If you keep your milk in the door of your fridge, stop at once.

A new guide reveals exactly how you should organise your refrigerator to help you find exactly what you need in an instant and to stop your food from going off too quickly.

And it reveals that you should never keep your milk in the fridge door as this is the warmest part of your fridge.

Where to store your food to ensure it's kept fresh for longer. Image / NZ Herald
Where to store your food to ensure it's kept fresh for longer. Image / NZ Herald

The guide, by Good Housekeeping, runs through exactly what you should keep on each shelf of your refrigerator, from top to bottom.


Raw meat and fish should be kept on the bottom shelf as it's the coldest part of the fridge, while dairy should be kept one shelf above.

Meanwhile, vegetables, fruit and salad should be stored in their original packaging in the salad drawers.

How to organise your fridge

• Bottom shelf: Raw meat and fish

This is the coldest part of your fridge, so this is where to keep your raw meat and fish - the items most likely to cause you harm if not kept properly chilled. Putting these items on the bottom shelf also reduces the risk of cross-contamination, as raw meat and fish juices could potentially leak down the sides of the fridge if placed on a higher level.

• Lower/middle shelves: All dairy, including milk, butter, cream and cheese
• Drawers: Vegetables, fruit, salad and herbs

There's a reason why they're called the salad drawers: they really are the best place to store fruits, vegetables and salads. As the drawers don't touch the back of the fridge, these items are less likely to become frozen, which would affect the quality.

• Upper shelves: Anything that doesn't need cooking. Eg. salami and leftovers

The upper shelves are the second warmest part of the fridge, so this is where it's best to keep food that has already been cooked or doesn't need further cooking before you can eat it.

• Fridge doors: Jams, condiments and juices

This is the warmest part of the fridge, so keep items that contain preservatives here such as opened jam jars, sauces and juice. Do not keep milk here - it will go off quickly if you do.

The guide comes after last month's debate about which foods to store in your fridge, and which to keep in the pantry.

The row started on Twitter over the correct place to store tomato ketchup, with half keeping theirs chilled while others keeping it in the cupboard.

But experts finally settled the debate by Dr Peter Barratt, who told Daily Mail that ketchup should be kept in the fridge once opened to make it last longer - though it is safe to eat if kept in the cupboard for a couple of weeks after opening.

• What goes in the fridge

Lemon juice
Mustard jars
Eggs and butter
Salad dressings
Nut oils

• What goes in the cupboard

Worcestershire sauce
Peanut butter
Soy sauce
Mustard powder