Good attic organization can earn you more useable space in that often neglected area. Here are 10 ideas to help you maximize your attic space and turn it into an organized haven.
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Whether your attic is a walk-in or has pull-down stairs, you can very likely make more of that space by taking the time to do a little (or a lot!) of organizing. Many of these ideas could work in just about any storage area in your home!
This post isn’t filled with pretty pictures, unless you get excited about organizing that is, but it will be one of the most helpful when it comes to maximizing your storage space!
In all honesty, I had no intention of writing a blog post about organizing my attic when I started this project, so the photos are not the best.
The BEFORE photos are blurry because I had to grab a frozen image from a paused video. BUT – the project and the ideas that I used were so well received when I shared what I was doing in my stories on Instagram, I decided that many of you may benefit from a few attic organization tips too!
DECLUTTER, CLEAN OUT & SORT
The first job I knew I needed to tackle (and the one that I dreaded the most) was to clean out the attic and go through every single item that I had been storing. It was especially tedious with my seasonal and holiday decor, but it was a very necessary step.
This allowed me to take an inventory of what I wanted to keep, gift someone with, sell or simply trash.
Make sure to sort your items once you’ve decided what to keep. For example, put all of the red Christmas decorations together, all of the fall foliage picks together, all of the pillows together, etc.
REMOVE EVERYTHING TO INSPECT & ANALYZE THE SPACE
As part of your decluttering, go ahead and move everything from the attic, so that you can:
- inspect the entire area looking for wires, loose insulation, bugs, mold, pipes, loose nails or screws, etc
- come up with a floor plan for how you can best maximize your space.
You’ll want to be sure to address any problems that you find, or make a plan for how to work around them, before you start the actual organization process.
EXPAND THE FLOORING
Now that the attic is empty, this is the perfect time to expand your flooring. I recommend using 1/2″ or 3/4″ thick plywood to give you the most sturdy floor.
If you are butting new plywood up to existing flooring, make sure that you use the same thickness so as not to create a lip/tripping hazard where the seams join together.
Attach each piece of the plywood to a ceiling joist with a few screws. Screws work better than nails in case you need to remove or change anything in the future.
Now that you’ve decided what will go back into the attic, separate your piles of like items down even more. For example, you may want to separate your red Christmas tree ornaments into a separate pile from general red Christmas decorations.
Take note of all of the different types of things you need to store. In my case, I needed to store general home decor, long faux greenery and floral stems, pillows, pillow covers, throw blankets, wreaths, ribbon, craft supplies, and myriad types of seasonal and holiday decor.
I decided that I needed to use both small and large plastic bins, laundry hampers, closet dowel rods and brackets, shelves and shelving units, Christmas tree storage bags, different types of clothing hangers and more.
The way that you’ll store any plastic bins is just as important as considering what you’ll store in them. In other words, will you be stacking them one on top of the other or will you be adding shelves of some kind? Are you only going to use plastic bins or will you also be using hooks or other organization gadgets?
USE SEE-THROUGH BINS & LABEL EVERYTHING
Part of my purge included getting rid of older, solid colored bins that I couldn’t see through. I put up with not being able to see what was in those bins for years and finally decided to replace them all with translucent see-through bins. All of the bins that I got rid of were either gifted to someone else or donated.
The old bins actually came in handy for hauling items to be donated to the drop off point. I was able to pack my items for donation into those instead of having to find boxes or use trash bags and just leave the bins there.
Even though my new bins are see-through, I still think it’s important to label what goes into each bin. Not only will it give you a better idea of what’s inside the bin, it will also help you to put things back into the same bin that they came out of. THIS LABEL MAKER is the one that I used.
GOOD SHELVING IS KEY
If you will be using shelves in your newly organized attic, good, sturdy shelving is a must! We have a combination of shelves made from plywood and brackets, wire shelving and actual shelving units.
All these different types of shelves hold bins, pillow forms and general home decor that’s too large or bulky to fit into a bin.
THESE SHELVING UNITS are my favorite, as they are super sturdy, hold hundreds of pounds of weight, come in multiple sizes and are easy to assemble.
WREATH HANGING SOLUTION
As a blogger, I tend to accumulate a lot of different wreaths. You can just imagine how they accumulate over time since I try to do something different for every season and holiday.
I previously had them hanging from nails driven into the studs of the walls of our attic space. That worked for a while, but I ran out of wall space long ago, so they were stacked on the floor. After some planning I came up with a solution that holds more wreaths in a smaller amount of space.
The solution? Wooden closet dowel rods and brackets! Several of the wreaths are hung directly on the rod itself. To remove them, I simply lift the rod up on one end and slide the wreath out that I want access to.
There were some wreaths where I was concerned about creating a permanent dent in the wreath, so those are hung with a piece of twine tied to the wreath and looped around a coat hanger.
RIBBON ROLLS ORGANIZATION
After considering several options, I took advantage of the dowel rod solution for my wreaths to also organize my burgeoning collection of rolls of ribbon. After a little modification, THESE PANTS HOLDERS turned out to be perfect!
The pants holders came with foam wrapped around each hanging rod, which we removed to allow more space between the rods to accommodate the rolls. Using a Dremel, my husband also removed two of the rods to give me the additional space that I needed. One end of each rod comes out of a little bracket and swings out for easy access to the ribbon.
Now I can easily see exactly what ribbon I already own! Such a huge improvement over the overflowing bin that the ribbon was previously crammed into.
PILLOW COVERS, THROW BLANKETS & STENCILS
I used the same closet dowel rod solution once again to store my pillow covers, throw blankets and stencils, but in this case I used skirt hangers with clips to hold everything.
After much research, I found that THESE SKIRT HANGERS were the least expensive and are just fine for this purpose.
I made sure the top dowel rod was left longer than to two below it to allow hanging space for the longer throw blankets.
USE THE SPACE ABOVE YOUR HEAD
Don’t forget that you can also take advantage of your roof rafters. I drove nails into some of our rafters and used them to hang garlands, bags and other long items from.
I prefer to keep my garlands in plain sight as opposed to cramming them into a bin where they would get misshapen and crushed. Not to mention the aggravation of having to shuffle through a bin to get to the one that I wanted.
I’ve spent the last several days whipping my attic space into shape and it is already making such a difference in my everyday life, especially right here around the holidays!