The attic is a common storage place for items we want to keep hidden away. They’re the places where we stash our clutter, items we don’t use very often, things we just don’t know what to do with, something we forget about until we need them or move to another home.
You can increase the usable space in your lower levels by organizing your attic space. However, attics are a particular challenge for storage and organization.
The typical attic is unfinished and oddly shaped. In contrast, most items in the attic are rarely used: Christmas decorations used every December, family heirlooms, clothes, and photos, things we can’t bear to part with even if they serve no useful purpose.
Depending on what you store in your attic, the principles you’ll follow to organize it are the same as those you’d follow to organize any other part of your home:
- Sorting and decluttering your possessions is a good start
- It is easier to find items when they are in designated zones
- Tools and supplies for organization are available
- You’ll likely have to dedicate several days to organizing your attic. Don’t overdo it. Be sure to schedule adequate time to complete the task, and do not rush through it—take breaks whenever necessary.
1. You will need the following items before starting:
- Garbage bags
- Document shredder
- A label maker
- Containers for storage
- Wear the right footwear
- If your attic is particularly dusty or you have a dust sensitivity, wear a mask.
- For attics without air conditioners or climate control, use a fan
- If necessary, provide lighting
2. Empty the attic of all items
Get organized by decluttering. You can begin by clearing your attic. Having everything in one location will increase your productivity and give you more room to work.
NOTE: It is possible to move your stuff into a small space if you can’t move it elsewhere, so you will always have a place to pull out several things one by one.
3. Examine your space
Following your attic’s cleaning, inspect it for pests, damage, and other dangers, including:
- Insulation that is compromised
- Nailings or screws stuck in the wrong place
- Unstable floorboards
- The presence of mould and mildew
- Vents that are blocked
- Inadequate weatherproofing
After you have emptied your attic, take the opportunity to deal with any infestations you might have missed or repair weather-related damage you may not have noticed. Maybe you’re looking for extra space in the house. Perhaps it’s time to consider converting your attic into a playroom, spare bedroom, reading nook, or a work area.
After all the stuff is out of the attic or consolidated, it’s time to organize it:
- The items you should keep: Items that you use often and items that have sentimental value.
- Selling and donating: Toys and old clothes that are still usable can be sold or donated if they are clean and dust-free.
- Discard or recycle: Throw out anything broken, expired, or otherwise no longer usable.
- Organize your items properly after you’ve narrowed down what you’ll keep—sort items by size, season, type, or all three.
5. Create zones
For each category of items, you can designate zones. After determining which storage method is suitable for each category type (such as shelving, boxes, plastic containers, etc. ), group similar items together in the containers.
Group your items into categories:
- Used most often (or frequently)
- Seasonal/special occasions items
- Occasionally used
Place the most commonly used items closest to the front, where you can easily access them.
6. Setting up the space/storage solutions
Having a detailed list of your belongings and what will be packed into your attic, you are now ready to shop for storage solutions. The best storage solution for your attic will depend on its layout, but these items may otherwise prove useful:
- For seasonal clothing and other items, you prefer not to fold and pack. Tension rods can be useful in the attic.
- Drawer units: Plastic drawers are ideal for smaller toys, crafts, or hobby items.
SUGGESTION: To prevent pests from ruining seasonal clothing, place a bar of soap or sachet of lavender or cedar chips inside zippered garment bags.
Installing built-in shelving units or a finished shelving unit to store items like sports equipment or holiday decorations. If you opt for shelving, metal or plastic shelving is best (temperature and moisture resistant). If you have tall shelves, secure them to the wall.
Whether you intend to store things in your attic, use it as an office, or use it as a spare bedroom, adding shelves or even installing kitchen cabinets is a valuable investment. Ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets can not only provide great storage but are also easy to install.
8. Storing things safely
If you’re storing your belongings, follow these guidelines to keep them safe:
- Paper should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container. Several online and offline retailers sell silica gel packets, or you can re-use the packets found in old shoeboxes, boxes, or packages you have purchased.
- Organize small items into larger containers to stay organized, but mark the containers if you need the item in the future.
- Containers should be transparent
- The container’s top and sides should be labeled
- On the label, include the date. Next time you reorganize your attic, it will be easier to determine which items to discard.
- Your bins can be colour-coded, e.g. one for holiday decor, one for photos.
If you have a lot of temperature- and climate-sensitive items in your home, it may be best to keep them there, sell them, or store them in a climate-controlled facility.
You need to organize your home from top to bottom, beginning with the attic:
- Establish a plan of action
- Obtain your supplies
- Empty the attic of everything
- Your possessions should be sorted and decluttered
- Set up zones
- Provide adequate storage protection for items being returned to the attic
- Organize your storage system
- Organize the attic by putting everything back into its proper location