13 Brilliant Ways to Declutter Your Attic, According to Experts
These expert-backed organizational tips will get your attic in tip-top shape.
Do you have a little extra time on your hands now that you're working from home because of the pandemic? If so, you might consider spending some of it on finally tackling those household projects you've been putting off—organizing your attic, for instance. However, when it comes to getting that particular storage space in tip-top shape, getting started without a plan in place can do more harm than good. So, with the help of cleaning and organizing experts, we've compiled the best tips to help you declutter your attic in the most effective—and efficient—way possible.
Create a plan.
Going into your attic organization with a clear goal in mind can make decluttering that space faster and easier than you ever thought possible.
"What is your ultimate goal for the attic?" asks certified professional organizer Janet Bernstein. "Without a well-defined plan, you will end up with a mediocre result." Before you go in, make sure you know if you're planning on using the whole space for storage or if you need space for something like a playroom or office. And for more ways to get your life in order, check out these 33 Expert-Backed Decluttering Tips to Keep You Organized for Life.
Take everything out of the attic.
The highest floor of your house isn't always the most accessible—or comfortable—environment, so you might want to choose another area to do your decluttering in.
"It can be difficult to do the organizing work in the attic, hunching over while trying to sort everything out," says Mercari chief organizing expert Patty Morrissey. Instead, she recommends "[taking] everything out from the attic and [using] the hallway or another room in the house to sort things out."
Clean your attic while it's empty.
Before you start trying to organize your space, you'd be wise to give it a thorough cleaning first.
"Instead of just sweeping the space, use a vacuum cleaner to trap all of the dust," says Marty Basher, an organization specialist with Modular Closets. Beginning with a good cleaning also gives you the perfect opportunity to check your attic for mold or pests that could damage the items you're planning to store, she says. And if you want to get your home sparkling, try these 33 Crazy Cleaning Tips That Actually Work.
Sort everything into categories.
Once you've gotten everything out of the attic, it's time to start sorting. "Sort into [designated] categories to review what you want to keep and what you no longer need," says certified professional organizer Kirsten Fisher, founder of Imagine Home Organization. She notes that if you don't sort before you start reviewing what to keep and what to potentially discard, you're likely to end up with duplicates.
Get rid of everything you're not currently using.
Once everything's sorted, it's time to start purging.
"Items often end up in the basement or attic because we can't bear to part with them, think we'll need them later, or just can't be bothered to donate them or find them a new home," says Bernstein. "Now's your opportunity to declutter with intention." If you can't remember the last time you used an item and there are no consequences to ditching it, it's time to let it go. And if you're wondering what to do with the stuff you're clearing out, check out these 17 Super Clever Ways for Getting Rid of Junk.
Set sentimental items aside to look at later.
It's easy to get caught pouring over sentimental items before you realize that you've lost hours of valuable cleaning time. "If you catch yourself doing it, savor the memories and then put the book away," says organizer Bridget Flynn, owner of Intuitive Interiors.
Want to declutter your attic and make locating everything you need a breeze? It's time to break out the label maker—and get detailed.
"Be specific for those Christmas decorations: 'vintage ornaments, small tree' or 'garland—right side of house,'" suggests Flynn. "Zero guessing games save you so much time and headache."
Create specific zones for specific items.
Once you've cleared out everything you no longer need, mark off areas of the room where each type of item will go, making sure to keep similar items together.
"All holiday items should be stored together on one side of your attic, while the opposite wall could store furniture and seasonal décor," says Katherine Lawrence, certified professional organizer and owner of Space Matters. "Keeping like items together saves time searching for things."
Use weathertight containers.
Even the most well-maintained attics aren't immune to leaks or loose caulk around the windows, leaving your precious items susceptible to moisture and temperature damage. With that in mind, Melissa Groff, a professional organizer and owner of Namastay Organized, suggests investing in weatherproof sealed bins.
"By using proper storage totes, you're protecting your things while also creating the ability to stack your things," she says, noting that going with clear bins can make it easier to find frequently used items.
Put dust covers over your luggage.
If you're storing luggage in your attic, make sure it's properly covered before you put it back in place.
"Dust covers are a simple way to keep your luggage looking fresh and ready for your next getaway," says Groff. "Label the outside so you can grab the right suitcase and go!"
Put items you use the most closest to the entrance.
It doesn't make much sense to have a well-organized attic if the things are hard to get to.
"Ensure the items that you need the most frequently are closest to the entrance to the attic," says Bernstein. "Items that are once a year such as holiday decorations probably don't need prime real estate in your storage area."
Keep an inventory.
Before you consider your attic organization finished, make sure you've got a document reminding you of what you kept and where it can be found.
"Once everything is put in bins and labeled, keep an inventory as a note on your smart phone or in a file in your office," suggests Basher.
Check on the space at least once a month.
Your attic's bound to become cluttered again if you don't make a habit of going back in from time to time.
"Make a plan to check on your attic at least once a month," advises Basher. "Rather than an out of sight, out of mind attitude, plan to repeat the cleaning and attic organization process on a regular basis."