Spring Cleaning—Can Your Attic Absorb Your Clutter?

Posted February 26, 2021 by in Lifestyle

Everyone says we need to declutter. However, not everyone can declutter to the extent that their home is clutter free. Maybe their home is small or their family is large or both!  In those cases, it may be that attic storage is the answer.

Here’s how to determine if and how you can use your attic:

Was Your Attic Built for Storage?

There was a time when an attic was always strong enough to handle storage.  Newer homes are less likely to have that same strength.  The decline of usable attics started when homebuilders realized that they could cut corners with the attic trusses and other wooden pieces used to construct the attic. The wood for trusses is no longer as heavy or sturdy as the wood in the rest of the house. 

This means that the attic can do its job of allow for air flow, but it isn’t a good idea to go up and walk around.

What are the Dangers?

Often the attic is full of boards that look sturdy. Often there are loose wooden planks or thin particle boards laid across the beams.   You may think the floor is secure, but in an instant, you lose your footing. If that happens, you may find yourself dangling into the room below.  

How To Determine the Safety of Your Attic

If you want to determine if your attic is safe, you need a reliable home inspector or contractor to 

visit and take a look.  If the home was built recently, you may be able to contact the original contractor to get answers.

How to Improve Your Attic?

If your attic cross beams are structurally sturdy, it’s possible that you could hammer in a lightweight floor that could serve as a perch for boxes. You probably need a contractor who can tell you whether this is a safe idea.

The new floor should be placed around the opening for the ladder. You want to maximize the space where you can put boxes without having to actually climb into the attic.  The less you go in, the less chance of a dangerous mistake.

How to Use Your Attic Wisely

Since this is for better organization, make sure to mark everything that goes up in the attic.  Try to mark it on all sides so it can be recognized from a distance. Don’t put items up there that are easily ruined such as photographs, record albums, tapes and other media.  You don’t want to put any prized possessions up there where there is no temperature control.

The type of boxes you use may matter as well. You can use see-through boxes for quick identification.  Plastic tubs also help keep bugs out of your stuff.  If you are using it as a place for a regular seasonal clothing switch, you’ll want to pack your clothes with scented dryer sheets.

Last but not least, don’t put heavy items in the attic and don’t make boxes too heavy.  If you are packing books, for instance, do it in small batches. 

Once you claim this space for your use, you should be able to reduce what’s in your closets and still keep what you need most. That’s decluttering, only smarter.