Marie Kondo Says Your Fridge Should Be 30 Percent Empty

updated Aug 6, 2019
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Credit: Courtesy of Marie Kondo

This morning, while I waited for my coffee to brew, I did a semi-serious fridge cleaning. I was away for a long weekend and sloppily left some restaurant leftovers in there to rot. There was also lots of mostly eaten containers of dip, bottles of way-too-spicy barbecue sauces, and bags of plant-based cheeses. (We do lots of the taste tests for the site from my apartment and my fridge quickly becomes a hodgepodge of randomness. If you want some dessert hummus from Aldi, let me know! I don’t toss this stuff, I just give it away to friends when I see them!)

If I had to estimate, it was about 91 to 93 percent full. And I have plans to grocery shop for the week later today, so I knew that some space had to be made.

Then, an hour or two later, in a fortunate stroke of serendipity, I saw this in an Instagram story from, the lifestyle brand from Marie Kondo.


“Don’t stuff your fridge,” it read. “Keep it about 30% empty and use the extra space for leftovers and new groceries.”

There it was! The inspiration that I needed! I had probably gotten down to about 20 percent empty, but she was right: There was not going to be enough room for me to put my new groceries unless I did a better edit. I mean, there was a container with, like, a tablespoon of whitefish salad in there. (I ate it and recycled the container. Again, waste not, want not!)

I got down to that target number, and while I do have questions about how to keep it at 30 percent if you’re consistently adding leftovers and new groceries, it does make sense when I look at the space now. And I guess, once I roast the broccoli that’s on my list, it’ll take up less space in the fridge.

Oh, and while we’re talking about this great tip, we should talk about the great photo that accompanied it — and all those gorgeous containers! (This isn’t MK’s own fridge, but it was chosen to help represent her brand.) I can’t help but notice the OXO GreenSaver containers all along the top shelf. Those definitely spark joy for me. So does the thought of finally getting rid of that smoked gouda cheese alternative. Thank you for your service, fake cheese, I’m now gifting the rest of you to my neighbor!