Keeping your attic decluttered may not be at the top of your list of something exciting to do. However, when you take the time to declutter your attic, you’ll bring back much-needed space, reduce fire hazards, and you’ll actually be able to start using the things you do keep because you’ll be able to find them.
Get All the Stuff Out of There
This part may seem horrible, but the best way to declutter your attic is to remove everything from the attic first. There may be things in there that you had no idea even existed.
Clearing out the attic space will allow you to get in and give the area a deep clean. Also, it will enable you can stand back and assess what you want to do with space.
Remember that if you have not used it in a year or more, you likely won’t want to put it back anyway, so you’ll end up gaining a lot of space by clearing it out.
Sort All the Stuff
Once you get everything out, sort it. You’ll want to differentiate a space or boxes for trash, give away, and keep. Some of the things you may decide to keep inside the house instead of in the attic.
The attic should be used for things that are seasonal and not for everyday items. For example, if you only use that four-pot crockpot warmer in the holidays, it should go in the attic.
Place a Value on Your Loft Space
Once you see what your attic looks like empty, figure out if you can set up zones in the attic for the type of stuff you have.
Place a value on the space that you have so that you can determine better what to keep and what to get rid of.
There would be no point storing all that furniture in there, for example – even if your granddaddy made it, if you’re not going to use it.
Expand your Living Space into the Loft
Once you start to declutter your attic you might find your mind turning to how you can use to space to provide more living space in your home.
Perhaps you have a teenager that would love their own space. Or an area for the kids to hang out with their friends is desperately needed.
I have also seen attics converted and used as spaces for hobbies that take a lot of space like painting, crafting or model railways.
Small Attic Storage Ideas
If you only have a small attic space you really have two choices. Either decide to never use the attic at all for storage (this is what I would do!).
Or you need to become very organized and use every inch of storage space that is on offer. I would start by installing some kind of shelving system and invest in some strong sturdy plastic boxes that will fit onto the shelves.
You will need to be creative but with a bit of thought, even small spaces can provide useful storage.
Ikea Hack: Eaves Storage Ideas
The sharp angles caused by the slope of the room create all kinds of awkward spaces, that you would think could not be used for any kind of practical storage.
If you have good DIY skills or you have a tame carpenter to hand then a project to put storage space into the eaves is a practical possibility.
For example here is a great idea from ikeahackers.net
Get Rid of the Stuff You Aren’t Keeping
Once you’ve sorted the stuff, it’s time to get rid of everything you’re not keeping. If it’s for donation, call them to pick it up or deliver it. If it’s to give to a friend, get it to them right away.
If it’s for the trash, get rid of it now. Don’t wait around because you may never do it.
Is it OK to Store Stuff in Attic?
Well, this is a subject I feel strongly about. When my husband and I moved house a few years ago, we had to empty the loft. My goodness, it was a really nasty and unpleasant process.
The items in the loft had been there for years. Most of the stuff belonged to my husband’s late wife. They included boxes of sewing patterns, old boxes of sheet music, photographs, old books, and miscellaneous items for the kitchen.
Over the year all these items deteriorated and became covered in a thick layer of really nasty dust. As I was clearing out all these items it became clear the only thing that could be done with them was to put them in the trash or recycle, they were ruined as useful items.
So this proved a valuable lesson to me never to store items that could deteriorate in a loft.
Personally, I believe that the only items that should go in a loft are items that are seasonal items like Christmas decorations, summer garden play toys, and cushions for garden seating.
It is just so easy to throw things in the loft and then completely forget about them.
Find the Right Storage Solutions for Stuff You Are Keeping
You may need clear plastic containers with lids, shelving, or a tension rod if you want to hang clothing in the attic. It helps to first look at the things you need to store and then buy the right solutions for those items.
The more airtight you can make the solution, the better protected your items will be inside your attic.
Hanging Storage from Trusses
It is possible to have hanging storage from your roof trusses. A word of warning though. You need to make sure that the trusses are designed to dal the weight you are putting on them.
A few small items hanging from nails knocked into the trusses won’t cause a problem. If you go further than this then the trusses will need to be strengthened. If you don’t know what you are doing then you will need to bring in a professional carpenter to do the job for you.
Easy DIY Attic Shelving
If you have space it is easy to install DIY attic shelving, even if you are on a tight budget.
Either start from scratch with pieces of wood that you need to cut to size, or install a cheap shelving unit into the required space.
thefrugalhomemaker.com has a great tutorial that shows you how to make your own set of shelves for the attic.
Label Everything as you go
The attic is often not a very pleasant place to walk around, so you don’t want to take much time finding things. Keep a label in the same spot on the storage solutions that has an inventory of what is inside.
You can copy that and put it in a binder so that you can quickly tell anyone where to find whatever it is that you want up there.
Is it Safe to Store Cardboard Boxes in the Attic?
I would say in most cases you should never use cardboard boxes in the attic. Generally, the conditions in the attic will mean that the carboard will deteriorate, become brittle and fall apart.
For those items, you must store in the attic I would recommend strong stackable transparent plastic boxes with a fitted lid. All these boxes should be well labeled.
How to Remove Thick Dust from Attics
If you are dealing with thick dust, first of all, you will need to have a suitable tight-fitting mask, the very last thing you want to do is inhale any of the dust as it is disturbed. As it could be filled with all kinds of nasty things like mold spores birds and rodent feces.
Also highly recommended are safety goggles, a disposable hazard suit with a hood and gloves.
Start by sucking up as much of the dust as possible with a Vaccum cleaner. The vacuum should be fitted with a HEPA filter otherwise the dust will just be blown back into the room.
Then collect the dust residue on surfaces with a damp cloth that is rinsed out regularly.
Attic Cleaning Schedule Tips
Once you finish decluttering your attic, set up a cleaning schedule to do it again at least yearly for the first five years. The reason is that you’ll have more things you can get rid of next year when you see that you’ve not touched them for the whole year.
After doing it yearly for a few years, you can probably change the schedule to be every five years and maintain an uncluttered attic.
I very much hope you have enjoyed my loft decluttering and organizing tips. Here to a tidy loft……..