The refrigerator not just for storing food

I was talking on the phone to someone the other day, making a request for a phone number.

The person on the other end didn’t hesitate to offer assistance.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “It’s on my refrigerator.”

And that got me thinking, once I realized the number I was about to get wasn’t coming from a contact list in a cell phone or even a good old-fashioned personal phone book.

It was coming after consultation with a refrigerator of all things, from behind a magnet no doubt, where it likely had plenty of company.

Why we put as much stuff on the outside of our refrigerator sometimes as we do on the inside is a mystery, or maybe not.

I am oh so guilty of this, your honor, considering all the magnets that have amassed on the front and sides of our Frigidaire. And all of these magnets are holding pictures, reminder notes, mini-calendars, words of inspiration, Bible verses, recipes yet to be tested, you name it.

All of this is competing for space and acknowledgment.

But I wonder how this practice came to be so commonplace for so many of us.

Who came up with the idea to make the refrigerator not only the heart of the kitchen and a fort of food but the showcase of so much stuff, too?

My theory, I’ve decided, is pretty simple: At some point, someone decided a refrigerator was a good place to smack a magnet, and hey, stick something behind it to get a point across.

You know what they say — if you want to get someone’s attention, whisper — or, better yet, put something on the refrigerator behind a magnet since that’s where everyone will be sooner than later, and for many moments and many times during the course of any given day.

We open the refrigerator to see what’s inside after we read the front of it, check out all the family photos and school pictures and admire all the many magnets.

If I’m in a kitchen, especially someone else’s, I guarantee you that I’m not just standing around eating, I’m looking at what’s on the refrigerator.

I read more refrigerators, minds and faces than I do books.

Now ours is a hodgepodge of things on our refrigerator, including coffee-related magnets since the kitchen is decorated in honor of my beverage of choice.

One magnet reads “I only need coffee on days ending with the letter ‘y.'” Another advocates that “Decaf is not an option.” Or how about “Coffee … because adulting is hard.”

I’m not sure why, but there’s a magnet listing liquid and dry measures. And if it’s an indicator of how often things gets updated, one magnet is from St. John Medical Center, Steubenville, Ohio.

Naturally a refrigerator front has your kids’ kindergarten pictures on there even though they’re well past their 10-year high school class reunion.

And naturally, there are many magnets with “emergency” numbers on them — i.e., the pizza shop.

Some magnets are reminders of vacation spots visited. Others promote a concept or understanding — “The views expressed by the husband are not necessarily those of the management.”

The refrigerator is a fine spot to stay full of food and full of good information, too.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at