How to Organize Your Attic
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/jeangill
An attic is the perfect spot to store items you don’t need throughout the year, such as out-of-season clothes, suitcases, holiday décor, sentimental keepsakes or furniture. But it’s easy to keep stuffing boxes and bags in the doorway of the attic, pushing the lesser-used items into the abyss of unexplored attic space. Make the most of the storage above your home with a thorough attic organization.
First – and no one said this was going to be fun – empty everything from the attic. It will help you realize your attic’s potential space, sweep/wipe down any open spaces and determine what you do and don’t need.
Go through every box, trunk and bin. Make a decision about each item in the attic – keep, throw away or give away. If your children are grown but some stuff is theirs, set it aside for them to go through but give them a reasonable deadline for going through it. For instance, if you only see your children during the holidays, give them at least until the end of their last holiday to sort their own items.
Next, get rid of as much clutter as you can. It’s okay to keep some children’s items for sentimental value (their bronzed first booties, baby books and a few drawings), but it’s not necessary to keep every greeting card they’ve given you or piece of clothing they’ve ever worn. Decide what items you’ll really treasure in years to come and which ones someone else would benefit from – such as baby furniture, clothing or strollers. If you can’t bear to get rid of all of your children’s clothes, pick out five pieces and give the rest away.
Then decide what needs to be professionally stored. Photographs, home video, electronics and wedding gowns do not fare well when stored in an attic, where temperatures can soar into the 120s and the humidity varies. Instead, have your photographs and videos digitally archived by a professional (search for “professional photo archiving” to find businesses in your area) or purchase the software to do it yourself, and have your wedding dress and quilts preserved from a company that specializes in garment storage.
Purchase the right storage containers. If most of your boxes are falling apart, invest in plastic storage bins in varying sizes that you can stack on top of each other; the plastic will protect your belongings from potential attic vermin. Group like items together, and don’t feel obligated to fill each one to the top, as you may want some to handle future growth. Label boxes largely and clearly with phrases like “Halloween decorations” and “John’s baby clothes.”
After you’ve finished sorting and tossing, begin placing items back in your attic, grouping similar items together and placing the boxes and objects you least use, such as personal memorabilia or furniture, at the back of the attic, and the items you’ll reach for more often, such as wrapping paper, holiday décor and luggage, toward the front. Remember to leave a walkway to get to the items in the back. Don’t block air vents or disturb the insulation.
To maintain your newly cleaned attic space, put new moth balls out in your attic to repel vermin and regularly re-evaluate your attic space to control the clutter before it starts again.