When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator or freezer?  If you’re like most people, it’s been a while.  Fear of wasting food is one reason that people neglect the fridge when actually the opposite is true.

An updated inventory and fridge clean-out schedule helps to minimize food waste, saves money, and reduces your stress levels.  It also helps you plan your meals.   Here is a great article on The 4 rules to eat healthy to help you do that..

The lists below will help you realize a few things.

  1. How long to keep the food
  2. You don’t need to store so much food
  3. Unless you have a big family, do not supersize.



Fruits and vegetables are the most wasted items that are kept in the fridge, so let’s start there.

  • Apples: 3 weeks
  • Blueberries: 1 week
  • Broccoli and cauliflower: 1 week
  • Chard, kale, and spinach: 3 days
  • Leafy herbs like parsley and cilantro: 3 days
  • Lemons and limes: 3 weeks
  • Lettuce: 5 days
  • Melon: 5 days
  • Mushrooms: 1 week
  • Strawberries and raspberries: 3 days
  • Winter squash: 1 week
  • Woody herbs: 3 weeks


Do you do the sniff test to see if your milk has gone off?  Dairy products are always questionable, so let’s take a look at the most common in your fridge.
  • Hard cheeses: 4 to 6 months, unopened
  • Butter: 3 months
  • Cream cheese: 2 months, unopened
  • Eggs: 3 to 5 weeks
  • Heavy cream: 1 month
  • Milk: 1 week
  • Almond Milk, store-bought: 10 days
  • Almond Milk, homemade: 5 days
  • Pizza: 3 to 4 days
  • Ricotta and cottage cheese: 1 week
  • Sour cream: 3 weeks
  • Soft cheese: 2 weeks, unopened
  • Tofu: 3 weeks
  • Yogurt: 2 weeks

Meat, poultry, seafood

  • Bacon: 2 weeks, unopened
  • Chicken: 1 to 2 days
  • Cold cuts: 2 weeks, unopened
  • Fish fillets: 2 days
  • Ground meat: 1 to 2 days
  • Hot dogs: 2 weeks, unopened
  • Pork, chops, and roasts: 3 to 5 days
  • Raw shrimp: 2 days
  • Shellfish (in shells): 2 days
  • Shellfish (shucked): 1 day
  • Steaks: 3 to 5 days


Most of us keep condiments way past their prime. Replace the supersized jar of mayonnaise with a smaller one, and then replace as needed. Keeping a backup in the pantry is better than having an open container that is going bad.
  • Ketchup: 6 months
  • Maple syrup: 1 year
  • Mayonnaise: 2 months
  • Mustard: 1 month
  • Salsa: 1 month
  • Soy sauce: 1 year



When I was growing up, we put bread into the bread drawer.  At that time there were four of us eating toast and sandwiches, so a loaf of bread lasted only a few days, maybe a week.  When I moved into my first apartment, if I left bread on the counter, inevitably it was moldy before I finish it.  So, I started to put it into the refrigerator.

A fresh loaf of bread from the bakery was always a conundrum. To fridge or not to fridge.  Turns out, mom was right.  The best way to keep bread as fresh as possible is to store it at room temperature.  Store that yummy crusty bread in a part of the kitchen that isn’t too hot or dry.  You don’t want to re-bake the bread in the sun.  After 3 days, if you have not completely gobbled it up, then and only then put it in the FREEZER!

How Cold is Your Freezer?

To begin, make sure your freezer is set to the proper temperature.  According to the company, Whirlpool the recommended freezer temperature to keep your food safe is at or below 0°F (-18°C), but your freezer may need to be set higher or lower depending on its environment and other factors.

Meat, poultry, seafood

  • Bacon: 1 month
  • Chicken, raw: 9 to 12 months
  • Chicken or turkey, cooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Cold cuts: 2 months
  • Fish fillets: 6 months
  • Ground meat: 4 months
  • Ham, cooked: 1 to 2 months
  • Hot dogs: 1 to 2 months
  • Meat casseroles, cooked: 3 months
  • Pork, chops, and roasts: 4 to 12 months
  • Raw shrimp: 6 months
  • Steaks: 4 to 12 months
  • Tofu: 5 months

Miscellaneous Items

  • Bread and cake: 3 months
  • Butter: 6 to 9 months
  • Cookies, baked or dough: 3 months
  • Fruit: 6 to 12 months
  • Fruit pies, unbaked: 9 months
  • Ice cream and sorbet: 2 months
  • Pizza: 1 to 2 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
  • Yogurt: 2 months
Organizing and storing your ingredients properly in the refrigerator and freezer gives you more space, which means less waste and more free time!  You just can’t beet  (yes, pun intended) how much less time it takes to take inventory when making your shopping list.
Denise Stegall
Denise Stegall

Hi, I’m Denise Stegall,

As a speaker, coach, and curator of Living Healthy List my experience ignites ideas, conversation, and connection. I am a connector, a leader who radiates emotional intelligence, strength, positivity, resilience, and a zest for life!

I bring you 20 years of experience/study in nutrition, cooking, exercise, and coaching to show you how you can enjoy a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life through nutrition and self-empowerment.

I earned my Bachelors’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Business Management with a focus on nutrition, experience in the hospitality industry and has certifications in Health Coaching, Life Coaching, Nutrition, ETP and Plant-Based Cooking.

My experience in cooking and nutrition delivers a unique perspective on what works (and doesn’t work) for most people.  The Living Healthy List Method uses three pillars: Eat Real Food, Make Good Decisions, and Be Accountable.  By following this simple plan anyone can have a truly healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

As an authentic connector, inspirational thought leader I am determined to provide Living Healthy List readers with honest, reliable, research-backed content that can be implemented in real life to help you create a healthy, happy life you are working hard to find so you can grow, relax and transform into the person you always dreamed of being!  Feeling more confident.  Reaching beyond your limitations.  Enjoy life more and FLOURISH!