In most homes, the attic is the place where things go that are seldom used but that the family just isn’t ready to part with quite yet. Because most attics provide ample space that isn’t useful for anything other than storage, it can be easy to send boxes and boxes of junk up to the attic until it’s all but impossible to find what you’re looking for. And while your stuff sits in the attic, it is also collecting dust, dirt, and pollen. Since we rarely venture up to the attic, cleaning it isn’t exactly on most households’ weekly chore charts. In most cases, there’s no need for frequent cleaning, but taking the time to organize your attic and clean it out a couple times a year can make it easier to find what you’re looking for and keep the dust from piling up. Follow these simple steps to a cleaner, safer attic.
Clear out the clutter.
When you have the storage space, it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking “Well, maybe I’ll use it someday…” and keeping things you’ll realistically never use again. The first step to a tidier attic is get rid of the things you never use, and don’t need. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in the past year, and it isn’t deeply meaningful to you, it’s time to let it go. Fill up some boxes or garbage bags plan a garage sale, or drop them off at your local thrift store.
Check for any ventilation issues or pests.
Clearing some of the clutter out of your attic gives you a good opportunity to do a checkup on the overall health of your attic. How’s the ventilation? Are air vents clean or clogged with dust and pollen? Are there any drafts where outside air is getting in, potentially raising your energy bill? It’s not a good idea to have a team of professionals from COIT come in to ensure vents and filters are clean and in good working order. If you find any patches of mold or pests like mice, hornets, termites, or bats, now is a good time to get rid of them to avoid further damage.
Find space-efficient storage solutions.
As attics typically have a lot of open floor space, it can be easy to get in the habit of just going up the ladder or stairs and setting the unlabeled box you’re carrying on the nearest patch of open floor, or on top of the pile of other boxes that could be stacked to the rafters. Installing shelves or racks can both multiply the amount of available storage space and make it much easier to access stored items later. Plastic bins are far easier to move and access than finding items stored in cardboard boxes. Most attics have sloped ceilings, so sloped storage units with pull-out drawers or stacked shelves can help you better utilize the available space.
Sort, store, and label.
One of the easiest ways to organize an attic storage space is to divide it into “zones” for the different types of items you’re storing. Designate a different area for holiday decorations, family heirlooms, winter clothing, and items such as toys used only when the grandchildren visit. Within those zones, store similar items together. For example, all the Christmas decorations in one box and the Halloween decorations in another. When you’re done, label each box clearly, top and sides, so it’s always easy identify the contents.
Maintain the space.
Once you have a neat, tidy attic, performing just a few easy tasks can help you keep it that way. A few times a year, dust everything off and check the ventilation. If your air filters need replacing or you’ve noticed that your HVAC system seems to be running less efficiently, give the COIT team a call to perform a thorough HVAC cleaning and keep your family breathing clean, fresh air. It’s always a good idea at the start of winter and summer to check for any air leaks that could make your house too cold or hot with the changing seasons.