Our attics happen to be one of the most neglected parts of our homes – a large chunk of space that stays completely unused. Even when we are using the attic, it’s usually for storing all the things we don’t need more than once or twice every year. The fake Christmas tree you keep as a backup, holiday decorations, Halloween costumes you plan to wear again someday, old report cards, fancy dinner plates, winter clothes – these is the things that usually end up in the dusty attics. That’s why you need to read this use your attic for storage guide to make your attic more useful.
Attics are also usually unfinished. No one spends a lot of money, time or effort in making their attics a livable place, wasting a lot of space unnecessarily. Even when you don’t have the budget, you can turn your attic into a proper storage unit, to hold everything you don’t want to get rid of. You can even turn your attic into a home office, your library or study, or even a place for your children to play in.
Here are some tips on how you can use your attic to the best advantage, without having to go into a lot of trouble.
- Get Rid of the Clutter
A big part of organizing your attic would be to get rid of all the clutter that has been accumulating in your attic because there will, of course, be a lot. Every family dumps all their unwanted, unneeded and unnecessary belongings in the attic, things they might never need again. Even when you know you don’t need the old clothes, torn carpets and outdated holiday decorations you’ve used for years, they end up in the attic to gather dust.
Everything that you don’t need, there’s no use keeping them stored in your attic. It might take you a whole month or a week, but your first task would be to declutter the attic. Give away everything that’s in good condition but you won’t need anymore: old clothes that no longer fit, old toys and books, holiday decorations and party supplies you need to update. Throw away everything that is simply rusting away in the attic, or store separate boxes with labels.
The job would be easier if you are moving into a new house; in that case, it is important that you don’t let any unwanted old belongings get inside the attic.
- Use Transparent Boxes and Bins
Whatever you need to store for later use, do so in transparent bins, containers, and covered boxes. These plastic boxes are extremely affordable and available everywhere, and they come in sets of three or six, sometimes with stands. You won’t need to spend a lot of money on building wooden cabinets or counters to store all your items when you can store them in ready-made plastic bins.
Transparent bins are a big help because you can see what’s inside these bins at all times, without having to rummage through all of them. Even without labels, you’ll know exactly where to look to find what you are looking for.
- Get Labeled Boxes for Paper Clutter
There will, of course, be a lot of paper clutter that you neither need every day nor can you throw away. Old report cards, drawings by your children when they were young, old letters and bills, tax return papers, old notebooks, and journals – these are the kind of paper clutter you won’t want to throw away even when you don’t really need them.
All these kinds of paper clutter need to be stored away in labeled boxes, each one holding different types of paper. You can get boxes big enough to hold A4-sized papers, deep enough to keep dozens of papers and notes. These boxes also come in sets of six or ten, or you can buy as many as you need. Sometimes, they come with stands, which means you can stock them in dozens; this makes it easier to take out the boxes in the lower sections without upsetting the ones at the top.
- Hang your Winter Clothes
For all your winter clothes, it is better if you hang them along a rod instead of pilling them in boxes or keeping them on shelves. Installing rods in your attic is easy and doesn’t require professional help. Rods will help keep your winter coats and jackets straight and wrinkle-free, for months until you need them again.
Most winter coats and overcoats are puffy and large, and they’ll take up a lot of space if folded. If you are worried about your clothes getting dirty, you can put them inside coat covers that come with hangers. Your winter clothes will stay fresh and clean inside these covers and won’t take up a lot of space in your closet.
- Hang Your Boxes from the Ceiling
If you don’t have a lot of free space in your attic, you can also use the ceiling to hang boxes. For this, you’ll need baskets that come with handles and a few hooks attached to the ceiling. However, when you are hanging your boxes, they cannot be extremely heavy. Lightweight objects like paper decorations, holiday ornaments, party supplies, gift wrapping tapes, etc. should be kept in these hanging boxes.
Taking these boxes down can be tough on some people, and you might need a ladder to do it. Therefore, do not keep the belongings that you need regularly in these boxes.
- Use the Walls
Attic walls are usually slanted and uneven, so building multiple shelves along the walls could be hard. However, you can use these walls for hanging covered baskets, winter clothes, childhood mementos in covered boxes, wall hangings, old paintings and photographs, and anything else you can hang from nails and hooks.
You can even build a second shelf from these walls for smaller boxes, with the larger boxes at the bottom. This is a simple construction that everyone can complete by themselves, with a few wooden planks and nails.
- Make a Better Entrance
One of the biggest obstacles to properly using your attic is the difficult entrance, which is usually because attics need to be entered through a collapsible, hidden stairway. It’s not easy to pull down the staircase every time you need to use the attic, which is one of the reasons no one likes to visit the attic regularly.
If you have adequate space in the landing, you can construct a permanent staircase to the attic. This staircase doesn’t have to be as wide or as grand as the ones that take you from one floor of the house to the other, but something simple and wide enough for one person. When you have a permanent staircase leading to the attic, it will be easier for everyone to go into the attic every day, even multiple times.
- Get Professional Advice
Before you make your attic livable enough to spend a few hours in, you have to make sure it is sturdy enough to support your weight and the weight of a few furniture. For this, you need to hire a professional for structural analysis of your attic. A professional can tell you whether the floor of your attic is strong enough to hold the combined weight of people and furniture.
If your attic isn’t strong enough for the project you have in mind, a professional analysis can recommend ways to increase the support, by adding layers or special screws to strengthen the floor. This is something only professionals can advise on and perform, and no one else.
- Properly Insulate your Attic
Your attic needs to be properly insulated if you don’t want the built-up heat to destroy your stored items. An insulated attic will also help maintain the temperature of the rest of your house, by keeping the house cool in summer and warm in winter. You’ll need a professional for this process as well, and they will be able to properly advise and help you in insulating your attic.
It is especially if you live in a hot climate that the maximum heat will be absorbed by the attic. The excess heat can thoroughly damage your stored items, books, gadgets, and clothes, which is why it is extremely important that you insulate the attic before moving anything in. At the same time, it is important that you only store valuable items in your attic when you know that the change in temperature isn’t going to damage anything.
- Convert it into a Leisure Room
If you don’t have enough rooms in your home for a study, a library, a game room, a man cave, a personal sitting room or a home office, you can convert your attic into one. For this, your attic floor needs to be strong enough to hold the minimal furniture and accessories you want to place in it, and the air needs to be clean enough to live in.
When your attic is big enough, you can use it to both stores all your important, if not regularly needed, items and spend a few leisurely hours in it. For all of this, however, you need to make sure that your attic is safe, properly insulated and has a sturdy entrance. Your attic can be a neglected part of your house, a waste of space, or a room that you can thoroughly enjoy and use.