Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maximizing Space in Your Attic

Tips for Tuesday

Using attics for storage can be good or bad. If the attic is temperature and/or humidity controlled, or if you can access it easily through a door, there isn't a problem. But when the only attic you have is through a tiny hole at the top of a closet, and the only thing in there is insulation and a light bulb, that presents a challenge.

If you don't need the extra storage because you have a basement, then your attic doesn't matter. But in a small house with no basement, the attic can provide adequate storage for many items. You can use it to store off season items like holiday decorations, or toys the children have outgrown but will be handed down in the family.

To make the most of your attic, first make it accessible. If the only access is through a closet, then install a drop-down ladder in a hallway. This will make it easier to bring boxes up/down, and the opening will be larger. Second, make sure it is well lit so you can see every corner. You don't want to place boxes near wires or pipes.

Most attics are not built with floors. You have several options. First, if you can get plywood up into the attic, you can create your own floor. Or you can purchase 2ft by 2ft squares that will fit over the supports in the floor. These are usually available at home improvement stores. Or, go with a company like AtticTrac, http://www.attictrac.com/, that works with a system of boards and pulleys. There is no need to crawl through your attic to find anything. You can just pull it toward you and push it back.

Make the most of your space by utilizing low areas at the slope of the roof for small or long, narrow objects. Hang garment bags from the ceiling for clothing. Install hooks for hanging up holidays decorations like wreaths.

Be mindful of the climate in your attic. If there is no temperature control, do not keep candles (which will melt in the heat) or snow globes (which will freeze in extreme cold) up there. Delicate crystal will not withstand long periods of extreme cold either.

Use plastic bins to keep out the moisture, but do not use them for antique clothes/quilts or other delicates that need to breathe. And never store photos in your attic, as the moisture will curl/warp the pictures and negatives.

Finally, watch for pests. Do not use cardboard boxes in your attic, because bugs can crawl into them, and mice can chew through them. Plastic bins sealed tightly will keep out most insects and four-legged critters. If your house attracts bees/wasps, watch for signs of nests. If you ever see moisture on your ceiling, or dark spots, then take a look up there immediately. Take care of any issues quickly before you lose your belongings or your house.

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