Storage space is a perennial bugbear.
If you’ve been living happily in your house for years, possessions can pile up around you. Unless you enjoy a cluttered environment, you need to find somewhere to keep things you want but don’t fancy throwing away.
Along with basements and garages, attics are the most common place for storing.
One problem is that once something gets stashed in the attic, it tends to stay there.
Another serious issue is that the majority of attics are neither temperature-controlled and are often at risk from various household pests.
Assuming that using your attic for storage is a necessary evil, we’ll take a look today at what you should never store in your attic and why.
- Personal Documents
- Family Photo Albums
- Delicate Clothing
- Flammable Items
The moisture and the heat typically found in attics can ruin your precious books quick smart.
While you’re unlikely to throw valuable first editions up out of sight, even regular hardbacks are expensive.
If your books are starting to overrun your shelving, it’s worth investing in an e-reader like Amazon’s best-selling Kindle Paperwhite.
Whatever you do, though, don’t try keeping books in the loft for prolonged periods.
Based on the same principle, avoid taking any important personal papers up into the attic.
Most people have a special hiding place for their birth certificate, passport and driving license but the attic is not an ideal spot.
If you absolutely must store these documents up there, make certain you pop them inside a secure plastic folder. The last thing you want is moisture rendering your ID illegible.
Family Photo Albums
As we increasingly shift toward digital photography, it’s easy to forget about stacks and stacks of photos in bulky albums.
The twin bugbears of attic storage will always be heat and moisture, both of which are bad news for your photo collection.
Unless you want to run the risk of irreplaceable memories being stained and discolored, potentially even rendered useless, come up with an alternative storage venue.
Be honest, how many of you have your wedding gown tucked away for posterity in the attic?
If so, we’d strongly advise you remove it, have it cleaned and packaged up by a pro then placed elsewhere.
The same runs true for old baby gear or anything else that won’t see the light of day again but you don’t want spoiled.
Not only do the changes in temperature and risk of water damage make it inadvisable to store delicate clothing in the loft, insects or mice can also wreak havoc on the material. There’s also the looming danger of moths. These go after plant-based fibers not just wool so be safe and keep clothing with sentimental value out of the attic.
While the basement is a more usual storage facility than the attic for food, the same principle applies…
Use some airtight food storage containers for anything other than root veg you decide to keep in a hot and moist environment. Whether that’s the attic or the basement, don’t leave unprotected food for insects and other common pests to feast on.
Another handy hint is to go for a belt and braces approach with anything perishable… Seal the food in a plastic Ziploc bag inside the container. This will help to ward off mildew and stop the foul stench of rotting food from seeping down from the attic.
Although it might seem benign to store flammable items in the attic, it’s the proximity to a heat source that’s the snag.
Furnaces and boilers are often located up in the attic.
If you carelessly store cans of paint or cleaning supplies near these fire hazards and anything goes wrong, you could end up seriously regretting your decision.
The garage is a far better option for keeping anything flammable safe from harm’s way.
The main issue with candles kept in the attic is that they tend to melt.
Keeping a batch of candles on hand is a great backup in the event of a power outage so the last thing you want is a mass of misshapen wax with no wick when you’re looking for a light. If you keep them for this purpose, it’s also unwise to store them somewhere dark. If there’s no power then finding them will be a nightmare.
Slip your candles in the cupboard or cabinet instead. They’ll be easier to grab when you need them and still in one piece.
While it might be an easy option to throw surplus electronics in the attic, it’s a foolish move.
However solid the stereo or TV, if you leave it exposed to the vagaries of the attic, if the heat doesn’t get it, the moisture will.
You’re much better off selling old electronics or giving them away to someone when you upgrade.
A Final Word
Storing excess kitchenware or suitcases, Christmas decorations or old furniture in the attic is a wise use of space.
Steer clear of keeping the above items up on high and you’ll thank us later.
If you have absolutely no choice but to use the loft for storage, it’s a smart bet to invest in a humidifier. By regulating the humidity levels to somewhere between 50% and 60%, you can do your best to ensure that the area is climate controlled to the best of your ability and smelling fresher into the bargain.
We hope these tips can save you from losing your precious documents or finding your beloved photo collection spoiled from being improperly stored.
While it might be tempting to sling things out of the way up in the attic, think long and hard about whether it’s the right environment for what you’re putting there.
Feel free to contact us any time if you have any questions or feedback. We’re extremely responsive and we’ll get back to you as promptly as we can.
Come back soon for more handy tips for your home and garden!