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repurposing fridge "can dispensers"?

I've been looking for a very small fridge for a small apartment, and all of them now seem to have "can dispensers" in the door. I don't drink cans of fizzy drink or beer (what beer I do buy for beer-loving friends comes in bottles) and it is absurd to waste so much space in a very small, energy miserly fridge.

Are there any other ways to use this thing?

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  1. I've never seen a fridge with a can dispenser, these smaller fridges you look at must bwe "college friendly". =)

    1. I'm not sure what this looks like if it's in the door - but my full-sized fridge has a can dispenser, (not in the door) two rows, side by side, and usually use it to store cartons of eggs, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: flourgirl

        sounds like I have a similar dispenser in my regular fridge - 2 rows side by side. I use one side for cans and the other side for a carton of eggs, or tall thinner bottles like wine.

        I think I could actually remove the can dispenser but it's actually turned out to be handy in my case. Maybe look closely and see if they're removable in models you're looking at.

        1. I have a small reefer in a beach house with what I think you mean. It's a vertical chute on the inside of the door that holds 5-6 12-oz cans in a horizontal position. You pull the bottom can out and the others drop down. Is that right? I think this feature predominates in the newer models that do not have a freezer section.

          If it's like mine, these things are pretty single-purpose--the plastic door liner is formed in a way awkward for anything else. The best suggestion I can give you is use it for 12-oz cans of other things, e.g., tomato juice, iced tea, mixers, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Yes, but I've also seen them in small fridges with a separate freezer section (two doors). I don't drink tinned iced tea or mixers, and tend to buy slightly larger tomato juice cans or tetrapaks if I do buy that. Tea for me has to be made from scratch! I just don't want any wasted space in such a small appliance. It looks like very bad design to me, as not everyone drinks cans of soft drink or beer. If there is beer in my fridge, it is bottled local craft beer. And those bottles wouldn't fit.

          2. I feel your pain -- I had the same problem when looking for a new refrigerator for my tiny Manhattan galley kitchen. It's a rental, but my landlord let me choose, thankfully. We ended up with a Whirlpool from PC Richard -- it was the only refrigerator that fit the space (24" wide by 60" high) that did NOT come with that can dispenser. (And yes, there's a separate freezer door on top.) If that's the right size for you, check it out. I'm pretty sure this is it, but of course you should look in person: http://www.pcrichard.com/catalog/prod...

            Hope you find something that works -- or that you come up with an inventive use for those ridiculous can dispensers!

            4 Replies
            1. re: herring

              Thanks herring. Up here in Montréal, many if not most tenants are expected to buy or move their own fridge or stove (I live in a housing co-op). There are so many useless "features" now. Yes, that would be about the ideal size for me. I don't have a galley kitchen, but don't want to take up much space in my kitchen/dining room with the small amount of food for one person and sometime guests.

              1. re: lagatta

                I totally understand. That's why I was so frustrated when I was initially shopping -- my space is so limited to begin with and I'm forced to have this small refrigerator, I *really* didn't want to "give up" all that space for cans of stuff I don't drink! I've been very happy with the Whirlpool, so hopefully that will work for you, too. Good luck!

                1. re: herring

                  Thanks! Come visit us at the Québec board -my friends in NYC are always happy to do a food crawl up here.

            2. I use the juice-can dispenser in my freezer to store butter (buy a lot when on sale), it's the perfect size! (I assume your can dispenser could be the same size)...

              1 Reply
              1. re: AnchovyBourdain

                Yes, but it isn't in the freezer, and I wouldn't store a huge amount of non-frozen butter, you little fishy nymph you!

                I'm sure it is useful tor other things though. Imagination?

              2. Did you ever find a purpose for the can dispenser? I just bought a mini-fridge and it came with one (vertical chute).

                2 Replies
                1. re: gaucholoco

                  Thanks for renewing this topic. I have the same problem. The bread idea is good, but I don't eat a lot of bread.

                  1. re: gaucholoco

                    No, I'm still trying to find a small fridge (with a separate small freezer) without such a thing.

                    I don't eat a great deal of bread, and what bread I do eat is not oblong, sliced bread.

                  2. Would mason jars or yogurt cups fit?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: seamunky

                      I think 500ml mason jars would fit, but sideways. That is fine if you are talking about things that are actually sealed (as in home canning) but I'd be afraid they would leak if just used as food storage, which I do a lot, with those plastic lids designed for that purpose.

                      Of course the problem is that "family-sized" fridges are still very dominant in North America, though they are too large for many single-person households, or even couples who shop several times a week, as I do. If I had one, it would look practically empty, and waste a lot of energy as well as looking more than a bit sad, and wasting valuable space.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I have no problems with sauces and liquids spilling but then again I use the metal lids designed for canning (but just for storage, not canning).

                        Maybe you can use that area to store long oblong vegetables that wouldn't otherwise fit in a small fridge horizontally. You can store your carrots/celery/cucumbers vertically. Or for summer sausage/salami. Ooh, if you have it pre-sliced and put in a Pringles can, you can make a salami dispenser and remove slices from the bottom. :)

                        Or just concede defeat to the cans and buy a dedicated can fridge. No can dispenser on an all-can fridge - just pure shelf space!


                        1. re: lagatta

                          I have tried Mason jars and had a bad 'crash' and lost a few good chutneys. they fit but are dangerous.

                          1. re: lagatta

                            I have tried Mason jars and had a bad 'crash' and lost a few good chutneys. They fit but are dangerous.

                            1. re: PemaD

                              Yes, they didn't work for me. You are unlucky to have lost them, as usually Mason jars are pretty strong.

                              I hate that wasted space!