One of the most common questions I get is "How should I store my bread to make the best use of it?" For better or worse, the answer is "it depends"...(except for baguettes...EAT THEM NOW!)
Every day use: I personally keep my bread cut face down on a cutting board (which makes cutting the bread evenly matter so it sits flat...see more below). Doing so helps keep the crust in good shape here in the high desert, but the crumb will dry out and harden a bit faster. One of the main alternatives is to keep it wrapped in a plastic bag, which will soften the crust, but help keep the crumb moister, longer, as well. Depending on your preferences/goals, you might want to do either.
In any case: DO NOT STORE YOUR BREAD IN THE REFRIGERATOR! The starches in the bread crystalize (and become hard) faster at refrigerator temperatures. (The 100% whole rye Vollkornbrot is the one exception here).
Extended storage: If you aren't going to use your bread for a few days (or longer), freezing is a great option. Wrap you loaf really well (cling film works well, and some prefer to put their wrapped loaf inside a ziploc for extra protection...although you can get away with just a ziploc, especially if it is just for a short period of time). A number of people use freezing in combination with either slicing their entire loaf ahead of time, or cutting it in half, so they can eat part of it at a time, keeping the rest frozen.
Loaf revival: If you have a whole loaf that has sat for a couple days, or you have one that has been in the freezer and you want to consume it all at one sitting, you can do a couple things to revive it. If it was frozen, thaw it out completely while it is still wrapped and pre-heat your oven to 375F. Unwrap your thawed loaf (or take your day-or-so-old loaf), spray the crust with water, and pop it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes (you want the internal temperature to get up between 130-140F). Remove it from the oven, let it cool enough to handle, then slice and enjoy!
How to cut bread: A good bread knife will do wonders for your enjoyment of crusty artisan loaves from Round River Baking. What makes for a good bread knife? Besides one that is sharp (duh), having a blade that is fairly long (9 inches or more) and that has scalloped serrations on it (a 'wavy' blade, rather than small teeth or a jagged edge). Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen always has good recommendations, including some fairly inexpensive options. Here is a fairly recent summary review:
Next, technique can also make a big difference. One of the keys is to let the knife do more of the work by using that long blade in a sawing motion, and not applying too much downward pressure (especially for the top couple inches, when that pressure will deform the loaf and leave it with an uneven cut). So be patient and try sawing back and forth with your bread knife.
Now...go enjoy your bread (and be safe using those knives)!!!