Decisions, Decisions!

Thank you so much for all of your input yesterday! I still haven’t finished reading all of the comments (I will, though, because I hate leaving questions unanswered in comments), but as I was reading comments from those of you who actually have manual defrost freezers, telling me how often you defrost your freezers, the process you use, the mess it makes, where you keep your manual defrost freezers and why, it became clear to me that manual defrost is probably not the way to go for me.

My mom has a manual defrost freezer in her garage, so I asked her about it. Here’s how that went:


😀 Ummm…yeah. I am my mother’s daughter. And at some point, I have to come to grips with the reality that while I want to be one of those responsible people who schedules things like “defrost freezer” every six months, writing them down in my Franklin Covey planner where I keep all of the details of my perfectly planned, perfectly scheduled, and perfectly disciplined life, I’m just not that person.

It’ll never happen. For one, I don’t even own a planner. Well, I guess technically I do, since I have an iPhone, but I have no idea how to use it (and don’t want to learn). I’m kind of a shoot-from-the-hip kind of person, and if projects seem uninteresting or awful to me, I’ll put them off as long as I can. Like perhaps putting off defrosting my freezer for 12 years. 😀

And a lot of you brought up a very good point. Keeping a freezer in the garage during the very hot Texas summers probably isn’t the best idea. A couple of you said you tried that, and the freezer ran constantly to keep the temperature, which ended up flipping the circuit breaker. That would be awful to have that happen, not realize it until hours later (or perhaps the next day) and lose everything in the freezer.

It also occurred to me that having the freezer directly in the garage like this…



…probably isn’t the best idea since the garage is where I currently use my big tools (table saw, miter saw, etc.) and it’s messy. That freezer would be constantly covered in sawdust. I do plan to eventually build a nice workshop and have one of those huge dust collection systems, but that won’t happen any time soon. So the only option for a sawdust-free freezer would be one of the two options for putting it in the storage room at the back of the garage, both of which require a new doorway in a load-bearing wall and immediate removal of the monstrous, archaic, and non-functional furnace that currently sits in that storage room.

All of that to say that I’m back to my original plan. The freezer is going in the pantry. The whole idea for that was convenience, and having it right there in the pantry is definitely the most convenient option. So I found a frost-free, stainless steel freezer that is just a touch over counter depth (26.5″), opens the direction I actually want it to open, and has an ice maker, which is a huge bonus. I’m going with this Frigidaire stainless steel freezer.


I already have a vacuum sealer, so that should reduce or eliminate the freezer burn issue, and sticking with my original plan to have the freezer in the pantry just seems like the most reasonable option. And it’ll go right here on the left wall of the pantry…


Except that the footprint will be smaller than what I originally marked off with tape for the deeper manual defrost freezer.

Now that that’s settled, I can finish up my electrical stuff today. Drywall tomorrow!!


My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…

Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…



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  1. Yay! It’s a lovely freezer. Chest type freezers give me the creeps for reasons I’ll not go into here. I’ll never have one in my home, over my dead body, LOL. And FWIW, I love stainless. It is bright. It usually gets mottled despite special finishes but a scant coat of WD40 after cleaning it takes that away (cue the people who don’t trust responsible home owning adults to keep WD40 out of food.) I clean it first and then dress it with the WD40, I don’t use it as the cleaner as I have seen recommended just because I have some super smellers in the family.

  2. Yay! I think you made the right decision. 🙂

    I once heard a professional organizer say something to the effect that if you come home every night and drop your keys or bills in one spot on the counter, don’t try to retrain yourself to do otherwise. Instead, put a basket or something there to collect the stuff you drop and keep it organized.

    That advice has served me well over the years–don’t try to fight your bad habits. Just account for them when you’re organizing or redesigning. If your clothing ends-up on the floor in the bedroom, then clearly, the hamper should be in there and not the bathroom, etc., etc.

    I think you figured out the same thing with the freezer. You know you’re not going to schedule the defrosts, so there’s no point in buying a manual-defrost freezer. 🙂

  3. I had a frostless freezer which I kept in my laundry room. It worked great and I had it for many years. Why the need for stainless? Buy or make a wood front like your other cabinets.

  4. As always, you have checked all of your options and made a great decision! I’m so excited that your drywall is being installed tomorrow. One step closer to finishing this project!!!

  5. Kristi, you have made a very wise decision! The vacuum sealer will help to avoid freezer burn and having the freezer nearby is great. While you are doing your electrical layout, don’t forget the water line for the ice maker. You will be very happy to have a second ice maker (assuming you have one in your refrigerator already), especially in Texas. And on a side note, you can NEVER have too many electrical outlets!! The minute you think you have it all planned out, you realize there is that one spot that should have a plug that does not, darn it. Anyway, great job on your new pantry and I can’t wait to see it.

  6. I definitely think this is the right decision. I loved reading a lot of the comments from yesterday’s post, but given 1) sawdust, 2) temperature and humidity, 3) this is the purpose of the pantry, 4) the fact that you already own and use a vacuum sealer, and 5) hassles of defrosting (so many crazy things to think about – where do you put the food, how do you contain the mess, etc.), you definitely need to go with the auto. Get to it!

    As a side note, it’s always interesting to me which posts generate a lot of comments!

    This post got me thinking about your garage again. I really want to see what you do to your office and garage. Can those please be on the calendar for 2017? You won’t have the $$ to do the back of your house anyway, right? 🙂 We finally have a garage and I need your ideas. 🙂 Although, really we have no budget to work on anything right now, so if you take your time, that’s OK. We need to save up some $$ anyway. 🙂

    1. My office is definitely on the radar for next year. And I’d love to get to the garage, also. It would make sense to do the garage first so that I can have an organized workshop before I continue working on the house.

      1. One option is to sort of do a temporary workshop with inexpensive or found items, which might also help you see how you’re going to use it and where you want things placed. My grandfather (who was a finish carpenter) used to make work benches and tool tables out of old doors and 2×4’s. You can also use sawhorses as the bases (which wouldn’t go to waste because saw horses are always handy anyway).

        I’ve also found that a good temporary way to organize tools is inexpensive bulk shelving and office file boxes. I’ll place all my plumbing supplies, for example, in one box and mark it “plumbing”. Then, if I’m doing a plumbing job, I just grab the whole box. If you wanted a mechanism that’s similar and more permanent, building a slide-in shelving unit (similar to Ikea’s Toyboxes) to fit rubbermaid bins would also work.

        My current workshop amounts to one of my grandfather’s old door benches, a shelf rack with boxes, and a row of old kitchen cabinets with a door sitting on top as a temporary countertop. It’s helping me figure out where I’d like stuff placed. It’s also revealed where I most need plugs and lighting.

  7. Since you already have the door way there why not move that one stud over and create a recess for the freezer and it will stick out even less.

    sounds like a great plan. I don’t really defrost either for my chest freezer. Probably should. It’s in my hot Texas garage though, but I have no other space.

  8. Yay! I think you’ve made the right choice for your needs, your house, and the way you’ll use it. It makes me envious of you having this blog, for all the help you’ve gotten figuring this out. Like you, I’m remodeling my entire house myself (I even do the plumbing and HVAC myself), and I can’t remember all the times where I’ve been going back and forward between two options like this, and couldn’t figure it out. My husband, like yours, isn’t much help. He doesn’t care and doesn’t want to be bothered with these kinds of things. So having a couple hundred strangers to ask for input when you’re stuck sure seems nice!

    1. I learn a lot from reading Kristi’s posts/thought processes and by reading comments here. It would be fantastic if there was a feature where readers could get input on a problem they are having, or an area for readers to help each other.

      I’ve never had a blog and I have no idea how complicated this would be, but it seems like it would fit the spirit of this blog, for sure.

      Kristi, I’m glad you have a solution. I read through every single comment yesterday and I don’t even have a stand alone freezer. I know if I ever get one, manual defrost is not for me!

      Also thanks to the poster who mentioned the submersion method of getting air of out ziplock bags. I have a vacuum sealer but that’s a great tip for when I’m out of bags or it’s acting up.

  9. A word from my experience – use the key and always lock the freezer – in the beginning I didn’t and had the door left ajar and had total meltdown, the freezing of the airway. Took me hours to thaw the air path. Now I use the key (kept on the side hanging on a command hook) and always double check to make sure it’s locked.

  10. Sound decision. We have our upright, frost free freezer just off the kitchen in our utility/pantry area by our side door. It’s great and I access it so much that I can’t imagine it a distance away. It’s quiet and an alarm goes off if the door is left open, which I love. The stainless steel is the type that doesn’t smudge. I wish my refrigerator was that, also.

  11. Maybe you could put some kind of vent somewhere to help the heat the freezer makes to circulate better in the pantry? Just a thought.

  12. Hi Kristi,
    Have you thought about putting in a tall narrow rolling shelf that pulls out next to the freezer. I have seen theese on the internet. Some are on wheels and others are mounted on hardware? Just a thought.

  13. Kudos to recognizing your “self-limits” (I just made that word up). Several of my friends have invited me to go on a cruise…oh, they just have the best time, it’s wonderful, so much fun, the ship’s so big you don’t realize you’re on a ship, etc, etc, etc. I will never go on a cruise because I have health problems, one of them being vertigo. So I tell them “why should I pay good money to be miserable for a week, stranded in the ocean with hundreds of strangers & no way to get to my doctor if I needed him”! Ain’t gonna happen! Get your nice stainless self-defrosting freezer/ice maker & enjoy it without the task of defrosting always lurking in the back of your mind! Someone previously asked “Why stainless”? Honey, whatever floats your boat…that’s why we have chocolate & vanilla…different strokes for different folks…that’s why!

  14. I planned space for our small chest freezer in our laundry. I had decided to move it to a different spot a couple of weeks ago and discovered it had ruined our hardwoods and baseboard. It wasn’t leaking. Richard said it was sweating, getting moisture in the insulation, then dripping on the floor. Probably the entire year we’ve been here. I don’t know if that’s because it’s a cheapo freezer or maybe because it’s manual defrost or what. We never had that issue in the basement of the last house. Anyway, I would probably get a pan to go under it if we move it back into the house.

  15. Know thyself, lol! As much as I’d like to think that I’m an organized person who does routine things like defrosting a freezer twice a year, I know myself better than that! The freezer would get defrosted the next time a hurricane came through and knocked the power out for a week! Convenience means frost free, off the kitchen/dining area, in the pantry next to the vacuum sealing device and the sink.

    Your pantry is gonna be great!

  16. YAY! for Decisions! I figured frost free in your pantry would be the way to go for you. I live in WA and my garage is insulated so keeping a manual defrost in there is not an issue and we don’t really get extreme temps in Summer or Winter. I don’t really have room for it in the house. lol I HAVE been wanting to get a food vacuum thing-a-ma-jig regardless of freezer.

  17. Personally, having grown up having to defrost our freezer, so glad you went frost free.

    Love Lori L’s idea to make it match your cabinets by adding wood then you could also order in white instead of SS & maybe save a few dollars. Sorry, I am not on the stainless bandwagon yet!

  18. I was just wondering how you are going to run water to the ice maker. I was planning on purchasing this along with it’s twin, the freezer free refrigerator. Your thought process is so inspiring to read as you put into words what we all think when we undertake a major job. Can’t wait to see the end result!

  19. Yeah I have one of those manual defrost freezers….on my tiled floor kitchen…It has been defrosted once in the 10 years we have lived in this house. 🙂 When we do defrost it…DH using a furniture mover to take it to the back porch and we let the thing air defrost for a day or so….clean it then move it back in….not the most convenient thing to do but it is what it is and I have no plans to buy a new one….unless this one quits working XXXXX ! Think your plan rocks as always….you are my inspiration. Going to go now and buy a vacuum sealer….has been on my planner which I lost years ago. 🙂 Just have fun with all you do….that is my motto!!

  20. Sounds like you made a smart decision. My only concern is the freezer has an ice maker, do you have a water line ran or will you do that in the future?

    Can wait to see how the pantry comes along!

  21. Please read the reviews on the Frigidaire freezer. I had a Frigidaire refrigerator/freezer with ice maker that drove me nuts. The ice maker kept messing up. I had the service people out 3 times in less than a year and then got into a big fight with the store I bought it from. After much unsuccessful haggling, I donated it to a women’s sanctuary, took an IRS charity deduction, and bought a Kenmore which has worked fine. I have since received a notice from Frigidaire that a class action suit had been settled regarding the malfunctioning ice maker. So, numerous owners have had the same problem. This was a good brand once upon a time, but the service people said that lots of parts are being manufactured in China and are not of good quality. Good luck with your new freezer, and I highly approve of the frost-free version. You may notice your electric bill decreasing by getting a newer, energy approved model.

  22. Have you seen the recessed electrical outlets for behind the freezer, stove or fridge? It will give you an additional couple of inches from the plug sticking out. Also recess the waterline thingie. I did these in my kitchen last year, and it looks so much better not to have appliances sticking out from the countertop. Also, I really like white appliances…they seem to blend in so much better, rather than jumping out to say look at me. So glad you are having fun planning your pantry… can’t wait to see it.

    1. I’m really surprised that you’re going stainless with you doing white cabinets. Just seems the white would blend in better & save money. The recessed outlet & water line is a great idea. Whenever I pull mine out to clean I have to be careful not to roll it back on the waterline.

  23. Love the look of this freezer! I never thought about doing just a freezer, and only a fridge in the house–but it makes sense! We currently have a side by side and then a smaller secondary garage fridge–which actually holds food better than the side by side! When the time comes to switch, I think I’ll go this route.

  24. I think this is really the best decision you could make. I read a lot of the comments yesterday and they made me cringe at all the defrosting etc… We have a frost free upright freezer and we put it in our garage (always have) right outside the garage door. We live in Texas and haven’t had any issues with it being out there. We kept in in our garage when we lived in Idaho too (very similar weather to where we are in North Texas, just colder in the winter) and we had no problems there either. We don’t really have issues with freezer burn unless it’s something we’ve frozen in a ziploc bag for a long time. The items we freeze with our vacuum sealer NEVER get freezer burned! I’m glad you reconsidered and made the best choice for your family.

  25. I think you’ve made a smart decision. Will you have to run a water line for your ice maker and/or a drain line for the defrost feature?

  26. I think it’s a good idea to keep it inside the house and go self-defrosting/frost free. Had one in the garage and didn’t especially care for the hike to get things. Sold it after 2 years. And you may not want to think about this as it sounds like you are set on having one, but freezers are expensive to run (electricity), stock (tend to buy things you may not really need/prepared foods that aren’t necessarily healthy), break down (replacement parts/repairs). If there are just two of you, do you really need a freezer beyond the regular one? Just (frozen) food for thought! Love the pantry! Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  27. You are going to put in a sink, right? A significant convenience for a pantry…..close to the freezer but not right next to it. Some counter space in-between. I am so glad you saw the wisdom of your ways in getting a frost free freezer. Now-a-days everything is so efficient, no need to worry about the difference in energy costs which would have been next to nothing. Wrap, date and rotate your goods and use before the amount of time for any given item. I love the pantry, have always loved a pantry and am green with envy because I want one,too. You are doing such a fantastic job….be proud of yourself, we all are.

  28. I have had both types of freezers in my lifetime. After going frost free, would never again consider one that has to be defrosted. NEVER again! Upright, frost free, is the way to go. Just my husband and I at home now but I still need a freezer. We enjoy the space to keep favorites and larger purchases in when we do so. It is so nice to have meal fixings at home all the time and skip having to run to the store. Anyway that is how we feel. Ours is not a huge freezer but plenty big enough for all we want to keep on hand. Your pantry is lovely and you will enjoy it so much. You have done another amazing restoration. Congratulations on choices to make life’s necessities easier. Love watching your work!!

  29. OMG, YAY!! I’m so happy you found out what was good for you. My phone reminds me every 6 weeks to clean out the frig. I tap and ignore… 🙁

  30. So happy you made a decision that is perfect for YOU! (I agree with Poohla who said “You can never have too many outlets!” I can’t find an outlet for my Dyson. Argghh!). Hey, do you remember the ol’ days when we had to change the bulbs in our televisions, add fluid to our cars radiator every month, and manually defrost a freezer? Distant meemmmories…..la dee daahhh the waaaay weee werrrrr……

  31. Agree with it going inside and especially frost free…why would anyone go manual? But why are you going with stainless when your appliances are white? Makes no sense. Go with white, stainless option will probably be more money as well…….

  32. Love your stainless freezer. I’m a little late with the comment, but incase it helps someone else….We gave our son & his wife our white, upright manual defrost freezer- which served our family of 6 for 20+ years. First 6 years it lived inside the house in the laundry room. Last 20 years it lived in our garage, in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. First thing my amazingly organized daughter-in-law did was paint the door with white Dry Erase paint. Can’t tell its even been painted. But the Dry Erase paint allows her to keep a running tally of what they have in the freezer, so they’re not opening the freezer each time they’re hunting for Blue Bell ice cream. Wish I’d thought of that oh-so-many years ago with 4 boys at home!