Breakfast Room

Freezer Choices – Frost Free vs. Manual Defrost (And Where To Put Them)

I pretty much have my pantry design figured out, and with no time to spare. I have two days to (1) run all of my electrical wiring for outlets, switches, and fixtures, (2) insulate the back wall, front wall, and pantry ceiling, (3) remove the excess spray foam insulation from the breakfast room ceiling, (4) remove the old door frame that leads from the pantry to the sunroom and add studs, and (5) add additional framing to the front wall (non-structural framing, but more on that later). So the next two days will be jam packed, because the drywall guys will get here bright and early on Thursday morning to drywall the pantry and the breakfast room! I’m so excited!

But the last piece of the pantry puzzle that still has me stumped is the freezer. In my last post, I showed you the layout that I’m considering with the freezer.

walk-in-pantry-taping-off-cabinet-layout-wtih-painters-tape-freezer-wall

That’s the left wall of the pantry. And when I started planning the pantry, I envisioned a really awesome upright stainless steel (yes, I’m finally coming around on stainless steel 😀 ) freezer.

And then a few of you came along and taught me that there are some serious differences between auto defrost and manual defrost freezers that I need to consider. Quite honestly, I had no idea that there was even a difference, other than convenience. And really, I just assumed that most, if not all, modern freezers were auto-defrost. Well, that’s not the case.

So after reading those informative comments (this one was the most thorough and helpful to me), and doing a bit more research, I decided that a manual defrost was the way to go for our purposes. Here are the bullet points:

–Auto defrost freezers are more convenient, since you never have to defrost them.

–Auto defrost freezers use more energy.

–Auto defrost freezers are more prone to freezer burning your food.

–Food lasts longer in manual defrost freezers, with less chance of freezer burn.

–Manual defrost freezers, as the name would suggest, must be defrosted periodically (twice a year or so).

So while I’m content with my choice of a manual defrost freezer, I’m a bit shocked at the lack of variety. So far, I have yet to find a large, pretty, stainless steel manual defrost freezer. I’m beginning to think such a thing doesn’t exist.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a large (20 cubic feet) upright manual defrost freezer in anything but white. And finding one with a reversible door is practically impossible. Every one I’ve found that fits the bill (large, upright, manual defrost) has a non-reversible door, so they all open from the left to the right.

It’s fine, though. All of that is fine. I can deal with having a utilitarian-looking white freezer, and I can adjust to having a non-reversible door. So with all of that in mind, I finally chose this GE 20.9 cu. ft. Manual Defrost Upright Freezer in White. The reviews on it are great.

ge-upright-manual-defrost-freezer-side-view

ge-upright-manual-defrost-freezer-inside

But the final question is…

Do I really want to put it in my pretty new pantry? On my new hardwood floor? Where I’ll have to defrost it twice a year? I just don’t know.

On one hand, it would be so convenient having it in the pantry, especially since that’s where I plan to keep my vacuum sealer. On the other hand, designing the pantry around a big freezer has been way more of a challenge than I expected. It’s amazing how a 12 x 8 pantry suddenly feels very squished and cramped once you plan for a large freezer. Plus, we all know that I’m not a neat person. I’m quite messy, and I just don’t know that I trust myself to defrost a freezer twice a year on a hardwood floor.

The other option would be to put it in the garage, which is also very convenient to the kitchen.

At first I considered installing a door from the pantry into the storage room at the back of the garage. I thought that would be convenient to vacuum seal the food in the pantry, and then just step right outside the door there to stick it in the freezer.

freezer-location-1

The pros of that design are that it’s convenient to the pantry, and since the back storage room floor is the same level as the pantry floor, there would be no steps to navigate. The con is that having a door on that wall of the pantry would drastically reduce the amount of storage that I could build on that wall. Plus, it would add more work having to build a doorway, but it’s doable.

Another option would be putting it in the storage room, but having the access through the existing garage door, and creating an opening (a cased opening with no door) into the back storage room for easy access.

freezer-location-2

The pros to that idea are that I could build out the platform where the current steps are, so that I wouldn’t have to go up and down steps, and the freezer would still be out of the way in the in the storage room. The con is the same with the first option — I’d have to build a doorway into an existing load-bearing wall, but…been there, done that, and can certainly do it again.

The final option would be to put it right outside the door in the breakfast room.

freezer-location-3

The pros are that it would be the easiest option and there would be no construction necessary. The con is that I’d have to go up and down steps every time I want to put something in or take something out of the freezer. I’m not so lazy that I can’t walk up and down steps, but at the same time, I want things to be convenient.

So tell me your thoughts. Do you have a manual defrost freezer? And if so, where do you keep yours? How often do you defrost it? Do you find that it’s a messy process? Is it something that you would have no problem doing inside on a hardwood floor? Or would you only consider doing it on a concrete floor (e.g., in a garage)?

Talk to me, people! I have to make this decision ASAP! 😀



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133 Comments

  • Reply
    DWilkins
    October 11, 2016 at 9:27 am

    After seeing the disaster that water+hardwoods has done to my father’s house, I wouldn’t take the chance of defrosting on hardwoods – EVER, but that’s just me. I have no problem walking to a freezer around the corner or in the garage, it’s just not that big of a deal. To have your pantry laid out in a pleasing way both for functionality and aesthetics is the way to go. My vote is freezer out of the pantry…. good luck. It’s looking great.

  • Reply
    Hannah
    October 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

    How often to you vacuum and store food in the freezer? If it’s a weekly occurrence, then it might be more hassle to go to the storage room or garage, but if it’s once a month, it might not be so bad. Also, how much do you vacuum at one time? You might have to make multiple trips back and forth from the pantry to the freezer if it’s too much to carry at one time. And of course, you’ll always have to go to the storage room or garage every time you want something from the freezer, which I think you’ve mentioned is almost daily.

    I think I’m leaning towards leaving the freezer in the pantry. Pantry’s are meant for storage and ease of use, even though Pinterest might have gotten us to just think of them as just pretty. My parent’s freezer is in the basement, and it’s kind of a hassle to carry things thru the house and up and down stairs.

    Good luck with your conundrum!

  • Reply
    Cindy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

    In our kitchen, we have the usual refrigerator/ freezer configuration. It is in this freezer that I keep what we use most often, plus some extra frozen meat.

    In our garage, we have a small upright freezer. This is where we store the majority of the meat we buy in bulk, portions I have packaged away for later (similar to vacuum sealing), ice packs, and food I use very rarely.

    Maybe twice a month at most, I replenish our kitchen freezer. Usually I just take a large bowl and load it up with a bunch 1# ground meat packages, frozen chicken, etc., then fill our kitchen freezer.

    We have to defrost our upright freezer 1-2 times a year. It’s messy; I would be very nervous doing this on a hardwood floor.

    So all that is to say, having our upright freezer in our garage hasn’t been inconvenient at all, and it makes for stress-free defrosting. I think your intuition to keep your freezer out of your pantry is correct.

  • Reply
    Karen
    October 11, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I would stay true to your design and keep the freezer in the pantry, BUT I would find a ‘tray’ to put under it similar to the ones used under hot water heaters or washing machines.

    • Reply
      Madison
      October 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

      I think this is a smart choice!

    • Reply
      Dawn L
      October 11, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      I was going to suggest the same thing.

    • Reply
      Jens
      October 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      I would also agree with using a pan underneath the freezer and having it in the pantry. Home Depot has pans for washing machines which may be the same size as the freezer.

      • Reply
        Joyce
        October 11, 2016 at 11:01 pm

        I put a pan under our freezer when I defrost it, and it is still a mess because water sloshes out of it when I pick the pan up to dump it, or I leave the room for a bit while the freezer is defrosting only to return to water flowing over the top of the pan. My freezer is on a concrete floor in the basement so the floor is fine, but going up and down stairs every time I want something out of the freezer or when I return from the grocery store and need to put things away is a pain. If I were you, Kristie, I would keep the freezer in the pantry but tile the floor.

    • Reply
      elaine
      January 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      I like this idea the best too. you could use a wet dry vacume to suck up the water out of this pan… or you could have a drain installed. A drain in any room that there is the potential for water damage dt flooding seems like a good idea

  • Reply
    Kristi C
    October 11, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I have two manual defrost freezers, one chest (in the garage) and one upright (in the unfinished basement). Both require me to use steps (to the garage it’s just 3 and I’ve never even noticed). Yes, it’s a little annoying to have to go 50 steps to the basement or 100 steps to the garage, but it’s worth the food storage space for me (I cook entirely from scratch for 7 people daily). I would be pretty afraid to defrost an upright on a wood floor — unless there’s a different design out there, it all just runs however your floor slants (left or right) out the front. It’s hard to contain. A chest freezer would allow you to shop vac it out and not run on the floor, so that wouldn’t be an issue as far as i’m concerned. They do sell pans meant for washing machine leaks that you could set your upright freezer in to catch the runoff, but they aren’t very pretty and to get it clean and dry after defrosting may be a problem. To be honest, I only defrost once every year or two, but this fall i’m going to try the trick another commenter mentioned about spraying it with salt water. If that pans out, the water run off issue might not be a big deal. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Jeanne
    October 11, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I would not put the manual frost freezer on your hardwood from my experience from defrosting mine. It is a pain to keep the ice and frost that accumulates off the floor when defrosting. I think wherever you place it outside of the pantry you will be gaining valuable storage space in the pantry. I am sure you will solve the problem with what helps you!

  • Reply
    Peggy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:39 am

    We had a manual defrost upright freezer in our previous house. When we first moved there, it was in the garage. We’re in MS, so it would get pretty hot out there (about like TX!) After I renovated the mudroom, I had space for the freezer, so we moved it inside. I really liked the convenience of having it inside, although it wasn’t that much closer than in the garage! One thing that was a problem was that it occasionally leaked water on the floor. I can’t remember now what caused the leaking, and it was on ceramic tile, so that was ok. But on a wood floor? Eek! I know there are pans available for washers, but that would be pretty ugly!
    If you use a vacuum sealer and keep up with how long stuff is kept, I think a self-defrost can be ok.

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    October 11, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Do freezers produce a lot of heat/moisture from running? How would that do being in a small room? I feel like that might cause some of your other food goods to not last as long. I vote garage.

    • Reply
      Kristi
      October 11, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Hmmm…interesting question. I don’t know, and I actually hadn’t considered that.

      • Reply
        Carol
        October 11, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        Kristi, do you lose power very often there…..tornados, storms, whatever….when the power is off for very long (24 hrs. or more), the freezer will start defrosting on it’s own….not good on hardwood. I vote for the garage/storage room. Our freezer is in the garage, we defrost twice a year….in the spring and again in the fall, and it is a mess every time. We are going to do it next week and we are going to try the salt water spray and see what happens.

  • Reply
    Judy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I have an auto defrost in my standalone freezer and it’s great. I keep the freezer loaded, have never had to defrost manually with it, and the food keeps fine, never thaws out. I would never go back to a manual defrost. I had 20 yrs of doing that in my lab and it was a terrible job – water and ice chunks all over the floor, trying to find coolers or whatnot to keep stuff in while working on getting those ice chunks out – just not fun, and these were professional grade freezers. Consider the freezer in your regular refrigerator – manual or auto? Does it work for you?

    • Reply
      Kristi
      October 11, 2016 at 10:18 am

      It’s an auto defrost, and I have noticed some freezer burn. Even my ice gets freezer burn sometimes. 🙁 And nothing ruins a perfectly good glass of iced tea like freezer burned ice. 😀

      • Reply
        IreneAlack
        October 11, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        Kristi,
        If your frosrfree freezer is making food freezer burned and ice taste bad there maybe something wrong with the freezer
        Frost free means no or very little frost.
        We have had both types in our house in laundryroom. Do your self big favor and go frost free. The ice build up in Manuel freezer is a big messy pain to defrost, and yes the ice puts water all over floor when you defrost.
        Keep freezer in side house. Hot garage or storage shed will cause the freezer to heat up, and hot car pulled in a closed garage will make the freezer run alot. All the freezers in my garage aee always rusting and getting mildew from sweating in hot garage.
        Best thing I ever did was switch to selfdefrost inside of house.. convenient to get food packages in and out of anytime.
        My husband and I run a refrigeration business in Hammond La
        So best wayto go is self defrost in the pantry.

    • Reply
      Debbie
      October 11, 2016 at 10:39 am

      I used to have a manual freezer in my garage. The ice build up would get so bad that it took up room to put you meat so would rearrange not to mention food getting stuck in the ice. Then you have to get coolers to put your stuff in while you defrosted. Buckets to put the ice in. I would put pots of hot water inside to spread it up & lots of towels. It’s a hugh hassel. Lots more than going a few steps. Auto defrost is the only way, especially as I get older. Make sure to date & rotate your meat & you won’t have freezer burn. Any meat that does get burned my husband turns into jerky & he loves that. Can I ask what brand sealer you use?

  • Reply
    roberta
    October 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Hallo o Kristi,

    It would be such a Pity to reduce the space in the Breakfast room don´t you think?
    I vote for the doorway Pantry –> Storage.
    I think it is more practical for deefrosting. 🙂

    • Reply
      Dee Miles
      October 11, 2016 at 10:34 am

      You have your hands full with so many things, defrosting your freezer shouldn’t be one of them! Get a stainless auto defrost and a tray for underneath and put it in your pantry. I’d almost still add a door from the pantry to the storage room so that you could expand your storage for other things without having to walk through the garage to get there.

    • Reply
      IreneAlack
      October 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      What an eye score a big old freezer would be sitting in your new pretty breakfast room.
      Pantry is meant for storage . Freezer in there would be be fine.if it is selfdefrost. No worry about water .
      I put old plastic table cloths and towels down to clean out about once twice year to rotate older stuff

  • Reply
    Golda
    October 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Defrosting is a messy job – you will always have some water run where you don’t want it. I’ve been married 51 years and have had both and I’ll take frost free every time. I have my big freezer (frost-free) in the garage – I don’t use it every day – I keep the things I use the most in the freezer part of the refrigerator in the kitchen. As far as things keeping longer without freeze drying, it won’t happen if you rotate your frozen goods regularly – I don’t always do that and I have overbought on frozen stuff way to many times and it ruined because we didn’t eat it – not because it was in a frost free freezer. I’ve had my current freezer 5 years and haven’t had to defrost it yet whereas a “defrost” type would have had to be done 10 times

  • Reply
    Justin
    October 11, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Honestly, modern fridges and freezers are so much more efficient that I’d say it’s totally worth the extra power for the self-defrosting feature. You’re already dealing with an upright, which is supposedly less efficient than a chest (because in theory, opening a chest, the cool air sinks and stays in the freezer better). I think you’d be splitting hairs. Also, a full freezer works more efficiently than an empty one because all the frozen items act like ice packs in a cooler. They often tell you to fill an empty freezer with bowls of water and it’ll cool-down faster and run more efficiently.

    Also, this thing about freezer burn doesn’t make much sense as long as you’re wrapping your items well. Freezer burn is caused by air getting to the surface of the food and dehydrating it and ice crystals forming on the surface of the food. The only reason that process would be sped-up by a self-defrosting unit is because it intentionally dehydrates the air (if you’ve ever seen ice cubes whittle away to nothing in a self-defrosting freezer, you’ve seen this at work). As long as all of your food is as airtight as possible and you press plastic firmly against wrapped items and get as much air out of zip-top bags as possible (look up the submersion method of doing this), freezer burn should be limited. If you’re planning to store stuff for more than a couple of months at a time before eating them and you want extra insurance, invest in a vacuum sealer and your problem is solved.

    Here’s something else (from personal experience with my chest freezer)… Manual defrosting only really works well with seasonal eating–meaning you’re going to fill the freezer for a season (say winter) and eat it down by spring so you can empty and defrost it. If you don’t work that way (which most of us don’t–we shop at Cosco, we don’t hunt and fish), you’re going to find you need to do a defrost with a full freezer of stuff and you’ll have nowhere to keep it for 24 hours while the freezer defrosts.

    All that said, if you do still want the manual defrost model, I have some ideas. 🙂 I believe they make plastic trays designed to go under washing machines that might fit under your freezer. They typically have a drain plug that you can connect a small plastic hose to and you could run that hose through a hole in the floor or wall to the outside or into the plumbing system. That’d let you do a defrost with peace of mind.

    As for color/design. I can’t tell from the photos, but is that model you’re looking at smooth? If so, why not paint the door and make an interesting-looking replacement handle? You could use rustoleum spray–maybe even one of the metallic ones. Or, maybe you could make a panel to cover the door and, so you don’t have to drill into the unit, attach it with a pile of those ridiculously strong magnets they sell on Amazon (trust me, they won’t move). I actually thought of doing that for a side panel on our fridge so we could have a corkboard without doing major construction.

    • Reply
      Sindy
      October 11, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Yes and definitely yes! Go with the auto-defrost in the pantry against the left wall :)!

    • Reply
      Kimberly
      October 11, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Kristi, as far as freezer-burned iced cubes – not sure if you’re using ice for your tea from an automatic ice-maker, or if you’re making cubes yourself in a tray from spring or purified water. My refrigerator’s ice-maker is not hooked up because I’m in an old, crappy apartment in L.A. and there’s no water line for an ice-maker. What I do is make my own ice cubes from spring water, and I use covered ice cube trays like these https://www.amazon.com/Komax-Cube-Tray-No-spill-Cover/dp/B00SM7BMPA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1476229401&sr=8-4&keywords=COVERED+ICE+CUBE+TRAY specifically so the cubes don’t get freezer burned or pick up freezer taste or odors. There are other types of covered ice cube trays on the market, I liked these because they close tightly.

      Also, to keep them from whittling away to nothing as Justin says, I then place the cubes in a vacuum sealed container like this one https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Pet-Container-Square-4-Liter/dp/B0084B2EUG/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1476229757&sr=1-1&keywords=OXO+Good+Grips+POP+Big+Square+4-Quart+Storage+Container, which also serves the purpose of freeing up the covered trays so I can make more spring water ice cubes! So far, it seems to work really well; I’m not getting smelly, weird-tasting, or freezer burned cubes!

      As for the freezer and where to put it, if it were me, I’d get a frost-free in the style I want and put it where you originally intended, inside that gorgeous pantry. If you are set on a manual defrost, then put it where it’s most convenient for you to get to, as long as it’s on concrete floors for defrosting purposes.

      The few times you’ve mentioned the freezer, reader Ishtar has made some wonderful comments with great information not only on the differences between a manual and an auto defrost freezer, but also on how to most easily defrost a manual freezer. Please read her (his?) comments which spoke to the easiest, fastest, least-messy way to manually defrost. Still, sounds to me that the best place to manually defrost a freezer would be anywhere that’s NOT your new hardwood floors!

      Best of luck making this decision; I’m sure you’ll come up with the right one for you!

    • Reply
      CL hays
      October 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      I agree with what Justin says. If you are packing your own you are air sealing it. Go for the frost free. I have anew refrigerator and I really think the freezer in it is an improvement over my old. I have manual chest outside and I would never defrost that thing inside and they are definitely less messy than upright.

  • Reply
    Andrea
    October 11, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I will say this regarding refrigerators & dishwashers on hardwood…totally horrible! Last year we discovered that our dishwasher (that was only 6 years old) was leaking only because we found water dripping in our basement directly below the dishwasher. The floors were totally destroyed. Then three weeks ago, we again found water dripping in our basement directly below our refrigerator (which was also only 6 years old) instead. Again, floors beyond destroyed. And still TBD on how the subfloor will look. But now we have to pull up all the damaged floor again…have our whole first level sanded and sealed so it matches and is even. I will never ever in a billion years put hardwood under appliances in a home. I am sure many others have had no issues but to have major damage twice within two years is just crazy. So defrosting on hardwood just sounds like a no go to me based on my recent experience and I am glad you are thoughtfully considering that as a concern.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Consider a chest freezer in the storage area. Mine was a manual one and I cleaned it out 1x year. The key to efficiency is to keep the freezer full. If I did not have enough food, I would fill up empty 2L soda bottles with water and freeze to fill.

    Having your freezer in the storage space would allow SO much more space for appliances and stocking up on canned items etc. I agree with Golda… You need to label things well, keep a running list of what you have in there and rotate.

  • Reply
    Marilee
    October 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

    We have a manual defrost freezer in the garage. It’s on concrete and it does get messy when you defrost it. If it were me, I wouldn’t put it on your new hardwood floors. Naturally, I also have a freezer with my fridge, so we use the garage freezer for meat storage and for extra things that I buy in bulk at Sams or Cosco. It’s just right outside the door of the mud room and quite handy,( like your’s would be). Just those few steps to get meat or butter are quick and easy and I don’t have that bulky freezer in my way and taking up all that space. When I defrost I wait until my supply is low in the house and put most of the frozen in the house freezer, use a hair dryer to help defrost the coils in the freezer and in about 45 minutes it’s all done and ready to be repacked! I think you would be much happier with the freezer somewhere besides the new pantry.

    • Reply
      Angie
      October 11, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I agree! Do not put it in the pantry! Storage room OR garage!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    October 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I would stick to your original plan! Get the pretty stainless steel one. Freezer burn is caused by air in you storage bags. If you are vacuum sealing items there is little chance of freezer burn. You have a beautiful plan…I would not over think it!

    • Reply
      terrillr
      October 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      That’s what I was thinking, vacuum seal and auto defrost. However, if you go with manual, just outside your garage to house door would still be pretty convenient.

  • Reply
    Kim
    October 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I have a manual defrost freezer in my garage. I do walk out there to get meat for dinner etc…no biggie. I defrost once a year. I do it in early summer…take all out and let it defrost in the heat. I am able to just let the water run out. Then i just wipe out. It is messy but does not take long. Outside is more convenient for this. Right outside your door is no further than walking to pantry…do it!

  • Reply
    Olof Davidsdottir
    October 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I have a manual defrost. It has been in my laundry room for years. I defrost it twice a year. As for watery mess, it depends on where the water comes out. Mine has a spout on front, an inch above the floor and that is not convenient. I put a baking sheet with raised edges under there when defrosting. Most of the ice falls off inside the freezer and I pick it up before the ice melts. So there are no puddles on the floor, only splashes of water which I dry up right away. I put hot water in bowls inside the freezer meanwhile so the whole process takes less than 2 hours.

    An option for you to keep the freezer in the pantry is to remove the hardwood where the freezer will be and put tiles there instead.

    If it was my pantry, I would not put cabinets to the left of the freezer like you have taped in on the photo. I’d either have a tall cabinet to the left of the freezer with pull out shelves attached to a single door front for all and leave the floor empty in front of it and the freezer. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8f/df/e9/8fdfe98fe2bb0cceff4768cb77ec1408.jpg To the right of the freezer I would have a butcher block table on wheels that I could pull out to access the corner cabinet.

    Congratulations on the pantry!

  • Reply
    Arlene
    October 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Definitely go with auto-defrost – it’s worth it. I do a lot of canning, freezing and preserving our own food and we pack our two freezers full every year. My husband hunts, so we also have plenty of venison in there. I have not had a problem with freezer burn. Our freezers are in the basement and I am 54 years old and so far, it is not a problem to go up and down a whole flight of steps, even carrying a cookie sheet loaded with boxes of fresh-off-the-ear sweetcorn or homemade applesauce, etc. I’ve had the manual defrost and it is messy. Plain and simple. And a lot of work. I would choose garage for the freezer, but I don’t live in the Texas heat either. I wouldn’t place it on wood floor, for sure.

  • Reply
    Emy
    October 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I’ve had a manual defrost freezer for about 2 years now and I’ve never had to defrost it. One time the breaker flipped and we didn’t notice until too late so it “defrosted” itself I guess, but it didn’t need it. It’s nothing like the freezers from the past where you had to scrape at it until it defrosted. It was a chore that I had as a child and I remember my knuckles getting scraped up.
    If it freezes outside in the winter where you live, it’s not recommended to keep it in a garage. We did for 1 season and it was fine, but you’re in Texas so you’ll probably be fine.

  • Reply
    Winnie
    October 11, 2016 at 10:03 am

    My upright freezer is downstairs, and like others, I keep frequently used items in the upstairs refrig/freezer and just refill from
    downstairs as needed. I also use a vacuum sealer and have never had a problem with freezer burn. I would never even consider
    manual defrost – especially with wood floors. I remember the mess my Mom had defrosting her manual. I would definitely recommend
    placing the freezer in either the pantry or garage…why take up space in the breakfast room when you have options ? And as Justin suggested -paint it if you don’t want white. My bottom line would be auto-defrost and placed in pantry or garage (probably pantry since I know you want
    to build a workshop in the garage.

  • Reply
    Charlene
    October 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Hi Kristi, I have an auto defrost freezer and I don’t notice freezer burn on our food. My husband is a hunter, so food stays in our freezer for long periods of time.

    I’m sure during lab tests, the manual freezer allows the food to stay longer. But, it would be nice to have realistic figures? 1 week longer? 1 month longer?

    My vote is to keep it indoors. I believe in my manual it doesn’t recommend keeping the freezer outdoors (in garage). However, you weather isn’t as extreme as ours in Michigan.

    • Reply
      Charlene
      October 11, 2016 at 10:32 am

      I take that back, your summers get really hot which is difficult for a freezer to work efficiently.

  • Reply
    Sheila F.
    October 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

    My Manuel defrost freezer is in my basement. I defrost about 1 x per year. But it is packed most of the time. Which cuts down on the need to defrost. I am not certain with this model but, mine has a place to attach a garden hose. I run this to the drain in the floor and close the door. 24 hours later my freezer is defrosted and dry. No leaks on the floor. Could you run a hose out of the garage? If you keep it in the pantry you could lay some plastic sheeting and an old towel for any possible drips.

  • Reply
    becky
    October 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

    What about putting the door from the pantry to the storage area, but making that door have shelves? Sort of like a “hidden door” like this. https://www.themurphydoor.com/store/image/cache/data/FlushMount/flush-mount-grey-700×700.jpg

  • Reply
    Jessica
    October 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Hi! I have never commented but have been a reader since you bought your house. I love your blog! I thought I’d comment on this post for two reasons: 1. a friend had a door from the garage that opened right into their breakfast room and the smells from the garage (gas, exhaust, etc) were awful coming into the breakfast room/kitchen. She had a fairly new car, too. I’m not sure if you plan to park in the garage but keeping that pantry door and entering from the garage to the pantry would be something to consider. 2. We had a fridge that sprung a leak in the freezer and it warped 4-5 boards in our kitchen and it was a pain to replace! We had to remove the fridge, take out the boards, etc etc. Whatever you decide is up to you, of course but thought I’d comment! Keep up the inspiring work!

  • Reply
    Sue
    October 11, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I have a chest type freezer that is manual defrost. We need to upgrade and want an upright. Our kitchen is not large enough for this appliance so we keep it in the garage. Not ideal but we make it work.

    I think in your case a self-defrost is a good idea and you might want to check into a rubber tray to put your freezer in, just in case. Also, you’ve planned your pantry around it so is it going to be that big of a deal if you get a white freezer? I think convenience vs color is your choice here. Make it easy on yourself for use.

  • Reply
    kepalm
    October 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

    If you put it in the garage, will it be able to keep the interior cold enough during a hot summer in Texas?

  • Reply
    Bobbie
    October 11, 2016 at 10:21 am

    My house is 12 years old with modern type electrical wiring. I live in Mississippi with 100 degree days In summer. I tried having a freezer in the garage and on hot days the circuit kept turning off.

  • Reply
    Robbyn Mendleski
    October 11, 2016 at 10:22 am

    An option to consider, you could purchase a drain pan – similar to those under water heaters – but made for washing machines and set the freezer on it. It has a drain pipe opening to which a hose can be attached to remove water from the pan. Will give you the freezer in the pantry and the floor will be safe.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Camco-30-in-x-32-in-Washing-Machine-Drain-Pan-with-PVC-Fitting-20752/204220159

  • Reply
    vi
    October 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    i have two 16 cubic ft manual defrost freezers, one upright and one chest, we keep them in the basement where water won’t matter. we found that defrosting can be messy. and we defrost when we think of it…..sometimes yearly, sometimes every other year.
    if it was me, i would put a platform in the garage to walk out on and put the freezer on (the hose attachment is on the bottom of the freezers) ….now i do batch cooking and also stock up on sales packaging for the freezer, along with garden surplus, and make aheads for the holidays, so i have a lot going into the freezer at once normally. we use bags to carry the packages and containers down the the freezers.
    i hope this helps…. my upright freezer was purchased in 1981, and the chest freezer was purchased in 2011. (freezers last a very long time) one thing i would suggest, is make sure you have some sort of alarm for electricity and also if the door is slightly open.

  • Reply
    Skt4me
    October 11, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I’ve had both. Stick to your original idea and go with auto defrost. Why defrost if you don’t have to? Seal your food well, and don’t leave the door hanging open. You will be glad to have it in the pantry. “Everyone” thinks their space is never big enough. You will be fine! Convenience trumps in this case!

  • Reply
    Lorna
    October 11, 2016 at 10:28 am

    One thing you are not considering: how easy it is to dump your frozen groceries in the freezer when you come home from the store. That could balance out how easy it is to get stuff out. Mine is in the garage. Works for me.

  • Reply
    janpartist
    October 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I’ve thought all along if it were me I’d have a pass through to the storage room, but it’s your house, I have no idea what would be better for you.

  • Reply
    CathyR
    October 11, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I always say that the romance with my self defrosting freezer is still going strong. My young coworkers look at me strangely. A freezer in a hot garage is going to make it work harder as well. I would put a frost free one in my my pantry and wrap everything well. I love my vacuum sealer as well. And the point of removing all the food to defrost is well taken. Why add a lot of extra hoo-ha to your to do list?

  • Reply
    Brandy
    October 11, 2016 at 10:35 am

    It will be SO much more convenient to have your freezer in the pantry. Like I think you will love it. Sometimes we have to sacrifice the esthetics of what we’ve planned in our head to downright convenience. And this is a big convenience to me, one worth sacrificing!! But that’s just my two cents 🙂

  • Reply
    Julie
    October 11, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Auto-defrost might be the way to go with hardwood. Going out on a limb here design wise but maybe a chest freezer in the pantry might be better for the configuration you have in mind. I’m picturing a chest freezer in the corner you have taped out, BUT, creating a countertop that is hinged / placed on top of it so that you have additional counterspace, and allowing you room for shelving / storage above. If you really do a lot of food storage, I think it would be easier to have some prep space right in the pantry. Knowing your skills you could frame out a chest freezer to “blend in” to the rest of your cabinets. You wouldn’t have to worry about white versus stainless steel!!

  • Reply
    April S
    October 11, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Have you thought about putting the freezer on the right side of the pantry, so that the door opens to the wall? You could still leave a gap for a tall slide out cabinet. I have an auto defrost freezer, works very good. If you are set on manual defrost could you place it on a drip pan (like for a washing machine) to help protect your floor?

  • Reply
    chiflipper
    October 11, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Yes, you ARE over-thinking this decision. Get an auto defrost for your pantry and be done with it.

    • Reply
      Sue2
      October 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

      I agree with the above assessment, plus, don’t bother with spending the extra money on stainless steel. Make sure though that your freezer will fit in the door space from the breakfast room to the pantry instead of building around it😁.

  • Reply
    Susan C
    October 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

    My mom has two uprights in her small pantry/laundry with no heat issues. My upright is in my garage just outside the kitchen. Mine stays so dirty on the top and sides and front!! Would love to have it inside. Cleaning it just isn’t part of my cleaning routine. Frost-free all the way!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    October 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I’ve had manual chest freezers for 30 years, either in the basement or garage. Since they take up quite a bit of space that has worked best and is not inconvenient at all (frequently used items are kept in the kitchen fridge/freezer).

    It doesn’t take that long to defrost with my latest method. I just pour a bit of hot tap water to loosen the ice on the sides. Then I use a windshield scraper to dislodge the ice chunks. After gathering up the ice pieces that fall to the bottom, I just shop vac the small amount of water and finish wiping dry with a towel. I can never get it done without some water on the floor though.

    I do try to time my clean out when it’s not beastly hot. I just unload the freezer food into laundry baskets or boxes, whatever is handy. They don’t thaw that much in that time, but if some of the packages start to sweat they are easily wiped off as I sort stuff back into place.

    All that said, I would opt for an upright with automatic defrost and keep it in the garage. That way you can buy a cheaper white model, have your food more organized, not worry about leaks, and have more time for other projects (since you won’t need to defrost).

  • Reply
    Jim
    October 11, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I would put the freezer in the garage.

    Keep any defrosting, ice chips, mess, outside.

    Might stub in some wiring for outlets now in the pantry storage room in cases you change your mind. Could even frame in a door and then cover it up. If you change mind can just pull off drywall and add door.

    Steps could be problem when carrying things. Maybe hand rails or some reminder not to fall!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    October 11, 2016 at 10:46 am

    My freezer has been in the garage for 24 years, and I walk through our family room and down two steps. Easy, even if I access it several times a day or once a month now that our kids are grown. As a kid, we had a huge freezer in a “can” house with all my mom’s home canned vegetables. That was a short hike:) Regardless of freezer type, I’d not put it in the new pantry, hardwood floor hazards included. Shelf space is a precious commodity. In our garage, I found that adding only one step to change the rise, and widening steps to 12 inches made my garage errands a nonissue-if one has the space to do so. Space providing, you might also consider building a platform integrated as your top step (like a “landing”) for your freezer in the garage. Rotate the freezer 90 degrees so you open the garage from your breakfast room entry, turn right and you are facing the door of the freezer to open it, rather than facing freezer door toward the vast expanse of your garage. It also alleviates opening the freezer door toward a car or other items in garage. If you vacuum seal several pkgs at a time, they transport nicely in a plastic carry bin for one quick trip and a freezer worthy bin can be used on your freezer shelf to sort and stay organized.

  • Reply
    Linda
    October 11, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I agree with so many others here. I would NEVER put
    my freezer on my new hardwood floor. I would put it in garage and I would also do manual defrost. Our chest freezer is in garage right outside kitchen door, and I only defrost it once a year. I just use from kitchen freezer until it empty it, then load up from garage freezer. I would hate for something to happen, and you have to re-do your hardwood floors ittn pantry

  • Reply
    Dale
    October 11, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I vote to reconsider a auto defrost freezer. I wouldn’t put a manual defrost on a wood floor. I also would hesitate to put the freezer in your garage because you don’t have air conditioning in there. We have our freezer in the basement and it is ok because it is always cool down there.

  • Reply
    Sewducky
    October 11, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Crazy Lazy Idea…Leave or move the sunroom door, Install freezer in sunroom tile under that later. You’ve already planned to leave the floorspace for a freezer infront of it. If you don’t want a freezer in the living room, move it to the laundry (which could be tiled) and the door remains for easy access later.

    Overall moving it to storage/garage is best if you are staying with a manual. The door swing, the lack of “pretty”, and easy defrosting. I was thinking you could install it on a little 2X4 cart on a washer tray so you wheel it to the garage door, hook up a hose to the tray and let it melt. The issue for that it is 30″x34″x72″ you’d have difficulty in each direction you’d move it, with only 6″ of height to work within, and a double door, just to have it sit at the door into your garage still on your hardwoords.

    Another idea make a tiled dogwashing/mop sink near a freezer area in the storage. Latrer add a door/pass thru to access from the pantry.

  • Reply
    Marty Gish
    October 11, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Well, Kristy, I have had a manual defrost upright freezer for a while…It is in my laundry room in the basement, which does have a vinyl floor…but I have never had a watery mess when defrosting. Mine has a place in the front, right at the bottom, to screw a hose hook up into, and the water drains right into a pan. Yes, I have to use a flat pan (because water doesn’t run uphill) But I keep an eye on it, empty that into a bucket along with the ice that comes off….I never chip at the ice, it just falls off, or I can pull it off after a while. I would just put a big piece of plastic over my floor, some towels and go to town. And I only defrost about once a year, if that. Usually when its cold enough I can set the food in the garage and not worry about it defrosting. The heat in the house by then helps with the defrosting. Good luck with your decision. Jeepers, now I realize I need to defrost my freezer! LOL

  • Reply
    Bobbi Jo
    October 11, 2016 at 10:54 am

    The energy efficiency you would gain in a manual defrost will be lost putting a freezer in the garage or storage area unless it is insulated and air conditioned. I live in MN and we have our chest freezer in the garage, it runs constantly in the summer on our few HOT days. I think it would be very hard for a freezer to keep up in TX heat.

    • Reply
      Buckle
      October 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      I agree! In southern heat, a freezer in conditioned air trumps energy use for defrosting. I also vote autodefrost models. I think it’s more important to rotate your food through your storage than worry about keeping it forever!

  • Reply
    Ellen
    October 11, 2016 at 10:59 am

    What about putting a pan, like the ones used in under washers in a up-stairs area, under the freezer. You could probably paint it to match the flooring.

  • Reply
    marcia
    October 11, 2016 at 11:01 am

    in garage for sure – convenient coming and going–never never manual unit on hardwood floors

  • Reply
    Teresa
    October 11, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Once upon a time, we had a manual defrost freezer and hated it. We switched it out for an auto defrost and much preferred the convenience. We tend to rotate through our freezer stock fairly regularly, so freezer burn hasn’t really been a problem. As for placement, ours is right outside the garage door. Yes, we have a couple of steps to navigate, but we navigate them for recycling and getting into the cars regularly anyway. What’s another trip a day?

  • Reply
    Mrs PoP
    October 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Where can your husband also get to it in his wheelchair? That’s where I’d put it! After all, what if he desperately needed a popsicle and you weren’t home? =)

  • Reply
    Elizabeth A
    October 11, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Our freezer is in the garage and I don’t find it to be a hassle at all because my freezer things are put away before the rest of the groceries make it in the house. I then take things out once a week and put them in the kitchen freezer. It works for us that way.

    As a side note, my husband hates that the freezer is in the garage. In his mind it is a waste of energy and hard on equipment in the summer (we are in Oklahoma so we have similar climates).

    What is you move the freezer from the left side of the pantry to the right? Then the door opens “correctly” and with the suggested tray above you won’t any water damage to the floor.

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

    We have a manual defrost freezer and I find it a huge pain in the butt. Before it needs defrosting I always say we’re going to eat out of it, but it never happens, so I am always stuck figuring out what to do with a freezer full of food while the freezer is defrosting. If it’s cold enough in the winter I can stick it in the snow, but that’s not an option for you. In the summer I worry about the food spoiling. I truly regret purchasing it. It just adds one more unpleasant chore to my already busy life.

  • Reply
    Brad W.
    October 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Kristi – we’ve had a chest freezer in the basement and then an upright out in the garage. I have found that both kick out a lot of heat. We moved the chest out of the basement and it dramatically cooled things down for the rest of our food storage. Check that out first. We have the same GE freezer you are considering and have not had a minutes problem with it. BUT as the weather gets warmer here in Utah in the summer, the condensation periodically (like once a year) melts and then it’s all over the cement garage floor. Not a problem out there. Good luck.

  • Reply
    Julia
    October 11, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I have had both manual and auto defrost freezers. Please believe me….get the auto defrost, especially if you are going to put it in the pantry. I freeze quite a lot, and I have not noticed a huge amount of freezer burn. It usually occurs when the food has been kept past its “freezer prime” date or not packaged correctly. The most important thing is to pack the food carefully. Invest in a good vacuum packaging system for those foods like meat and items that will be held in the freezer for longer periods of time. I have a Kenmore stainless steel freezer in my laundry room which I love. I replaced my manual defrost freezer with this one about a year ago after a particularly messy afternoon of emptying the freezer, trying to keep the frozen food viable, cleaning the floor as it leaked the water, boiling water to put in the freezer to melt the ice…and on and on and on. NO…..KRYSTI…..STEP AWAY FROM THE MANUAL DEFROSTNG MONSTERS!!! Whew…..glad I got that out of my system.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    October 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    As far as energy costs there isn’t that much difference. In the garage it will have to work harder in the summer which is more wear on your compressor. Get a pan. Seal the floor underneath it. Maybe a sheet of vinyl that looks like wood for extra protection. No one is going to see under your freezer. I think you’ll be a lot happier with it in the pantry. Have you looked at the 18cf’s. Not that much difference. I went from 14 to 18 and that was a little bigger.

  • Reply
    Ann
    October 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I used to have a manual freezer, and it was a pain taking everything out to defrost and clean. We now have a self-defrost, and it’s kept in the garage area. I don’t store things to keep longer than a year. With the cement flooring, no worry with drips on my hardwoods. I keep our most often used foods, like frozen fruit and packaged meats for weekly meals in the freezer section of our fridge. I pull things from the outside freezer and restock as needed into the freezer section of my fridge. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes to do so. It certainly leaves more room in the pantry for my more often used items like large baking dishes, specialty pans and storage items.

  • Reply
    MonW
    October 11, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I suspect I have a manual defrost upright freezer.
    When we bought it, it was in our laundry room(south of you) and moved with us to the current house(north of you) and lives in the garage beside the water heater.

    Defrosting- ours has a drain and tiny little drain hose to barely reach a roasting pan to hold the melt and needs to be dumped repeatedly. Meanwhile, the door catches and drools melt onto the floor while it is open.
    I keep meaning to measure the teeny hose, hiding under the front grill and create a longer adapter to hook to a bigger hose to direct the water to the grass, but, well…

    You do not say how often you will open the freezer, which allows moisture and warm air in to create frost build up. More open door= more inches of frost.

    So, have a dedicated hose with adapter, maybe the water pan under the freezer and a dedicated screwdriver to loosen the screws for the front base panel to reach the hose, if your model has one.

    The other thing that occurred to me, plan for the replacement freezer in the distant future, size will change. All those 60s era built-ins died and the new appliances wouldn’t fit.

  • Reply
    sis2
    October 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I never liked the plan where the freezer was in the corner. When I open my upright freezer (which opens left to right), I stand slightly to the left of the handle and then stand in front of the freezer to look inside. With the freezer in the corner, you don’t have that option. You have to stand in front of the freezer and then step back as you open it. It’s awkward. I don’t like the idea of the garage because of the heat in the summer.

    Is there any way you can put in in the breakfast room but recess it into the garage so that the door is flush with the inside wall? Then it would be easy access but not stick out into the room.

    • Reply
      Dale
      October 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      this is a great idea!! Auto frost though!

  • Reply
    Linda
    October 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

    For me it would come down to ease and convenience which would mean auto defrost in the pantry. Just my two cents.

  • Reply
    Sheri
    October 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Do not defrost on a hardwood floor. It is impossible to keep the floor dry. Another argument for a auto defrost freezer is that you have to put all that food somewhere while you are defrosting. Do you have large coolers to keep it in?

  • Reply
    Alice
    October 11, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I am astonished you are considering a manual defrost freezer. I have horrid memories of ice buildup, taking a hammer and chisel to get rid of the glaciers, the water that ends up on the floor. NOT TO MENTION that, unless you have NOTHING BETTER to do, manuel defrosting is a waste of time. And as earlier responders mentioned, what do you do with the food while you are defrosting. Go with state of the art, choose an Energy Star product and spend your time in more worthwhile pursuits.

  • Reply
    Heather
    October 11, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Our current manual defrost freezer is in the basement. I would highly recommend the manual defrost, food lasts so much longer!! However, we are moving soon and it will be in our pantry. I can’t wait to have it right next to the kitchen!! We defrost ours maybe once a year. The process is time consuming, but easy and not too messy. I clean out the food, scrape out the loose stuff, fill it with empty buckets and let them fill up. I usually also put a big towel at the bottom, and one on the floor. I check on it every hour or so and replace the towel if needed and move buckets around, cookie sheets also work great. It does take a long time but I usually don’t get more than a few drips on the floor.

  • Reply
    JILL NELSON
    October 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Reading so many comments, I debated adding my own but here it goes. I have had a chest freezer 30+ years. Always a manual defrost. I’ve never defrosted more than once a year – if that (family of 5). Yes, it’s relatively messy but no, it’s not that bad, it doesn’t take that long and you don’t have to walk away from it for hours waiting for the build up to melt risking your floors. Remove the food, keep the doors open, use a shop vac to deal with water – a few rags for the last of it. Done. I have had an upright freezer for the last 2 years and the process is the same. It’s just not a big deal. Personally, I would choose the space that is the most convenient for you with no concern about cleaning/water/hard wood floors. I do not feel my freezer produces that much heat. It’s much more economical and cooler to run than my older chest style. I have to run to our basement to get things from my freezer – if I had your choice I would absolutely put it in the pantry. There’s a big difference between being lazy and having your home set up for convenience!

  • Reply
    Ishtar
    October 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    A couple thoughts:
    – I know you want a shop in the garage. I’m a sawdust girl too, and I used to have my freezer in the garage, until the saw dust burned out the compression coils. Saw dust is a great insulator, and it gets everywhere, even with a decent shopvac system. It’s bad for freezers.
    – Do you have air-conditioning? I don’t know how humid your climate gets, but if you’re going manual, ideally you’d want it in conditioned space, not outdoor/humid space.
    – If you’re vacuum packing everything anyways, frost free is less of an issue, because you’ve got less air get to it. Your ice and ice-cream will still burn though.
    – I have my manual on a laminate floor (even worse when it gets wet, because it ruins IMMEDIATELY instead of ‘after a while’ like hardwood). I don’t have an issue cleaning mine out without a mess, with the salt water method I described earlier. And I doesn’t take crazy long like 24 hours like some of the comments say either. And hour or two, start to finish. I don’t mind doing it… are you going to mind? That’s the big issue here.
    – I almost wish you had a bigger pantry LOL… I wish you could keep it in there AND have more room without annoying corner cabinets. You need a 12×12 round pantry…

  • Reply
    Peggy Talley Rickard
    October 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I do HOPE you move that freezer into the garage and leave the footprint of the pantry in a beautiful design. And Forget the manual defroster. It is an aggravation that no one needs. Plus, it is messy and time-consuming.

  • Reply
    Jules
    October 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    This may have been mentioned but if anything falls out of that freezer it’s going to put a dent in your hardwoods. I know from experience.

  • Reply
    HeatherB
    October 11, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I think is completely up to you for how you use it and live, but I will say that if it was my decision to make, I would not have the freezer in the pantry with hardwoods, no matter the kind of freezer and DEFINITELY not a manual defrost. Drips from our dishwasher and leaks from the fridge have confirmed to me that I will never have wood floors in an area with water appliances.

    That said, I think putting it in the garage is just as accessible as the pantry (although the up and down steps thing stinks) and makes a lot more sense. If you are doing a lot of vacuum storing, load up a bowl or tray to deliver the goods back and forth. I tend to keep a month’s worth of meals in my kitchen freezer, so would only be going back and forth once or twice a month…no biggie in my book. And even if you open it daily, it still isn’t that much more inconvenient than the pantry.

    Bonus: pantry gets to be entirely pretty/function (as opposed to having a freezer there, which is just function), and you get the extra storage 🙂

  • Reply
    Paige
    October 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I didn’t read all the comments so I apologize if this is a repeat! How about a pass through on the pantry/storage room wall with closable door. The freezer can be in the storage room and you would only have 1 trip to that room and pull food through the pass-thrust to store. You could also keep a recycling bin on the storage side and access it through the pantry. My freezer is in the garage and its been easy to access, steps and all😀

  • Reply
    Laurie
    October 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I know you never shy away from moving/building walls etc. so what about an alcove at the end of the pantry out into the garage (instead of a door). That way the freezer can be flush with the wall and will look better (I think) but not interfere with the cabinetry and if that’s the only thing on that wall your corner cabinets will be fully accessible. And it frees up the space where you were originally planning to put your freezer.

  • Reply
    Suesan Kennard
    October 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I would put it in the storage room and do a pocket door between them so you can have access but not deal with the door swing.

  • Reply
    Marcia
    October 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    If someone offered to give me a free manual defrost, I’d politely tell them they could keep it!

  • Reply
    Linda
    October 11, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    I would never put a manual defrost freezer or refrigerator on a hardwood floor – this is a disaster in waiting. Either go with an auto-defrost in stainless steel for your pantry and keep up with rotating your food or put a manual defrost one outside – why on earth would you want to manually defrost a freezer no matter the cons? Use your ice maker inside for ice and rotate your foods and forget the manual defrosting – you will hate that you did that to yourself – it’s a really crummy thing to have to do.

  • Reply
    PML
    October 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I’m ignoring all the other comments so this may be a repeat but here goes…

    If you are using a vacuum sealer, I doubt you are going to have an issue with freezer burn. Unless you are a hunter and want to store meat for a few years, or preserve food from a large garden, I’m thinking you are going to be rotating your supply of frozen foods pretty often. Therefore, I suggest you reconsider the whole manual freezer. 😬

    I also would like to suggest that all prep work be done in the kitchen. Your food items that need to be frozen may possibly be in the fridge before you get to the freezing part. And that’s just going to be a mess and a pain to go back and forth. I’d do all prep and cooking etc in the kitchen, with the pantry and freezer for storage only. Just my two cents. 😀

  • Reply
    Rebecca Francis
    October 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    My vote is to NOT put it in you pantry. I think it is too ugly (sorry) to put in there. I vote for the garage or back storage room. If you have to build a door have you thought about using a pocket door? I love them and they take up 0 space and is hidden away in wall. Good luck super woman!

  • Reply
    PML
    October 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    PS
    I had a freezer in a closet once and it created a surprising amount of heat in that little space (a large closet under my stairs). I’d keep the freezer out of smaller rooms that should be kept cool, if I were you.

  • Reply
    DEB
    October 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I’d get a chest freezer auto defrost and put it in the garage. I would not put it in the pantry takes up a lot of room.

    So maybe look at it this way – trips to the freezer are good for you.. it can be part of your “new health goals” to get in more steps each day/week.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Freezer-Burn

  • Reply
    Melanie
    October 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Auto defrost , for sure– and it being in the garage is not a problem. I have mine and my washer and dryer in garage and I am just used to it and it is not a problem.

  • Reply
    Carrie
    October 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I have a chest freezer lined with milk jugs filled with water and frozen just in case I would loose power and the jugs would keep the food frozen longer. With a chest freezer you would also have the top surface to use if needed. I had an upright and didn’t care for it as much.

  • Reply
    SusanG
    October 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Nobody I know with manual defrost is disciplined enough to do the defrosting on a regular schedule! So they waste loads of energy trying to defrost what have become big chunks of ice! Even the dorm size fridges take lots of work to defrost. We have that constant battle at work.

  • Reply
    Mary Jo
    October 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t have a manuel defrost, but I do have it in the garage and I have to say that I think it has to work harder because of the change in temperature all year long. I could be wrong.

  • Reply
    LORRAINE
    October 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Kristi

    Could you build a platform from the breakfast room door and have the freezer sit on this platform just outside the breakfast room therefore eliminating having to climb up and down steps. It’s a bit more work… but just a thought!!

    Good luck with the work that has to be completed by Thursday 🙂

  • Reply
    Judi in Tinton Falls
    October 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    You are going to be one busy woman in the next few days, but with the drywall up, your grin should be ear to ear. Having lived with both manual and auto defrost freezers, please reconsider putting your Freezer in the pantry. Your kitchen freezer should answer for day to day needs, so you won’t be running t the deep freeze as frequently. Manual defrost is a messy business, and as careful as I know you’ll be, your lovely floor will suffer. The garage sounds like the perfect compromise, since you will be freezing up valuable pantry space and still have a freezer near your kitchen. By the way, I have always liked my GE appliances. They’re very reliable. Can’t wait to see your pics.

  • Reply
    Jenw
    October 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Our manual defrost (the same one you pictured, just a few years older) is in the garage right outside the door, including two steps down. It has never bothered us. As you meal plan I don’t think you’ll be in the freezer daily. Mostly likely weekly. And when we vacuum seal I put the food directly into a bin then tote the bin out to the freezer. So it’s not like it takes 500 trips to put stuff away either. You will want to find some bins that allow air flow to organize the interior of the freezer. Otherwise you will experience the frozen food avalanche one day. And let me tell you…a frozen solid rump roast is painful when it lands on your foot!!

    Ps, I know you’re “supposed” to defrost twice a year but we never do. Maybe every other year. We keep the freezer packed most times so it’s just too much hassle to do it more.

  • Reply
    Southern Susie
    October 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I love that you have a pantry large enough to accommodate an upright freezer – sure wish I did! But like most of the other commenters, I’d be very hesitant to purchase a manual defrost freezer, mainly because of the extra time that’s involved. Even if it’s only once or twice a year, who’s got the extra time to fool with coolers, emptying pans, hoses? As busy as you are, I’d totally vote for a self defrost model, and save yourself the time and aggravation – spend that time on doing something fun! And as long as you vacuum seal your packages and rotate your food, freezer burn shouldn’t be a big consideration. And for the placement, as much as I’d love having the extra shelf space, I’d have to go with putting the freezer in the pantry for 2 reasons: 1) Convenience for you and Matt. 2) Texas heat. Living in Georgia, I know all about brutal summers, and the heat factor is the reason I didn’t put my freezer in my garage/storage room – it would greatly shorten the life of your freezer. And who wants to go out into 95 degree temperatures to take out tonight’s filet or haul packages of sealed meals? Not me! I actually have room in my mud room for my freezer and I love the convenience of having it so close by to my kitchen. Could your mud room/laundry room accommodate your freezer? With just the two of you, maybe a smaller unit would work? Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  • Reply
    Leigh
    October 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Although a manual freezer may have a lower running cost, once you put it in the hot Texas garage, I guarantee all that efficiency would be out the door. We live in Texas and I looked at fridges and freezers for our garage and many of them are not meant for storage in temps above a certain amount. We ended up putting our in our laundry room instead of outside. I would go auto defrost with your original plan in the pantry. Manual is so messy, we’ve had them, and I’d say a little freezer burn every now and then is worth it not to have to deal with defrosting twice a year. Plus you will end up with more ice build up if you keep it running in your hot garage.

  • Reply
    Genelle McDaniel
    October 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Mine is the manual defrost, which I really prefer, but I only defrost it about once a year (before harvest season and hunting season). It can be a little messy, plus occassionally a freezer can fail, so I will only put it one a concrete floor. Our utility room floor off our carport has the same concrete floor as the carport, so it’s perfect. Yes, I have to step down twice when I go out the kitchen door.

  • Reply
    Joanie
    October 11, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Go with a auto-defrost freezer, I have had both and will never go bad to manual. Put it in your garage and leave your beautiful pantry for your dishes and food supplies. I know you won’t be sorry, looking forward to seeing it all finished.

  • Reply
    Alicia
    October 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Just me, but I would rethink the manual defrost. Twice a year seems to come up faster than you’d think… do you have to remove all of the food to defrost too? Pain in the behind. You built this pantry to store your food, so now you have to go into the garage?? I would want everything in the same room, but that’s just me, I would be too lazy to go up and down steps every time I wanted to access the freezer!

  • Reply
    Phyllis
    October 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Why do you want the hassle of defrosting twice a year? That’s like going backward in technology. I have two frost free freezers and do not have a problem with freezer burn. I am sorry, but giving myself more work twice a year by choice is NOT going to happen! Get the frost free for goodness sake!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 11, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I have had both and having a manual defrost is such a pain in the rear end!!! It’s really really inconvenient. Food gets frosted in easily. Defrosting it is a pain. Then you also have food from the freezer that you have to find somewhere to put. Also the whole water on hardwoods. That said, my frostless freezer is in my pantry and it’s so convenient. I love it!! After having it in the garage for so many years. And I would put the freezer on one of the washing machine drain pan to catch water in case something happens and the door gets left open. Will save you a lot of headaches.

  • Reply
    Karen
    October 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    How often are you going to be accessing the freezer? If it is every day, then it might be painful to have to go to the garage every day. Or is it more likely to be once or twice a week? The question I would be asking myself it whether I am willing to sacrifice pantry space/possible floor damage etc to avoid walking up and down a couple of steps a couple of times a week. When you think about it, a large freezer is only ever accessed a couple of times a week at the most.

    If your fridge in the kitchen has a freezer compartment, you could always get your food out of the garage freezer once a week and store in the kitchen freezer.

    For me, the cost of work to make the freezer fit in a marginally more accessible location seems excessive (losing pantry storage, adding doors, levelling floors etc).

    I am currently renovating my home in the hills in Australia. We have our animals killed and we store the meat in a chest freezer, which will be in the laundry. The laundry will double as a butlers kitchen because I want a big laundry but it is such a wasted area if it is only used as a laundry. The freezer will be extra bench space for all but the few seconds per week when it is open. Every week I get the meet we will have for the week out of the chest freezer and put it in the freezer compartment in the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Chris
    October 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve had a small, under counter, manual upright freezer for about 4 years now that I open daily because it’s where I store my frozen meals. I hate to cook so I make batches of things and put them away. I never let it get so full of ice that defrosting puts out tons of water. It’s in the kitchen on a wood floor and so far, no problem but I’ve never had a power outage that went beyond 6 or so hours. I put a tray with some towels under the open door and more towels on the inside at the bottom when I’m defrosting which I do quickly with a heater and a blower on it. I do this largely because I’ve removed the food to both the freezer and fridge and I don’t want anything defrosting in the fridge. It takes me maybe 75 minutes of which only 15 minutes is hands on time for moving the food back and forth, picking up the wet towels, and doing a quick wipe down. Since food quality starts to decline after 4-6 months, are you sure you need a 20 cu ft freezer?

    • Reply
      Ishtar
      October 11, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      are you sure you need a 20 cu ft freezer?

      That’s what I’ve been thinking too. I have a 20 cu ft freezer, and the one that attaches to my fridge and a 14 cu ft chest freezer. But I hunt, and buy a whole beef, pig, and lamb every year. And I’ve got a garden and freeze much of my own produce. I feed a family of 5 out of those freezers for much of the year.
      I really can’t imagine needing 20 cu ft for only two people, with meat not bought in bulk and no garden. What would you put in it?

  • Reply
    Casey
    October 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I have an auto defrost upright freezer in my garage. I am so glad it is in there on a cement floor because twice in the last decade we’ve had storms that knocked the power out for days and all the food thawed and all the water/wet coming from that would have destroyed hardwoods. It may never happen to you, but we were out of town for several days when one of those episodes happened and it couldn’t be avoided. Cleaning out the freezer and the cement floor was a breeze compared to the hassle of replacing a floor.

  • Reply
    Patricia
    October 11, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    I walked downstairs to the basement to really take a look at our manual frost freezer. It’s been over a year and I’ve yet to defrost it. There’s hardly any frost. It’s just not a big deal. I didn’t think I would buy a manual but when I found out that they cost less to buy, cost less to run, and run more efficiently, I reconsidered. It helps to keep a freezer that is sufficiently full because they run more efficiently that way.
    Also, some home insurances will not cover your claim if the freezer goes out in the garage. You might want to look into that. And for sure the freezer has to run overtime keeping foods frozen in a Texas garage.

  • Reply
    Mary Anne Looby
    October 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I too, was very surprised to learn, from your readers, all about the differences in auto and manuel defrost. WE had an upright freezer in the garage years ago, I guess it was because we had kids at home. It was auto defrost. Eventually one of the kids took it. I understand what people are saying about the water and the hardwood floor. However, I do believe that the way you finish your floors would prevent the problem. So many professionals use the wrong products now to finish the floors. They don’t seal them. That is the trick. You can get a pan to put under the freezer. They sell them at HD and are relatively inexpensive. I have had one under my washer since we built the house. My laundry room is on the second floor and the floors are hardwood. When I got a new washer I doubled up on the pan, because I noticed some breaks in the original one from the leveling legs. I would put the freezer in the pantry. The space is heat and air controlled which will allow the freezer to function at it’s best. If you keep the freezer even with the counter, you should have enough space behind it for air circulation. Good luck, I am sure there are a lot of envious ladies out there. Also, if the pantry is white the freezer will just blend in.

  • Reply
    Heidi
    October 11, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    We had a manual defrost freezer given to us and I don’t love it. I have a hard time remembering to defrost it, and when I do, it is a wet and messy job. If you want the freezer in your pantry, I would go with self-defrost. In terms of lost space because of freezers or doorways… Your kitchen and pantry together are over 235 sq ft of space. How much more storage space do you really need for kitchen-y type things? And your freezer IS a type of storage, is it not? 😊

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 11, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Keep it anyway possible in the garage, you are making everything so beautiful and that is not attractive and you’ll be glad you kept it out of site.

  • Reply
    Natalia
    October 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    It would not be energy efficient to keep your items at 0 degrees F when it is 108 in your garage. The thing would have to run constantly. Put it in an air conditioned space.

  • Reply
    Maggie
    October 11, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    My Freezer is is in my Kitchen and I have to defrost it. It’s messy as my floor isn’t level. So with towels and more towels.i only do mine twice a year. Probably should do it more often,but dislike the mess. So put it out from the Pantry. As your pantry will be to nice to mess up!

  • Reply
    CBMacDuff
    October 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Wouldn’t the vacuum packing of your foods help prevent the freezer burn? I just keep imagining all of that huge freezer space being filled up and having to remove it all up to twice a year for defrosting. It just seems like if you are buying large purchases of (say) a side of beef in all cuts, and you vacuum pack that all, it would hold up better than getting that same beef and putting it in and out of coolers just to defrost the freezer. Anytime you break that ‘frost layer even in the slightest, it tends to ruin the texture of the meat – making it a little tough.

    In my brain as a wife of just “us two” in the house, I can’t imagine wanting to unload a huge upright freezer twice a year. We don’t buy in massive bulk, but it’s enough that it does get eaten fairly fast for it only being the two of us. The ability of putting the freezer where you REALLY want it, and in the color you REALLY want just seems to be more in line for what I myself would go for, over having to buy a different color, a different spot and layout. I do know that you do have a tendency to change your mind, what happens if you REALLY wanted the layout and stainless, and then figure out later on that perhaps you should not have thought about it too much,,,,just saying what I’ve occasionally seen in the past — you know on OTHER decor websites – LOL

  • Reply
    Laniece
    October 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    If it were me, I would:

    1. Choose Frost Free. (The thought of defrosting a freezer twice a year is terrible.)

    2. Keep it in the Pantry. (Why change horses mid-stream? The really great thing about having such a large pantry is having room for your freezer INSIDE the house.)

    3. I would go with a White freezer rather than a Stainless Steel freezer. (White is making a HUGE comeback. Plus, it’s just pretty. I’ve always preferred white appliances – especially if your cabinets/shelves are going to be white. White will look beautiful and so clean.)

    Just my two cents. 🙂

    P.S. I like the idea you went with re: the corners in your pantry. Great call. Less is more! 🙂

  • Reply
    Beverly Williamson
    October 11, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I bought a manual defrost freezer this time for all the pro reasons mentioned above. I hate, loathe, and despise it. It is less than 3 years old and it keeps food no better than auto-defrost freezers. In fact I have lost more. It also needs defrosting more than twice a year. It ices up on the coils of the interior. The coils run under the shelves. Food packages get caught in the ice if you fill it full. Remember, the ice won’t just be on the walls as it used to be in a chest freezer. I have had several freezers during the years. This was my very first upright manual defrost freezer and it is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m from Texas and as I remember it, Waco is pretty high humidity most of the time. In my experience, humidity makes this upright manual frost up much more quickly than the old chest style manuals did. I have learned my lesson the hard way.

    • Reply
      Stephanie
      October 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      This is so true! My mom has an uptight manual defrost freezer, probably aboit three years old. She despises defrosting it so much that she pays me $100 to do it haha! I do it three times a year (we are in CA and have no humidity) and it should probably be four. There is always a ton of ice on all the walls and could, food stuck in the ice, even if you speed it up by putting boiling water inside or carefully using a hair dryer is is a huuuuge process. All that ice turns into water and no matter how prepared you try to be with trays and towels and a shop vacuum, it’s a big big mess. She has brick floors. I couldn’t imagine how necessary wood. Also new fridges are almost all energy star and use very little energy compared to how they used to be. I’m never ever going back to manual

      • Reply
        Stephanie
        October 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        Sorry, I can spell but my phone can’t

  • Reply
    Jo Talley
    October 12, 2016 at 12:15 am

    We have a manual defrost chest freezer in our sunroom which is heated and cooled….hubby wanted to put it in the garage which I nixed as I felt it would have to work to hard in the brutal east TX heat….

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 12, 2016 at 2:44 am

    I have had both a manual (grandmother swore by this type) and now an auto. I prefer the second version because of the mess created when manually defrosting. I have always had mine in the garage…yes it is a couple of steps away but not so far that it is a hassle. I love to cook and with just two people my freezer is always packed with the extra portions and recipe staples like bacon, vege and fruits…I simply take the items I want out once a week and defrost them in my frig.
    I live in SC and recently went through Hurricane Matthew, one of the nice things on my freezer was the alarm function that told me how long the freezer had been without power and what the temperature change had been. It helped me determine that my food was safe upon returning.
    White is cheaper and easier to clean the exterior if it is located in an out of sight location (all those you are proposing) don’t waste money on stainless.
    If you ever did loose power and your freezers contents it might be better that the stench and the clean-up is in the garage or storeroom. I know after Hugo no one even had to open their freezers for the insurance companies they smelled so bad…they took your word at the contents.

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    October 12, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Your a builder…build it into the wall so the back half is in the garage (or outside) and front door is sitting flush with surrounding cabinetry or wall. MAKE IT PRETTY!! And easy…

    Build a bottom drain so you just switch it off and it defrosts to the outside.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    October 12, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I k ow you said you’re set on a manual defrost, but have you watched you tube videos of defrosting freezers? It can be quite the process. I think manual defrost is fine if you’re the kind of person who goes hunting or buys a side of beef and fills up the freezer, then eats it until it’s almost empty and defrost then. Or does a bunch of gardening and freezes fruits and veggies in the summer and eats them over the winter. If you put off defrosting your freezer, the ice builds up until your food is stuck in it. If you’re using the freezer just for extra storage and keep it pretty full, you have to take all that food out and store it in ice chests while you’re defrosting which can take hours or a whole day depending on how you do it. I am soooo happy we switched to freezers that automatically defrost. If you wrap things well, they should be getting freezer burned. For awhile we had an auto defrost in the kitchen and a manual chest freezer in the garage and I just sold the chest freezer because I was tired of borrowing ice chests (we own three large ones which was not enough to hold the food and it’s not a particularly huge freezer or anything) and dealing with it. Our food never gets freezer burned and I don’t vacuum seal it or anything, I just make sure we’re using things in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Reply
    Hayley
    October 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Dissenting opinion here, but I’d have no trouble defrosting my upright freezer on a hardwood floor. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I just take everything out, chip off all the ice with a spatula, wiped off all the food and rearrang, and then put everything back in. I’ve never unplugged it and let water drip out. I deal with it whilst it’s all still frozen.

    Takes about 20 minutes to chip everything off, good outlet for rage!

    Can anyone who knows about freezers tell me if this is insufficient? I bought mine second-hand and it’s 7 years since I’ve had it, and it’s still going strong. I never get freezer burn. I dunno if I’m an idiot or if you’re all making this way harder than it has to be.

  • Reply
    Jemma
    December 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I stumbled on your blog while trying to decide on a manual vs frost free. Based on the picture in this post and the research I’ve been doing… I think that you might actually have a frost-free freezer (see the coils?) and not a manual.

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