Tips For Moving a Fridge Without Crushing Yourself

How often have you been standing in front of the open refrigerator at three in the morning looking for a snack and thought: “Boy, I wish this fridge was in my bedroom?” Never? Oh, uh, me neither. Haha, what a silly thought! But if you were to move the fridge from the kitchen to another location—bedroom, front yard, storage facility—you should know that it’s just as difficult as it looks. You can mash your toes, throw your back out, smash the shelves, damage the cooling tubes, and drop it down the stairs. So I hear.

Here are a few handy tips for moving a fridge without crushing yourself. 

Tip #1: Empty out the fridge.

There’s no sense in transporting the refrigerator all the way to its new spot arm’s length from your bed and then opening the door only to find your eggs, mustard, and salsa have turned the inside into a Jackson Pollock painting. The most efficient way to empty it out is to wait until you have an emotional breakdown and then eat everything while sitting in the light of the fridge. And don’t worry—crying while doing this will burn all those calories. If you happen to be one of those rare breeds whose life is perfect and therefore emotional eating is out of the question, you can give the food away, host a dinner party or time your fridge relocation with your grocery shopping cycle.

Tip #2: Defrost the freezer.

If you are one of the five people left on this planet whose fridge does not automatically defrost, you will have to manually defrost that baby. Auto-defrost refrigerators don’t get that icy buildup that turns your freezer into a snow cave, complete with stalactites and stalagmites. To defrost your olde tyme ice box, simply unplug your fridge and wait 6-8 hours. And lay down some towels to absorb the melted ice (also known as water). And keep both doors open. Oh, and don’t chip or scrape the frost with a knife unless you want to damage the plastic and ruin the coils.

Tip #3: Tie it up.

If you’re into S&M, this step will not only be a breeze for you, but you’ve probably already got the equipment. You’ll need to get the fridge’s power cord out of the way in order not to trip on it, so wrap it up and secure it with some packing tape. Then tie the fridge and freezer doors closed by wrapping rope or several bungee cords around it, and make sure it’s tight. You can use packing or duct tape, too, but only if you don’t care about the surface of the fridge getting marred. Before doing this step, take one last look inside to make sure no children or pets are hiding out in there. (We have yet to open a fridge and find a living creature inside, but according to all refrigerator manuals, this is a serious concern.)

Tip #4: Move the fridge. 

No, we don’t mean recite heartwarming poetry to it—although feel free to do so if you like. This is the part where you actually transport this giant appliance. At this point it should already be emptied out, defrosted, and tied up. Now you’ll need a dolly, one or two big-armed men, a thick blanket, and a truck. (You and me both, honey.) Wriggle the fridge out from its nook, slide the dolly underneath, and roll that sucker out of the kitchen!

If you are, indeed, planning to relocate it to your bedroom so that you can hole up and never leave your bed ever again, your job is just about done. If you’re planning to move it to the front yard so that the value of your house plummets and your neighbors call you crazy hoarding lady, you can just push the fridge out the front door next to the empty shell of a 1969 Dodge Charger.

And if you’re planning to put this appliance into a self-storage unit, load it into your moving truck or van. It’s best to transport the fridge in an upright position so that oil doesn’t seep into the cooling tubes and damage them. If you can’t, carefully lay it on its side on a thick blanket so you don’t damage the cooling components on the back.

Tip #5: After the move….

If you’re simply moving your fridge to a new location in the same house, you’ll want to let it sit for a couple of hours before plugging it in to allow the fluids to settle back into the compressor. Then plug it in and wait for it to reach the right temperature before putting perishable food into it. This could take a few days, but considering that you just ate all the contents a few hours ago, you could probably use a 2 or 3-day fast anyway. If you’re storing the fridge, drop it off at your local self storage facility—and be sure to mumble something about “that two-timing coward got what was coming to him….”

Selena Templeton

Selena Templeton is a writer and editor who sees the world through Giggle Glass, a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display plus false nose and mustache. It reveals the absurd, amusing, and inappropriate goings on of daily life and displays it in a lap top-like hands-on format, from which she posts to various blogs such as Self Storage Finders, Romantically Challenged, and As a former professional organizer and a current Virgo, she is a self-diagnosed authority on storage, packing, organizing, and general neat freakishness.

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