What Your Refrigerator Door Says About You

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The refrigerator door can say a lot about someone’s life. What is your fridge saying about you? We (AngiesList.com) polled our members and they answered!
Forget what’s inside a refrigerator. The fridge door is the real window on what matters to many of us. This appliance is much more than a cool repository for groceries and leftovers. It’s a dynamic depository of photos, artwork, clippings and other items that show who we love, what makes us laugh and what we find to be food for thought.

The refrigerator door documents the events of a lifetime, from first-date fortune cookie messages to wedding invitations and from crayon scrawls to graduation announcements, all secured with magnets depicting where we’ve vacationed, what we collect and who we’ve hired. But the door does even more, keeping us on track with shopping lists, sports schedules and reminder Post-its.

“The refrigerator has become a primary display space in many U.S. homes. It functions as a kind of built-in bulletin board,” says Danille Elise Christensen, who teaches American Studies at Ohio State University and whose study topics include everyday forms of collage. “Like any collage, fridge door displays involve the selection and arrangement of found objects.” Christensen says. “That is, few items are created specifically for refrigerator doors except for advertising magnets, which overtly recognize the centrality of the space and the practice of attaching things to it.”

Of course, there are those who prefer a pristine refrigerator door, but a recent Angie’s List online poll shows that members who display items on fridges outnumber those who don’t by more than 2 to 1.

Displayers say their fridge doors reflect who they are. “I’m artistic, love positive sayings and pretty pictures,” says Jill McCoy, a member who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She says her refrigerator’s role has evolved. “In our earlier years the fridge was the place for leaving important messages. Everyone knew to check the fridge before leaving and again when getting home,” McCoy says. “Now, we have cell phones that do everything but brush our teeth. So the fridge has been reinvented into a mini art gallery as well as a friendly reminder of how funny life can be.”

Irene Hess, a member from Fort Mitchell, Ky., says her fridge door reflects her love of family, with photos of children and grandchildren and “college schedules of two sons to check when it’s a good time to send a text.”

Carol Libutti, a member in Lake Worth, Fla., whose fridge is bare now that her kids are grown, says she’s content to keep family photos on shelves, a calendar on her desk and service provider business cards in a drawer. Besides, she says: “I have a chrome refrigerator that’s wiped frequently. That’s a lot easier to do if nothing’s on the fridge.”

However, some people have been disappointed to learn that true stainless steel isn’t magnetic. That happened to Will Miller of Lafayette, Ind., an Angie’s List member, therapist and comic who co-wrote the book “Refrigerator Rights,” which explores how moving and media have pared how many close friends and relations can help themselves to what’s in our fridges. A recent kitchen remodeling left him with a gleaming new refrigerator that can’t hold a magnet. “I thought, ‘This sucks. You have to use tape to put things on it, and who wants to do that?’”

What Our Refrigerator Doors Says About Us:
“We’re weird and disorganized and have artistic friends.” “I have children, pets, grandchildren and save all the free magnets I get.” “We plan.” “I love flea markets and antiques.”“We’re funny.”“I teach first grade.”“I like pigs and love my grandkids.”“We’re Disney nuts.”“I’m a neatnik.” “I like hot peppers.”“We are interested in religion and pretty things.”

(Selected responses from an Angie’s List member poll)

Miller, whose book has been updated for re-release in January, says the fridge is where a household’s public face meets its inner sanctum. “The refrigerator is a signature appliance – it’s sort of public and sort of private,” he says. “You’re allowed to see what’s posted on the door, but to go inside, you’d better be a Facebook friend at least.”

Or, perhaps, a refrigerator repair pro. Steve Duncan, president of highly rated Duncan Appliance Service in Carmel, Ind., has seen the ins and outs of many a fridge. He admits to enjoying what customers stick on the doors.

“The favorite saying I ever read on a fridge was: ‘Some people are alive only because it’s illegal to kill them,’” he says, laughing. “I probably saw that 15 years ago. Something may have been going on that day that made it stick, but for some reason I can still remember it: a white paper, printed off a computer, crumpled and hanging under a magnet.”

Source: Ellen Miller, Staff Writer for Angies List