LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Our shrinking freezer.

At some point in our boat’s history, she was refitted with a much easier-to-use front-loading style fridge. You know, similar to one of those teeny tiny fridges you probably brought along with you to the college dorm. The kind that requires mad tetris skills to fit in all of our cold goodies. Side note, we actually ended up replacing the old front-loading fridge our boat came with at purchase (after it crapped out on us) with a new Novacool model about a month before we set sail. 

And if you’re cruisers who are anything like us, then you’ve probably opened your fridge to grab a cold one and sighed at the ever expanding giant iceberg of a freezer you’ve managed to create. Without fail, our little freezer compartment seems to get smaller and smaller by the day. We ignore that frosty buildup for awhile, but of course Jereme’s good sense wins over and he convinces me that our frosty fridge isn’t winning us any points in the efficiency department, so we are left with the fun regular task of fridge defrosting. Ahhhh…one of liveaboard life’s little joys.


^^see that little iceberg in there…it needs some serious defrosting!^^

The good news is, this fun little task kills two birds with one stone. Or five birds really. (Don’t worry we love animals on this boat.) We use it not only as an opportunity to thaw the freezer, but also as one to clean the fridge, sort through all our old and outdated products, throw away anything bad, and reorganize that tiny shoebox into a compact chill box that any tetris champ would be proud to call his own. Seriously, sometimes I impress myself with all the extra room I create after reorg-ing our icebox. ;))

The other day we enjoyed another round of this awesome task, and here’s how we always get the job done.

We empty the fridge/freezer contents into several coolers/freezer bags and turn off the fridge entirely. We do NOT however, try and pry items out that have become frozen to the freezer’s edge before they actually come loose on their own. You risk the possibility of damaging key freezer components if you simply try to rip them out. It’s so not worth it.


We also remove the bottom drawer and freezer tray so it’s easier to clean once everything has thawed.

Then, we place a little portable fan facing the fridge to speed up the thawing process. Who wants to stand there and hold a blowdryer the entire time? Not me! The fan just circulates the warmer boat air into the fridge. With the door propped open, it usually takes about 10 minutes for the freezer to melt.

But get ready with some towels, because all the water can get messy. We always put a big beach towel in the bottom of the fridge to soak up all the water as the ice melts.

When we’re bored, we also make snowballs. ;))


Jereme monitors the whole process as it’s thawing and “helps” it along when necessary by simply throwing out the huge chunkers of ice that come loose.

After the entire fridge is thawed out, we mop up all the excess water, and then clean the refrigerator entirely with some paper towels and cleaner. Then it’s always my job to re-org the contents of our fridge. But not before I towel off everything that’s going back in. We certainly don’t want any excess moisture immediately after defrosting/cleaning that thing.


^^I forgot to take a photo of the immediate “after” so this is technically at least a week later. Already again on its way to icebergdom.^^

Once everything has found a place in the freshly defrosted fridge, we finish the task by turning the icebox back on, of course.

And that’s that. Another day in the not-so-glamorous cruising life we call our own.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.

Lisa NassifSeptember 29, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Check your gasket in the refrig door. The heat from the unit itself wears on the gasket. I place pipe cleaners in that first fold of the gasket to put more spring in the gasket. Also that little bag of Sangriaa on the first shelf that is hitting the gasket can allow warm air to enter. I have 4 of these units (1 an ice maker only) on our sail boat with two children and many guest. Keeping your gasket with an even seal is key. I hope this helps!

LAHOWINDSeptember 29, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Hi Lisa. Thanks for the tips. The fridge is brand new since we replaced it in March. And so funny you noticed the sangria. I propped it up for the photo so it would look nicer, lol. It’s not usually blocking anything. 😉 -Kim

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream PuffSeptember 29, 2014 - 10:17 pm

In addition to a good seal, the real key to not getting the ice build up is never opening the refrigerator. I read that in the instructions of our unit. I am still trying to figure out how we suppose to get our food out if we never open the door.

I am surprised we did not see more Diet Coke based on the picture of the back of the rental car :)

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff