Attics can be an upper story to a home, a loft over a garage or a small space between the rafters for roof insulation. While not all attic spaces are suitable for storage, if you have a way to access the space an attic can be an asset.
Moving around in an attic can be difficult and can make organization a challenge. That’s why it’s important to have a plan for organizing the items you want to store there.
Here are 9 great strategies you can use to make the most out of your attic storage space:
1. Assess your attic space. We recommend that you consult a professional if you’re considering using your attic for storage or converting it to add living space. Before you start storing things you should determine if space can hold weight and if the area is structurally sound. Access to an attic can be problematic and the sloping walls and ceilings present challenges. A professional can give you the best advice for using the space.
2. Be sure the floor of your attic can hold the weight of items you plan to store. Your existing attic floor may be able to handle storage the way it is built. It may need only ¾-inch plywood reinforcement or it may require installing a floor system designed to carry the weight of attic storage. A professional can evaluate your current attic structure and make recommendations to ensure your attic is designed to safely use as a storage area.
3. Make repairs to the attic. Look around for signs of a leaky roof, holes in walls, rodent droppings, bird nests or exposed or frayed wires. Rodents will often chew on wires so be sure to check for damage.
4. Use shelves, ceiling hooks and rods for attic storage. Since an unfinished attic is usually completely exposed, it should be easy to find places to install these fixtures.
5. Build shelves around gable windows and between rafters. Custom shelves work best in these spaces because of the angle of the roof. Items you store in attics tend to get pushed to the back and cannot be stacked very high. Use plywood, particle board, plastic or metal shelving for attic storage. Shelving will create a separation between boxes and allow you to more easily view and slide out contents.
6. Use plastic storage bins rather than cardboard boxes to store items. Paper boxes may attract rodents.
7. When finishing an attic to create more living space, use the unique nooks and crannies created by the sloping walls and ceiling for storage. Knee walls are ideal areas to create built-in shelf storage or closets. If you’re designing the space for a child’s play area or bedroom, space up against a sloped wall can be used for a bed nook or seating nook that does not require much vertical space. Build in a drawer under the bed or seat frame to store clothing or toys.
8. An unfinished attic could be converted into additional closet space. If your attic is small but there is adequate access it may be the ideal space to add an extra closet to your home.
9. Be mindful of what you store in an attic. While attic storage can be useful, there are changes in temperature and humidity in an attic that could cause damage to items stored. If you are storing holiday decorations, remove candles and store them somewhere else. Photos, books, paintings and other paper items can be ruined in an attic. Plastics like dolls and children’s toys may also be damaged by high and low temperatures and humidity. Be particularly careful with antiques.
How do you use the attic space of your home?