Often our stuff ends up in the attic or basement because we don't know what else to do with it. Although organizing these spaces may seem like a drag, it will pay off for years to come. Follow these steps to de-clutter and maximize these prime storage areas in your home:
- Eliminate what you don't need or want. Take anything that can be fixed or used by someone else to a community organization or donation center. Throw away unusable items and fire hazards, including mangled holiday decorations, broken toys and sports gear, rusty tools and equipment, old magazines, canceled checks older than six years, and empty boxes.
- Categorize remaining items into departments such as seasonal decorations, memorabilia, luggage and baby equipment.
- Store items in sturdy, see-through plastic bins that can be stacked and moved easily.
- Label all boxes and bins for easy identification. Keep an inventory of items stored so you'll know where to find them.
- Install metal shelving to keep bins off the floor. A shelf near the basement stairs is a good place for pantry overflow items such as canned goods and extra paper products.
- Attach a pair of old belts to rafters in the attic to hold skis or a rolled-up rug.
- Mildew, insects, rodents, changes in humidity, and fluctuating temperatures make the attic a dangerous place for wood furniture; items made of wool, fur or leather; books; heirloom clothing and formal dresses; camera equipment; photographs and negatives; and stuffed toys. Store these items elsewhere.