Tips for Organizing a Home Attic

Regardless of how cold it is today, when you least expect it will be spring all over again: your windows will be open more often and you will be probably doing your yearly spring cleaning, right? Instead of waiting until spring, why not start earlier this year? Today I want to dedicate this article to a space that is almost always forgotten: the attic. If you live in a house that has an attic space, and you are not sure about how to keep it neat and organized, this post is for you.

When organizing your attic, you should start by emptying out the space. Remove all the items from the attic and put them in a place that allows you to see everything you have. With the attic empty, it is easier for you to see how much space you have available, and to perform a walk thru in order to see if there is any roof related damage in the space. If you find any problems in your attic, such as water damage, poor wiring, or bad insulation, you must correct the issue before bringing your belongings back.


Step 1 — Clean up the attic

If you have a finished attic, then your next step should include sweeping, vacuuming and painting to make it look like new. However, not every attic is finished. In this case, take a closer look at the insulation and the wiring to make sure everything is ok. Then you can lay down some plywood panels to act like a subfloor, making your walking around safer. Just make sure you leave enough space between any electrical and mechanical items, such as recessed lighting fixtures, HVAC vent pipes, etc.


Step 2 — Organize your belongings

With your attic ready to go, it is time to organize the items that you are planning to store in your attic. Start by grouping them by categories, such Holiday décor, Halloween, Easter, Mary’s college books, John’s kindergarten work, etc. This will make your life much easier when you need to go up in the attic to get something. As far as the best way to store them, it will depend on how much stuff you have and how big those items are. I tend to find easier to keep things stored in large totes — preferable the clear ones for easy finding. While organizing your belongings, don’t forget to perform a little “spring cleaning” to eliminate anything that is broken beyond repair and/or is no longer needed.


Step 3 — Tag it!

I know it is time consuming, but adding labels to your bins, especially if they are not clear or if there is not enough lighting in the space is the key to easy finding.


Step 4 — Go vertical

When it comes to storage, it is no secret than you can maximize your storage space by going vertical. In this case you can either stack your totes up or you can have a 4 tier shelving system to hold all of your goodies. Either way, just make sure to keep the heaviest items on the bottom. If you need to store clothes in your attic, consider a cloth rack so your clothes will be hanging properly, preventing them from getting creases from being folded for so long.


Step 5 — Draw a Map

Organizing things takes time and energy and if you keep things organized, there is not really a need to organize it, right? So, how can you remember where everything is, especially if you barely visit the space? And if somebody other than yourself needs to go in the attic to get something for you, will this person be able to find it without messing the space up? Probably not. However, this can be easily fixed by having a map of where everything is. Depending on how your attic is structured, it might be easier to take pictures of the space with all the bins stacked before you leave. This way if you need to send somebody up there, you can show the picture and say “what I need is in this bin”. Another way to do this is by drawing a map with the location of all bins so you will know where everything is.


Step 6 — Enjoy the benefits of an organized attic

Besides the ability to know exactly what you have and have easy access to it, keeping your attic organized will prevent you from spending money on unnecessary items.


Andrea Vollf enjoys writing about home organization and interior design for Next Door Storage. Connect with Andrea on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.


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