Try giving your refrigerator a facelift

My refrigerator is not magnetic. I have no idea what the previous owners of my house did to it to make it that way, but that is its fate. I learned this the hard way, too, sticking magnet after magnet onto it and watching them fall to the floor. I was mesmerized. How could a magnet not stick to the refrigerator? What kind of a person would want a non-magnetic refrigerator?

Now that I’ve been in my house for many years, I’ve come to appreciate the refrigerator and its plain front. Most notably, I value it because there isn’t any clutter on it — no softball schedules from last season, no warped photos, no magnets with unknown real estate agents’ faces staring back at me. Its clean front actually helps to keep my stress level at bay when I’m in the kitchen. The previous owners of my home were more wise than I had given them credit.

If someone would have ever suggested that I could live without magnets on my refrigerator, I would have thought them batty. So, I will not be surprised if in the comments section people write about my sanity (or, rather, lack of sanity). I am making that very suggestion to you, though. Try clearing off the front of your refrigerator and develop other, less cluttered alternatives to distributing information in your home.

If you must use the front of your refrigerator for this purpose, then use something like a perpetual dry-erase calendar hung with Command poster strips. Command also makes refrigerator clips specially designed for hanging papers (like children’s artwork). These could also be used on other kitchen surfaces such as hanging a recipe on a ceramic tile backsplash. Lulalu makes a weekly calendar pad block that cling sticks to smooth surfaces such as stainless steel fridges, mirrors, and school lockers. Also, you could buy a few easy-change artwork frames and swap out your children’s artwork and well-executed homework on your wall instead of on your refrigerator. Honor their good work instead of losing it in a mish-mash of refrigerator madness. Give a magnet-free refrigerator a try and see how it improves the feel of your kitchen.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

23 Comments for “Try giving your refrigerator a facelift”

  1. posted by kris on

    Ours is magnetic but I arrange it purposefully and cleanly, if that makes sense. Matching magnets, things lined up neatly, etc. Makes all the difference if you are going to use the fridge as a bulletin board.

  2. posted by Anne K. on

    Is it a stainless steel or aluminium fridge?These metals are not magnetic, so you cannot stick magnets to it.

  3. posted by skyler on

    I have one magnet on my fridge. I don’t use it to hold papers. It is a lovely green metal watering can shape. It says: “Make Life Beautiful”. It is so positive that it makes me feel good every time I look at it.

  4. posted by Michael Clark on

    I always cut off the realtor information from the magnets I get, and just use the calendar portion. I think that advertising is one of the largest sources of clutter in the world.

  5. posted by Scott Leak on

    We have about a hundred magnets on our fridge. No information (except for the narrow grocery list), just small souvenirs from all of the places we’ve visited; between us, over 60 different countries and lots of places in the U.S. either on vacation or business travel. Magnets as souvenirs take up less space in luggage (and in the house), and are really cheap.

  6. posted by DRC on

    Krylon makes a magnetic spray paint. Never used it, can’t comment on its ability to hold heavy stuff.

  7. posted by Charlotte on

    I love my clean fridge — my old roommate (my brother) stuck every last thing on the fridge — photos, magnets, Dear Abby columns he liked and so when I moved 5 years ago, I cleared the fridge. It’s clean. It’s white. There’s nothing on it. It’s lovely.

  8. posted by disconnect on

    We cleaned off the magnets a few years back and put them on the wall. I mounted a thin piece of steel (about 2’x4′) on the wall next to the back door and painted it copper (wall color is green, countertop is a “rust” pattern). The fridge stays nice and clean and we get to display our magnets. Of course, it’s still clutter-ish, so we’ve started tossing the old faded ones to keep a nice amount of copper showing.

  9. posted by Stimey on

    I used to have a million and six magnets on my fridge. One day less than a year ago I removed most of them. It is amazing how much cleaner my kitchen looked after that one act. In fact, it’s probably time to do it again.

  10. posted by Stimey on

    I used to have a million and six magnets on my fridge. One day less than a year ago I removed most of them. It is amazing how much cleaner my kitchen looked after that one act. In fact, it’s probably time to do it again.

  11. posted by Lilly on

    I am getting rid of the marketing magnets and I am replacing them with nice things I want to look at. I took the small thumbnail images from the back page of an old calendar and used magnet paper to back them. Now I have cool pictures I want to look at between the grocery list and garbage/recycling schedule.

  12. posted by Zora on

    I have seven neatly arranged (by size!) items on my refrigerator, held up by heavy-duty magnet clips that I purchased at an office store. All the clips match. It might be nicer to have a bare refrigerator but … in a small condo, I don’t have the wall space for a bulletin board. A refrigerator bulletin board makes sense for me.

  13. posted by Louise on

    Our fridge isn’t magnetic, either. In fact, the only magnetic surface in our entire kitchen is the side of the microwave. That is where we put photos of friends and family. The photos completely cover the space and are held up with small, almost invisible magnets. Instead of being visual clutter, the photos form a type of memory collage that is very artistic.

    I think what makes most fridges looked clutter is the lack of organization. A photo here, a grocery list there, an ancient newsletter.

  14. posted by Barbara on

    Our new house came with a subzero stainless steel fridge – it is non-magnetic and i LOVE it. At first I thought I couldn’t live w/out pics on the fridge but it’s so fresh and clean – dreamy! Now, I have pics taped to the side of the fridge where I can see while cooking but they don’t invade the space of the whole kitchen – perfect!

  15. posted by Barbara Olson on

    I cleared all our magnets and stuff off a few years ago and never looked back. It looks so much cleaner and neater. Now, I only have three things on the fridge out of sight: a timer (it travels around with me), a bottle/can opener and a measurement conversion chart. Everything else was sent to live on the side of my hubby’s filing cabinet in his office if he wanted to keep it.

  16. posted by Alice on

    I’ve had a bare refrigerator since I got a wood paneled frig in a remodel about 10 years ago. I like the clean lines and simplicity of appliances which disappear into the cabinetry. I must, however, admit we do have 1 rather large Disney castle magnet on the door of the oven which I can mostly ignore. 🙂

  17. posted by Char on

    We also have a wood paneled fridge so it is not magnetic. I’m glad. Any kitchen looks much cleaner and neater without stuff plastered to the fridge door. The door from our laundry area to the garage is metal (it is a fire door) so we use that door to post shopping lists, etc. The only time you see it is when you are heading to the car, and frankly, that is the only time i NEED to see it.

  18. posted by Laura on

    My fridge isn’t magnetic either, but I do like to post little mementos on the wall, so I bought the Everyday Display Frame ( which is magnetic and has little clothes pins to and magnets to post things. Very cool. I also stick to putting special items on here (pictures, ticket stubs, etc) so that I don’t accumulate useless stuff, and my fridge stays beautifully clutter free. I love it!

  19. posted by PB on

    Oh I cleared mine off years ago after I got sick of stuff flapping every time I opened the damn thing. Haven’t looked back since…

  20. posted by Ethel on

    We can never keep a hold of the magnets so we can stick things on the fridge. We’re so cluttered we’re inadvertantly uncluttered? Personally, I like the idea of concentrating sentimental clutter on the fridge for a couple weeks before the save / recycle decision is made, so that you know that the stuff you are saving is stuff you really loved, whether it is chldren’s drawings or photos where digital just isn’t good enough. We currently don’t have that much sentimental clutter filtering through, but I think our fridge will start being used when our kids get old enough to color pictures for us.

  21. posted by angie on

    We used to have lots on our old white fridge. When it broke we replaced it with stainless steel and its door is now clean. I did manage to stick some magnets on the side but the surface area is not that big. Now I have another problem. What to do with the whole box of magnets, frames, and pictures we accumulated on our old fridge door?

  22. posted by E.T. on

    I have only one magnet on the front of my refrigerator – it says “Eat Dessert First”. I don’t attach any papers to it. It thrills my grandson and makes me happy too. On one side of the “fridge” I also have a couple of additional cute corkboard magnets ( I don’t have anything on them permanently). I will occasionally pin something there temporarily (a list or a recipe). But nothing gets to stay around for long in that spot.

  23. posted by Lisa on

    I like fridge magnets, but I don’t like alot of flapping papers. My husband HATES them, so I only keep a couple of flat sheet type magnets that were on my Mama’s fridge when she passed away and a couple bigger ones to hold the occasional note. All my others are awaiting a decision…I have the same issue as @angie…what to do with them, especially since I want to keep them.

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