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

Meet Denise E. Stegall, the CEO and Curator of Living Healthy List.com. With 25 years of experience and study in nutrition, cooking, exercise, and coaching, she helps female entrepreneurs and businesswomen curate a healthy, happy, and productive life.

As an inspirational thought leader, Denise provides honest, research-backed information on health, wellness, personal development, and fun for real-life application. Her platform, Living Healthy List, is a go-to community for health and wellness resources, empowering positive changes and creating the life you want.

Denise’s background in nutrition and her philosophy of “Eat Real Food, Make Good Decisions, and Be Accountable” shaped her International Best Seller, “Healthy Living, Happy Life: A Practical Path to Finding the Healthy Lifestyle That Works for You!”

She goes beyond her book and Living Healthy List to offer “Forever Wellness Lifestyle ,” a groundbreaking group coaching model with individualized roadmaps for true health, balance, stress management, confidence, and an uplifting lifestyle. Denise E. Stegall is devoted to empowering individuals to embrace holistic well-being and fulfillment.

“Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to be hard! “