing a fridge to the gills is not good for its efficiency or your food.

Luckily there are lots of ways to address this problem that don’t require an expensive kitchen remodel to accommodate a larger refrigerator.

First Clean Your Fridge

Before you consider doing anything else, I want you to clean your refrigerator. Not just spray down the outside and the handles (though I encourage doing that regularly) but really get in there and ruthlessly clear it out. That expired bottle of ketchup on the door? Toss it. Those leftover meatballs stuffed all the way in the back you don’t remember cooking? Throw them out.

It’s amazing how much stuff can accumulate in our refrigerators after only a few weeks. Now that you’ve cleared yours out go ahead and wipe down the shelves and drawers. Clean shelves let more light through which helps make the space seem larger.

Does your refrigerator feel bigger now? It should. Maybe a good cleaning was all you needed to fix your problem but let’s go ahead and assume it wasn’t. Here are some additional steps you can take to increase the fridge space in your little kitchen.

The Budget Friendly Option – Change Your Shopping Habits

Buy less food more often. More frequent trips to the grocery store let you get away with buying fewer perishable items meaning you won’t have to pack your fridge so much. However this gets a little tough if you live far away from the grocery store or have kids and/or a busy schedule.

Something else you could try is buying less food that requires refrigeration. A surprising number of fruits, vegetables, and miscellaneous items don’t actually need to be stored in the fridge though many people continue to do so out of habit. Check out this list to see if youre guilty of storing any of these in your refrigerator unnecessarily.

Have some money you can throw at this problem? Excellent, I’ve got two more ideas for you.

Buy a second refrigerator and put it somewhere else in your home

Everyone I know who enjoys hosting large parties has a second refrigerator, usually in their basement or garage. If that’s an option for you then I highly recommend it. We recently bought a larger refrigerator with the intention of selling the old one but ended up holding on to it. For someone who loves to entertain as much as I do, I don’t know why it took me so long to hop on the two fridge band wagon. Holidays are a breeze now and we always have space to chill a bottle of wine.

Don’t love the idea of climbing stairs frequently to use your second fridge?

Buy an all fridge refrigerator for the kitchen and put a chest freezer somewhere else in your home

Did I mention that our new, larger refrigerator doesn’t actually have a freezer? We nearly doubled our fridge space despite having one of the smallest fridge cutouts known to man thanks to our new 17.0 Cubic Feet Insignia Upright Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator.

I was worried we’d miss having a freezer in the kitchen but so far it hasn’t been an issue. If you’re someone who buys a lot of fresh produce and doesn’t care about having ice in your drink, then this setup would work well for you.

And somewhat surprisingly, buying two smaller appliances (a freezerless refrigerator and chest freezer) turned out to be less expensive than purchasing a giant two-in-one refrigerator/freezer combo (which wouldn’t fit in our small kitchen anyway).

More Tips for Small Kitchens

Odds are if you’re wrestling with how to maximize fridge space you’re likely dealing with other small kitchen challenges. Here’s a list of helpful tips for optimizing small cooking spaces from Make sure you check out #6!

What Are Your thoughts?

Is having too little fridge space in a small kitchen something that you struggle with? Have you had success with any of these solutions? Other readers and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!