How To Maximize Attic Storage

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If your attic is unfinished or only semi-finished, it may just seem like a waste of space. With a little planning and creativity, even an unfinished attic can have great potential. Whether you’re looking for long-term storage for Christmas decorations or short-term storage for seasonal clothing, or need a space to hold family heirlooms, the attic storage and organization ideas that follow can help you find inspiration to take advantage of the space available your attic.

RELATED: 10 Things You Should Never Keep in the Attic

1. Make Attic Access Easier

attic storage

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Before you think about attic storage ideas, make sure you have easy access to your attic to pick up or remove items. A top pick in our buyer’s guide to the best attic ladders, this Fakro insulated steel scissor attic ladder can help you do just that. It connects to an entry door in the attic and easily unfolds and folds back up when the door is pulled down. In addition, the S-shaped design of the stairs also serves as a built-in handrail to make getting up and down in an attic easier and safer. You can remove or add steps to adjust the length to fit your space.

2. Keep pests out

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Attics are dark and quiet and can serve as a safe home for rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, birds, insects, and several other critters. If you want to use your attic to store your stuff, keep these pests out to prevent them from damaging your stuff. To do this, patch any holes on the outside of your home, install a chimney cap such as this highly regarded option available at The Home Depot, trim any branches hanging over the roof, and make sure there is no food kept in the attic. If you already have animals or bugs in your attic, consider installing humane mousetraps like this option available from Amazon or using natural bug spray like this one available from Amazon.

3. Use Clear Storage Bins

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When thinking about attic storage solutions and to keep your things organized, opt for clear storage bins. Clear bins, such as the Iris Pearl plastic storage bins featured in our guide to the best storage bins, allow you to see what’s inside and easily find the item or items you’re looking for. Bins with secure lids also prevent your belongings from getting dusty or dirty in the attic.

4. Add Insulation

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Before using your attic to store your belongings, you may want to add insulation to the space. Uninsulated attics can get very hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter. These extreme temperatures can damage more delicate items. Choosing one of our top suggestions from our guide to the best attic insulation options, such as the Frost King Natural Cotton Multi-Purpose Insulation, will help you protect and preserve your prized possessions.

5. Vacuum Seal Seasonal Clothing

attic storage

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Many people use their attic to store seasonal clothes until needed for the following year. However, clothing is very bulky and can take up a lot of precious storage space. If you’re looking for ideas for low-loft storage or simply want to reduce the amount of space taken up by your clothes, try vacuum storage bags. Vacuum bags, such as the Box Legend Premium Storage Bags from our researched guide to the best vacuum storage bags, allow you to remove air from the bags of garments. This compresses the clothes and makes them much more compact for storage.

6. Keep Holiday Items Together

attic storage

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Attics are a logical storage space for holiday items, such as decorations, that you only need to clean up once a year. When organizing your attic, put all your items together for each holiday. This makes it easier to find everything and bring it down when the holidays come every year. You don’t have to feel like you’re scrambling to find that one missing special decoration when everything is kept together.

7. Install an Attic Fan

attic storage

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Attic fans work to push warm air out and draw cooler air into an attic. This can help keep the room temperature cooler, which can help protect the items you store in the attic. Some attic fans, like the Broan-NuTone Surface Mount Solar-Powered Attic Fan (found in our guide to the best attic fans), even run on solar energy and don’t even consume electricity from the grid.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Attic Ventilation

8. Set up a pegboard

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If you are looking for cheap and easy to install attic ideas, consider hanging a pegboard. Pegboard has evenly spaced holes that can be used to keep your attic organized. Just add a few hooks to the pegboard and hang smaller items on them to keep them out of the way, yet easily accessible when needed.

9. Label everything

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If you don’t want your space to turn into a disorganized mess, incorporating some attic organization ideas is a must. One way to keep your space organized is to use a label maker, such as the Brother P-Touch PC Connectable Label Maker, featured in our guide to the best label makers. By labeling all the bins, boxes or bags in the attic, you can see exactly what you need to find, saving you time and effort.

10. Create a stable attic floor

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If you need extra storage space in the attic, in addition to what you can squeeze between the rafters, you need to create a stable attic floor. Before attempting to add additional flooring to your space, hire a structural engineer to evaluate whether your attic is designed to hold extra weight between joists. In some cases, even if your attic can’t support the weight required for a living space, you may still be able to use it for lighter storage. In this case, you should be able to install plywood on the joists to create floor coverings (use 1/2-inch plywood for 16-inch apart joists and 3/4-inch plywood for 24-inch apart joists) .

11. Hang items on closet rods

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Installing a few closet rods — or even using tension rods — can maximize the storage space in your attic. In addition to holding larger items of clothing, closet rods can also be used to hold other items such as wreaths or baskets.

12. Assemble Sturdy Shelves

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Looking for attic shelving ideas? Installing sturdy shelves in your attic will provide an abundance of storage space and help keep your belongings safely off the floor. Mountable shelves, such as the Fleximounts 3-Tier Storage Wall Shelves, a top pick in our best garage shelving guide, can be attached to the sides of the attic and also leave floor space open for storing other items.

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