How To Stock Your Refrigerator

You're back from the grocery store, arms loaded with fresh and beautiful produce, and now it's time to stock the refrigerator.

If it were an ordinary day, you might start thoughtlessly loading your goods into the refrigerator — sticking them wherever they seem to fit best, and not giving much thought to where and why you're placing things.

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If you're guilty of this, you might not know that those apples you just threw in the bottom drawer with the carrots will rot your vegetables faster than you think, and the milk that's shoved in the door next to the ketchup — that's going to mold very quickly. Without thinking or planning how to stock your refrigerator correctly, you might have to take a trip back to the grocery store way before you were planning to.

A refrigerator is specifically designed to keep food fresh and flavorful for as long as possible, but so few people actually know how to stock it so that it can. It's likely that you may not know which items should go where to ensure freshness, and you may be wasting a lot of money on groceries because of it.

To help you, we've created a guide that will help you stock your refrigerator efficiently. Everything from produce, dairy, meat, condiments, and even leftovers has a specific place in your refrigerator, and we'll show you where that place is.

Start stocking your refrigerator smartly, and take note of these tips for how to prevent bacterial growth on refrigerated foods:

1. Set the temperature in your refrigerator to 40 degrees or cooler, but make sure the drawer temperatures are humid enough for fruits and vegetables.

2. Cover food not already covered by sealing it in airtight containers or wrapping it up in foil or cellophane. That way other smells and bacteria traveling through the air can't get to your food and contaminate it.

3. Clean your refrigerator regularly, and when cleaning, make sure you clean it you, too. In order to keep your food cool, air needs to circulate around your refrigerator. Too much food in the fridge will mess with the temperature and create warm spots.