Unless you live alone, you have to share your refrigerator with others. (Whether that’s with roommates, your spouse or significant other, and/or your children.) Which means you are familiar with the careful dance that people must do in a shared space. Your yogurt goes here; Susie’s goes there. If you’re reading this story, unfortunately, we’re guessing that you’re the leader of this dance and you spend most of your time wishing that people would follow along.
Related: 10 Rules for Organizing Your Fridge When You Have Roommates
Here are 10 things about the fridge that you probably already know but your roommates don’t seem to know. Go ahead and leave this page open on your laptop for someone to “accidentally” see. Or use our words as validation for something you’ve been saying all along.
1. Milk doesn’t go on the door.
The door is the warmest part of the fridge. And milk needs to be kept cold. While the door’s shelves are just fine for condiments, it’s not the best spot for milk. Clear some space off on a top shelf and keep it there.
Read more: The Best Way to Organize Your Refrigerator
2. Meat goes on the bottom.
Ideally, your new package of chicken will not leak in the fridge. But if it does, it will be a whole lot more manageable if it’s on a bottom shelf when it leaks. You know, versus sitting on a top shelf where it can drip down onto lots of stuff below it.
Related: How Long Will Raw Chicken Stay Good in the Fridge?
3. And, ideally, meat goes in a special bin.
Put those packages of meat in a special bin and it’ll contain any errant juices even more. We especially like these bins from The Container Store because they’re deep, clear, and have handle holes for easy access.
4. There’s a point to the crisper drawers.
It might not look like they really do all that much, but crisper drawers really do serve a purpose. Change the setting and the drawer gets more or less humid. The general rule of thumb is to put things that tend to rot in a drawer with a low-humidity setting. Things that wilt (leafy greens, like arugula, spinach, and herbs) go in the high-humidity drawer.
Read more: What to Store in Your Refrigerator Humidity Drawers
5. The doors should stay closed as much as possible.
Every time the door gets opened, cold air rushes out. And if this is happening in the summertime, hot air is going in. If your kid is opening the door just to hem and haw over what after-school snack to have, tell him to consider his options and then go in once his mind is made up.
6. Food needs to be cooled off before it gets put in the fridge.
Obviously, you don’t want food to sit out until it reaches unsafe temperatures, but you also don’t want to put anything right from the oven into the fridge. (Because you risk shocking and cracking the cooking vessel and you’ll end up lowering the temperature of the fridge as a whole!) Let things cool — to a reasonable temp — before putting them in the fridge.
Related: 9 Mistakes You’re Making When It Comes to Your Fridge
7. All leftovers need to be labeled.
With names (if this is a roommate situation), dates, and what’s in the container. Just because one person in the household knows what something is doesn’t mean the rest of the household will know.
Related: The $3 School Supply Item That Keeps My Kitchen Organized
8. Organizers can be useful.
In addition to that bin we mentioned earlier, there are lots of useful organizers out there. For example, this little guy that’ll hold your collection of unopened LaCroix cans. It seems so simple (or even unnecessary), but just one organizer can really make a huge difference in a messy fridge.
Read more: 8 Organizers That’ll Make Your Fridge a Million Times Better
9. Empty containers should never be put back in the fridge.
That OJ carton with a drop of juice left? DO NOT PUT IT BACK IN THE FRIDGE. Ever. In a perfect world, it will not only get thrown out, but “orange juice” will also be added to the shopping list that hangs on or near the fridge.
10. Things should go back where they came from.
It seems like such an obvious thing, and yet, it needs to be said. If a condiment is taken from the condiment shelf, it goes back on the condiment shelf — not mixed in with the cheese.
11. A fridge can be too full or too empty.
A mostly empty fridge won’t run super efficiently. (We’ve even heard experts recommend filling pitchers of water and putting them in the fridge to use as placeholders until you can get to the store to restock.) A fridge that’s too full, on the other hand? Well that’s how you forget about certain ingredients and stuff goes to waste.
Related: Marie Kondo Says Your Fridge Should Be 30 Percent Empty
12. Spills don’t clean themselves.
Another one that shouldn’t really need to be said.
Related: How to Clean The Refrigerator
Got anything else to add to this list? What do you wish the people you lived with knew about the fridge?
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