How to organise your fridge so your food lasts longer.

Picture this: You’re in the mood for a fresh zingy salad. You reach into the fridge for that head of lettuce and cucumber you bought just a few days ago… but what you discover in their place is a puddle of green goo and a handful of frozen leaves that disintegrate in your hands.

It’s a sorrowful tale, but one that’s all too familiar (trust me, I know). The good news? If you stack your fridge the right way, your greens will remain edible for longer than 24 hours.

If you’re anything like me, you probably treat stacking your fridge like an icy game of Tetris: you shove everything in wherever it fits, shut the door, and get back to your life.

However, the process should be a little more organised than that. In fact, your fridge contents should be sorted according to the temperature and location of each shelf and compartment.

Image via Flickr

Here’s a guide:

The bottom shelf

This is the coldest part of the fridge, making it ideal for storing yoghurt and soft cheeses, cooked meats, poultry, seafood, and your leftovers. Keeping raw meat wrapped up and down low also prevents bacteria-laden juices from wreaking havoc on the rest of your groceries, which your immune system will thank you for.


(Note: from personal experience, I recommend not putting your baby spinach leaves down there).

Speaking of groceries, here are some tips for cutting down your food bill. (Post continues after audio.)

The middle shelves

This where you should place dips, deli meats and airtight containers of leftover meals – ensuring cooked food is stored as far away from raw items as possible. Eggs can also go here.

The top shelf

Dairy products like butter and hard cheeses can live here happily as the temperature is most constant up high, and if there’s sufficient room put your milk up there too.

Although the fridge door seems like the obvious place for milk, the temperature fluctuations caused by opening and closing can cause it to spoil early and ruin your Weetbix. (Nobody likes sour milk first thing in the morning.)

For Uma's sake, let's hope that milk wasn't stored in the door...

The door

Being the warmest part of the fridge, the door is better suited to less perishable items like sauces, dressings, pickles, pasteurised fruit juice, soft drink… and that lovely bottle (or four) of sauv blanc you’ve been eyeing off all day.

It’s also recommended you don’t store eggs in the door, even though egg storage inserts would suggest otherwise. Deceptive, I know.

The salad crisper

Well, this one’s fairly self-explanatory, although it’s advisable to properly dry your fruit and veggies if you wash them before storing to slow their deterioration. Keeping them in perforated plastic bags can also help.

As for those poor, sensitive cucumbers? Wrapping them in paper towel first will prevent them from liquefying.

So, the moral of the story is this: a little care when unpacking your groceries will increase the more chance of them living a long(ish), happy, bacteria-free life.

Is this how you stack your fridge?