You’re storing milk and cheese all wrong – food storage hacks

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Ensuring you store food correctly can help to reduce food waste and ultimately save you money. However, many of us habitually place certain food items in areas of the kitchen where they might not necessarily be suited. Caroline, who posts videos to TikTok under the username @neat.caroline, is a New York City-based professional organiser helping people to make the most of the space available in their homes.

In a video to her TikTok audience of 212.2K followers, she revealed some common places to store dairy items might not necessarily be the best. In the UK, we throw away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year according to research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Almost three-quarters of this is food households could have eaten, which is why planning ahead is so essential when unpacking your food shop and storing items. According to Caroline, her easy food storage tips will “make your food last longer”.

While the shelves on your fridge door may seem like the perfect place to slot a pint of milk, Caroline suggests this is all wrong. “Keep milk off the fridge door and on an upper or middle shelf where it is coldest,” she said. This is because the shelves on your fridge door are actually the warmest spot inside of your appliance.

Experts from Real Simple explained: “Every time you open the fridge door, you’re dragging everything stored there into what’s likely the hottest room in your house. Warmer temperatures and frequent fluctuations can put food at risk of spoiling, especially milk and cream.”

@neat.caroline 6 food storage tips to make your groceries last longer! #hometips #foodhacks #lifehacks #foodstorage #homeorganization #organizedhome #fyp #learnontiktok #foodstoragetips #fridgeorganization #kitchenorganization #zerowasteliving #foodhacksathome ♬ original sound – Neat Caroline

The longer milk is exposed to warm air, the faster bacteria will grow in the liquid. Instead, it is a good idea to move your milk towards the back of the fridge. However, there is some speculation among experts about whether milk should really be kept on the top shelf, or if it should stay on the middle or lower shelf.

This is because warm air typically rises, meaning your top shelf is likely to be a few degrees warmer that the lower shelf. Organisation expert Melissa Coghlan said: “Milk should be stored at the back of the bottom shelf where the fridge is coldest.”

Cheese and butter might also be commonly found in your fridge door, but Caroline advises against this. She suggests popping your cheese on the lower shelf of your appliance or in one of the drawers.

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Caroline added: “Keep cheese wrapped in parchment paper which allows it to breathe while preventing mould growth.”

And it turns out, butter may be nicer when kept at room temperature. Caroline said: “If you like your butter at room temperature use salted over unsalted butter so that it lasts longer.”

As well as offering tips on storing dairy produce, Caroline also shared some additional advice to keep berries fresh for longer, as well as where to store ginger root used for cooking.

She explained: “To keep your berries fresh, line a glass container with a paper towel which absorbs moisture and prevents mould. And place ginger in a plastic bag with the air pushed out in a crisper drawer. This will keep out oxygen and moisture.”

Where to store food in the fridge

Top shelf

This is the place to store ready-to-eat food, like leftovers and cooked food.

Middle shelves

These shelves are ideal for dairy products, like eggs, milk, and cheese.

Lower shelves

Lower shelves should be reserved for raw proteins, meat, and fish. 


The lowers draws are for fruit and veg. Make sure to keep drawers dry and store fruit and veg separately, as this heps prolong them.

Side doors

Nonperishable drinks and condiments should be kept here. This includes white wine, water and fruit juice, mayonnaise and ketchup.

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