There are thousands of types of wine so there's no one rule to apply to them all. It would be sort of like asking "how do you cook a vegetable". It depends greatly on what vegetable you are trying to cook! Every one is different
I have a set of guidelines by wine type here -http://www.wineintro.com/basics/aging.html
but even that is simplistic. There are Cabernets that are very much meant to be drunk in a year or two. There are also cabernets which age wonderfully for 20 years.
The key is to figure out what wines you love, and to start there. So example lets say I love 10 year ports. So I know the flavor I love is when they've aged for 10 years. So that means I build a library of ports that can age for 10 years. I don't buy "drink now" ports and try to put them into that shelf. I look for ports that are meant to age 10 years.
Let's say for the sake of argument that I also love white zinfandels. White zinfandels are meant to be drunk within a year. So while I might have a few bottles in my fridge so I can grab one when I have a salad, I wouldn't be aging those. They would be short term storage, like you'd have salad greens in your fridge. They are in there for the short term.
Yes it means you have to learn what you like - which is a fun quest! And it also means you have to keep track what's in your fridge, because if you let those white zinfandel bottles age for 10 years, they aren't going to be very tasty