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Fridge free diet, lol


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Has anyone done away with their fridge? I'm feeling like a revolutionary at the moment. Becoming vegan seems to have paved the way for me to inflict another bright idea on my long suffering hubby. We've decided we will be able to live without a fridge and are setting about eating the rest of the stuff in there that does need refrigeration while we figure out how to juggle things to do without.

Anyone else done this and wish to make inspiring comments? ;)

 

Rosie

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Lol Rosie, you go for it and let us know how it goes :)

 

We just bought an extra fridge, so , um, I guess we are not heading in the same direction :). I love having an extra fridge to store things in, but then, I have a cooking job so often have to store bulk things cold.

I guess it is mainly the raw milk/butter/cheese that we really need the fridge for (although we also store juice and vegies there)...but I am not about to go vegan, so I guess the fridge will stay.

 

How will you go in summer? This time of year I can imagine it could work well. Also, if you are short walking distance from local food supplies it could work too.

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How will you go in summer? This time of year I can imagine it could work well. Also, if you are short walking distance from local food supplies it could work too.

 

We are walking distance to the shops. While shopping with a baby and toddler isn't my idea of fun, Rich passes the supermarket on the way home from uni each day so he can stop in and buy fruit and veg as required. I could probably manage to get dry staples myself, getting in and out before Zia trashes the shop. I prefer to buy veggies organic from the wholefoods shop instead of from the supermarket, but sometimes we can't do everything and the money saved from not running the fridge will be a big help this semester. I'm looking at blogs to glean tips. A lot of it won't help since it is either too cold here to need to worry, or so hot that the tips wouldn't work anyway. I'm thinking summer won't be such an issue if we shop often enough, but summer is a while away, so we'll worry about that as we get to it ;)

 

Rosie

Edited by Rosie_0801
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I haven't done it but I've seen a fair number of articles in local papers about folks who have done it. I don't see as many people with kids try (it is usually young adults), but I'm sure it is easier if you get the hang of it while your kids are little.

 

I wish I was so inspired since the world needs less energy consumption!

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OK. you have me intrigued now. I stayed with a fmaily in India- a middle class family in Delhi- and they didnt have a fridge.

I made ghee last night. Ghee is butter without the milk solids- it can sit at room temperature for weeks. I can easily eat it instead of butter.

And the raw milk I get...well, it just doesn't go "off" the same way that paseurised milk does.I reckon it could sit on the bench for a good couple of days before actually going off. Well, in winter anyway. And even when it starts to turn, it's useable, as sour milk.

So, I can see its possible Rosie and thankyou for at least getting me to think about it. I love ideas like that. We do take having a fridge for granted. But really it is a luxury item- I bet the majority of the world's population live without fridges.

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Anyone else done this and wish to make inspiring comments? ;)

 

 

Inspiring comments? It's sounds nuts!

 

Nuts, and fruit, and raw veggies, that is. A serious challenge. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

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I've stayed with people who didn't normally have a frig (we had a small one), but it did require some creativity and daily shopping. I was the one who used it the most. Methods of storing leftovers may not be what you're comfortable with. But usually leftovers were eaten the same day.

 

And it would rule out tofutti ice cream, popsicles, frozen grapes, frozen fruit, and so on! And you've got to admit ice cold watermelon and cucumbers, or a glass of something cold on a hot day are so good! And big batches of beans in the freezer, etc.

 

Maybe a mini-frig? (Warning: their freezers are generally awful.)

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Some homesteader friends of ours who nixed the fridge had a spring running down the hill behind their house, so they put a pipe in the ground to catch it, routed it into a large dishpan-like container with a roof over it to keep the sun off, and put a hole in the pan opposite the pipe entry so the container always had 40-degree spring water flowing in and out, but the pan was always 3/4 full. They stored food in there for a day or two, like the goat's milk from their goats & other things. It was a great set-up!

 

They attached a net bag with soap on it near the hole where the water came out so they always had running water in which to wash their hands.

 

Mary

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The daily shopping for produce would make me crazy.

 

Just thinking aloud:

How will you store lettuces from one day to the next?

Will you never have leftover soups or beans or rice?

Will you be content to go shopping for produce every day (or at the very least every other day)? Sure, some produce does well for a day or two on the counter (and some few things much longer than that), but what about the things that really don't do well over night without refrigeration?

Are there no condiments that you would keep in the fridge? Jam? Maple syrup? Jarred salsa? Things like tamari (or soy sauce) may or may not need to be refrigerated...

What about raw nuts and seeds that are prone to spoiling?

 

I'm not trying to say, "there's no way!" -- 'cause obviously people have survived without fridges for millennia! But I'd sure be hesitant to give it up if I didn't have to. :)

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Some homesteader friends of ours who nixed the fridge had a spring running down the hill behind their house, so they put a pipe in the ground to catch it, routed it into a large dishpan-like container with a roof over it to keep the sun off, and put a hole in the pan opposite the pipe entry so the container always had 40-degree spring water flowing in and out, but the pan was always 3/4 full. They stored food in there for a day or two, like the goat's milk from their goats & other things. It was a great set-up!

 

This makes me think of the Boxcar Children...one of my faves from childhood!

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I believe Kramer tried to go without a frig in Seinfeld. Hope you have better luck than he did. :)

 

I think in general Americans would have a difficult time doing this. We tend to shop weekly. Buy diary and meat that needs refrigerated. Most of my condiments say refrigerate after opening. Cheese, eggs, leftovers, cold drinks... just thinking of what we always have in the frig. Nope. Not likely to happen.

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I'm drawing a large and total mental blank.

 

We are vegan for over 2/3 of each year. Why would we stop using a refrigerator ? :confused: ?

 

I skimmed the blog-link, and am not persuaded. Try living in North Texas where temps well past 100 deg. F. are routine for weeks-on-end. We run the A/C, yet I can't leave anything out on the counter without mold invading in swarms.

 

We also are so overwhelmed with daily tasks, going to a grocery store requires major schedule planning, along with [auto] gas planning. No store is within walking distance. Bike transport won't work for a voracious family of 6. Farmer's markets are many miles away, and open only on Saturday mornings for the most part.

 

I'm as game as the next person for "going green", but this one isn't "coming together" for me !

 

P.S. What we did give up -- and that, involuntarily -- was an auxiliary freezer. It died several years ago, and we can't afford repairs. The freezer space in a refrigerator is comically tiny.

Edited by Orthodox6
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You lot just aren't adventurous enough, that's your trouble! ;)

 

Yeah, it gets well over 100F here too. It can get that high in this wretched house even with the air conditioner on. I'm thinking it's a matter of eating seasonally and shopping often. Dh passes the supermarket on the way home from uni, so for this year at least, it's not out of our way to pick up salad ingredients each day if necessary. I'll be able to cook different things in winter when the house is as cold as a fridge anyway. I've no intention of getting rid of the fridge. Just unplugging it. It's a useful place to keep stuff! We looked in the fridge yesterday and found we were paying to run it to keep about half a dozen things that we don't really need anyway. Maybe with the money saved I can buy more books :D

 

Carrie, there are many, many places to hide chocolate. ;)

 

Why do this? Because we can, mostly. Y'know something. I've heard of people who think other people are nuts for homeschooling :tongue_smilie: We're eating the few things that need refrigerating this week, and see how we go!

 

:)

Rosie

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I would think it would be quite a challenge, but certainly possible... for someone else but me!

 

Perhaps it's the region I live in, but I can't go more than a couple hours without iced tea, iced water or iced lemonade! My husband puts ice in a glass to drink a soda even when the soda has already been refrigerated.

 

Ice, ice, baby... :tongue_smilie:

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Ice, ice, baby... :tongue_smilie:

 

Lol, dh is like that in summer. I wouldn't be surprised if he insists on putting the fridge back on come summer. Last year he insisted he would die of heat exhaustion if he didn't have icy poles in the freezer. I've never heard of anyone dying for lack of icy poles, but I wouldn't like him to be the first, :P. Anyhow, he should be employed by summer, so it'll be him paying the bills, lol. I read on one site that earthenware keeps water cold even when it's hot outside. My brother is a ceramicist, so I might just put in a little request for Christmas...

 

Rosie

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You lot just aren't adventurous enough, that's your trouble! ;)

 

Yeah, it gets well over 100F here too. It can get that high in this wretched house even with the air conditioner on. I'm thinking it's a matter of eating seasonally and shopping often. Dh passes the supermarket on the way home from uni, so for this year at least, it's not out of our way to pick up salad ingredients each day if necessary. I'll be able to cook different things in winter when the house is as cold as a fridge anyway. I've no intention of getting rid of the fridge. Just unplugging it. It's a useful place to keep stuff! We looked in the fridge yesterday and found we were paying to run it to keep about half a dozen things that we don't really need anyway. Maybe with the money saved I can buy more books :D

 

Carrie, there are many, many places to hide chocolate. ;)

 

Why do this? Because we can, mostly. Y'know something. I've heard of people who think other people are nuts for homeschooling :tongue_smilie: We're eating the few things that need refrigerating this week, and see how we go!

 

:)

Rosie

 

Just a small word of caution - I've heard that when you unplug a fridge and leave it with the doors closed it will smell really bad after a time. Not sure why. My realtor told me to leave the doors open if we unplugged the fridge at our house we just moved from or no one will want to buy it because of the smell.

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Maybe you could just use it in the summer, then?

 

I applaud you for questioning the assumption that you MUST have a frig.

 

There is a photographer couple (Dereck and Beverly Joubert) who have been living in tents and such for decades so that they can take photos of leopards and lions, some of them for National Geographic. They love their view.

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I applaud you for questioning the assumption that you MUST have a frig.

 

There is a photographer couple (Dereck and Beverly Joubert) who have been living in tents and such for decades so that they can take photos of leopards and lions, some of them for National Geographic. They love their view.

 

:iagree: Thanks for bringing it up - I'd never have thought about going without a fridge, but I can see why and how it could be done.

 

And I love reading about people who do "unconventional" (to N. America, anyway) things!!!!

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Just a small word of caution - I've heard that when you unplug a fridge and leave it with the doors closed it will smell really bad after a time. Not sure why. My realtor told me to leave the doors open if we unplugged the fridge at our house we just moved from or no one will want to buy it because of the smell.

 

We got our refrigerator used from a family member. The fridge was unplugged for about two weeks before we got it. It had mold all over the inside. EEWW! I would make sure that you won't have the same problem before you do this.

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Rosie, I think it is great that you have come up with a creative way to reduce your expenses when needed, and really look at what is wasteful for YOU.

I could be most happy with a small fridge the size my cousins have in the UK - think larger dorm fridge here in the USA. Our full size fridge is usually quite empty, but we do use the freezers heavily. My kids love frozen grapes and we buy local beef and such, so that's all frozen. But, my mom says we eat weird - maybe that's why my fridge isn't as full as that of others.

As far as storage in the fridge - of course you'd have to clean it out real well, but it may actually help to keep the space cleaner since you won't have the cold to mask any bacteria. And since the door is meant to be air-tight, it would be wise to keep on top of fresh baking soda to keep it at it's best. If you would use it more as a pantry, consider disrupting the seal at a point by taping an object up. Doors could still close mostly, but there would be air flow as in a standard pantry!

Keep us posted, Rosie! I'd be interested to see how it goes for you. :001_smile:

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The idea is fascinating to contemplate, but it's not for us.

I was looking up charts to get an idea how much electric is used in various household appliances and found this site, http://advisor.lbl.gov/apusage.html . We have a fairly new fridge so I'd estimate it uses 12cents/day. I couldn't give up my fridge to save 12cents/day. We do use a clothesline to dry 90% of our laundry, use lower temp settings for wash when possible, double up on baking items, use microwave, wash dishes by hand, fans rather than A/C, etc.

Even if you have an older fridge it's only costing you about $10/month, is that worth going without?

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Do you have a garden. If so, no need to store salad veggies, just pick as you need. You can bottle excess produce. No need for a fridge or freezer. Does your house have a safe built in to the kitchen? Our first house in NZ had a safe in one of the kitchen cabinets. A safe is what housewives used here back in the '50s to keep some foods cool. It is build into a cabinet on the south side of the kitchen & it has screen as at the top & bottom & slats, not solid shelves. This allows for cool air to flow through & keep the cupboard cool.

 

Are you planning on storing your fridge for long? I've heard that long periods of not being used isn't good for a fridge. We have two fridges in our kitchen that are over 30 years old each. I have wondered if our power bill is so high because of the old appliances. We can't afford a new big fridge & with 3 hungry dc need the fridge space we have.

 

Blessings,

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Even if you have an older fridge it's only costing you about $10/month, is that worth going without?

 

It's not just about the electricity bill. Thinking a bit more globally, it reduces our "footprint."

 

Deb: When you said it's not good for fridges to be sitting unplugged, did you mean it's going to damage the motor or that it's going to leak icky chemical things?

 

Rosie

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but long periods of being stored somehow reduces the efficiency of the fridge. We were told it was better to use the old fridge or sell it, rather than store it. If you're not doing away with the fridge for budget reasons, how about selling the big fridge & downsizing to a bar-size fridge. Having ice on hand is good for first aid reasons & a lot of kids' medicines need to be kept in the fridge.

 

JMHO,

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Deb: When you said it's not good for fridges to be sitting unplugged, did you mean it's going to damage the motor or that it's going to leak icky chemical things?

 

Rosie

 

Maybe it has something to do with the freon not circulating, and maybe it settles somehow?

 

Are you keeping a separate freezer? I hadn't thought about ice for injuries and some meds needing refrigeration.

 

Every time I opened my fridge today, I quickly scanned to see what might not really need refrigeration, LOL! You really have me thinking!

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Funny. I was just thinking about this today.

 

I plan to go with an under-the-counter job when the boys are grown, which, sadly, is not that far off. If we were just a smidge closer to shops, we could probably go completely without. The spring set-up sounds super neato! As urban dwellers, that would not work for us, though.

 

Do let us know how it goes.

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when my fil'd fridge died a decade ago, he waited two weeks before applying the crowbar to the wallet to get another one.

In San Antonio, TX.

In the summer.

 

so yeah, it can be done pretty easily, it just takes a bit different planning than what you're used to!

 

have those chemical cold packs on hand for emergencies and the bar fridge for special medicines if you think you'd need it. We have never needed refrigerated medicines.

 

I'm not there yet [probably never, lol] but GOOD LUCK!

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Having ice on hand is good for first aid reasons & a lot of kids' medicines need to be kept in the fridge.

 

 

Hmm. Hadn't thought of that. My kids haven't got sick so far, but that doesn't mean they won't. The eldest is only 2 after all! Dh suggested a bar fridge, but I've never seen one with a good energy rating. Not that we can afford one at the moment anyway. Well, we still have the fridge. It can be turned back on if needs be :) Surely there are enough options with medicines that we could get one that didn't need refrigerating. Or maybe I'll feed them garlic with every meal and scare the germies away.

 

Rosie

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Rosie,

 

How large is your fridge? I wondered because my doctor, who is British, expressed astonishment and horror at our Jumbo Sized American refrigerators. Can you describe what would be a standard size fridge where you live?

 

N

 

I had a friends au-pair here the other day, she is from a small town in England very close to where my grandmother grew-up. She walked in the house & saw my big-ole american fridge andwas shocked, and in love in one fell swoop....

in my defense- we live very far from the nearest grocery you would *want* to eat food from; and, it is actually no bigger than a standard side-by-side, just in a different configuration so it appears to be a vault like structure.

 

 

My grandmother told me when she was growing up, they had a pantry with a huge slab of granite or marble (?) that kept food cold, but fresh for only a few days.

 

Good for you, Rosie, to try to reduce your footprint. I wish there were ways I could with out loosing my fridge or my little bit of a/c that I do get to enjoy... simply I am no more than the light switch police at times! We do try though!

 

Rosie, what else do you do to reduce your footprint & what is your husband (studying or teaching?) at the university?

RObyn

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She walked in the house & saw my big-ole american fridge andwas shocked, and in love in one fell swoop....

in my defense- we live very far from the nearest grocery you would *want* to eat food from; and, it is actually no bigger than a standard side-by-side, just in a different configuration so it appears to be a vault like structure.

My grandmother told me when she was growing up, they had a pantry with a huge slab of granite or marble (?) that kept food cold, but fresh for only a few days.

Good for you, Rosie, to try to reduce your footprint. I wish there were ways I could with out loosing my fridge or my little bit of a/c that I do get to enjoy... simply I am no more than the light switch police at times! We do try though!

Rosie, what else do you do to reduce your footprint & what is your husband (studying or teaching?) at the university?

 

Lol, dh has thrown in his "career" as an Auslan teacher to study web engineering. Very low tech, huh? Heheh. We live within walking distance to the shops, and hope that will always be the case. Can you tell me more about the marble shelf in the pantry? Or is that all there is to it? Put a block in there and put stuff on it? We are not woodsie hippies, in case I'm giving that impression. Dh won't give up the a/c and I won't give up the heater. When we buy our own house, which will be next year if things go well, we'll put effort into making the place more energy efficient so we won't need those things so much. For now, though, we live in a dodgy rented house with no insulation and those horrible lourve (spe?) windows.

 

We have a medium sized fridge which is 150cm x 50 x 50. It's a smidge too small to fit our weekly shop in, but we're doing something about that :D

 

Rosie

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Wow Rosie, you go girl!! I had missed this one until now.

 

Generally kids antibiotics which are liquid need the fridge and no they wont last if left out. We used to live 2 hours from a chemist and that was the max time they recommended to keep them out. We actually had one batch go off on a hot day and had to make a return trip for more, grrr!

 

Personally i couldn't do without a fridge of some sort. I just can not go to the shops everyday. I am 100% positive it can be done though. My Nan didn't have a proper fridge just a coolgardie safe for many years. She still shops everyday because the habit was formed.

 

Bar fridges are often not very efficient and can take more power to run than a standard so i don't think that would make good financial sense.

 

FYI - Nicole M our fridges are not huge like the American ones although you can get those here. Most of us just have a regular fridge/freezer. Fridge on the bottom, freezer on the top. Guessing because i can't find my tape 165cm tall, 60cm wide, 60cm deep. Fridge section is about 2/3 of that, freezer takes up the other 1/3. My fridge is pretty standard family size.

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Lol, dh has thrown in his "career" as an Auslan teacher to study web engineering. Very low tech, huh? Heheh. We live within walking distance to the shops, and hope that will always be the case. Can you tell me more about the marble shelf in the pantry? Or is that all there is to it? Put a block in there and put stuff on it? We are not woodsie hippies, in case I'm giving that impression. Dh won't give up the a/c and I won't give up the heater. When we buy our own house, which will be next year if things go well, we'll put effort into making the place more energy efficient so we won't need those things so much. For now, though, we live in a dodgy rented house with no insulation and those horrible lourve (spe?) windows.

 

We have a medium sized fridge which is 150cm x 50 x 50. It's a smidge too small to fit our weekly shop in, but we're doing something about that :D

 

Rosie

 

I remember her saying it was a thick slab, maybe 3 or 4 inches? I know marble holds the cold, they don;t make marble rolling pins for nothing, do they?

I bet you could find a piece of marble scrap from a stone yard (if such a thing exists in your neck of the woods).

HTH!

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You know Rosie the a/c and heater would use up heaps more power than the fridge i would think so if you really want to reduce the power bill strip off or rug up :tongue_smilie:

 

 

Yeah, but we NEED them! For now anyway :) It's hard to get about one's daily life wearing three jumpers and a coat, and besides, I need to dry my washing somehow. (Excuses, excuses) I hope to be out of here by summer, but my poor boy spent his first week of life sleeping on the couch in front of the air con, because it got to 38C in here even with the a/c on! That was a fun week to be born in and be trying to establish breastfeeding. Anyway, you can only strip off so much before you run out of things to take off...

 

It's all priorities. I know some people who don't buy books. :svengo: I'd rather do without the fridge!

 

Rosie

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I know I could live without a fridge since I've done it living while living in two other countries. But now that I'm back in the US it would be hard to not have ice in my life. I really like to drink water, especially while exercising. And the colder, the better!

 

 

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I know what you mean Rosie. DS was a Jan birth and we went home to the country in 45C outside and over 38C in the house with the air con on full blast. I am trying to be more concious of a/c & heat now we are back in the city. I am trying to think about if i really need it before switching it on, but can totally understand your position. I know i couldn't forgo the books either.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We turned finally managed to eat the perishables and turn the fridge off about a week ago.

 

Summer will be the challenge, of course, but so far it's working pretty well. I just found a nasty looking tin of beans in there. It seems dh opened them to feed the baby, but didn't think of putting the left overs in our dinner. Oh well. I'm sure we'll eliminate that sort of wastage once we are really in the habit of this. We've definately eliminated the sort of waste that comes from throwing together spaghetti instead of cooking from the menu. If you only shop every other day, you haven't much choice. You cook from the menu because there's not much else around!

 

So far, so good :)

 

Rosie- happy to report that she only needs the heater on half the day now. Yay for the slightly improved weather!

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Great news Rosie! I hope you marked it on your diary so when/if you ever turn it back on you'll know how many days/weeks/months/years since you last used it.

 

 

That's a great idea!! You can also figure out your savings with that too I guess. :) Congrats kiddo on having the guts to try it! You're much more adventurous than I am. :p

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Good for you, Rosie & Family. I hope you realize what you are after by cutting off the fridge. At first I thought what you proposed to do would be very hard. Then I got to thinking, we can go camping and live out of our ice chest for 3-4 days before replenishing food supplies. Maybe buying ice would negate what you would be saving by turning off your fridge though. It could be an option if you did need something cold for a few days. Anyway, living simply is the new simple living! Enjoy!

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