Don't let the storage space above your home go to waste.
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light pouring into bare structure attic
Credit: Getty / Delpixart

When you think of storage, your mind may automatically go to exterior areas like sheds and garages. But there's a good chance you have another storage space a little closer to (or should we say above) your home: Yes, we're talking about your attic. So often, attics seem inaccessible for storage purposes. Between the heat and the limited clearance caused by a sloped roof, they are often misused or forgotten altogether, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here, organization professionals Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, the co-founders of NEAT Method, explain how you can make the most of your attic.

Getting Started

You'll want to make sure your attic is sealed before you start putting any items up there, so close any openings and repair any cracks that might allow unwanted visitors to enter before prepping the space. Next, Murphy says you'll need to work on your surface area: "The most important first step is to create as much flat surface as possible, which may require laying down some large boards." After that, she suggests adding as much adjustable shelving as possible to maximize storage. "There are a number of industrial shelving brands (like Uline and InterMetro) that offer shorter heights to accommodate varying sized ceilings," she explains, which will make it easy to find something that meets your space's unique needs.

Stocking Your Shelves

After you've set up your shelving, adding transparent storage bins is the next step, according to Hagmeyer. "Matching storage bins will create visual order which encourages everyone to keep the space organized," she says, adding that transparent, labeled boxes will make it that much easier to quickly locate what you need in a pinch.

Go Higher

Take advantage of any unused areas that are tucked into the peaks of your attic by hanging less frequently used items. Hooks, suspended shelving, and even the existing beams can all help you take advantage of these underutilized spaces. Just remember that the items you put up there will be a little harder to reach, so these shouldn't be the things you frequently search for, like sporting equipment or holiday decorations.

Beat the Heat

If you're using your attic for the majority of your storage, consider consulting an insulation expert to see if there's a way to increase ventilation, suggests Murphy. "Otherwise, be very thoughtful with what you're placing there," she says, "especially if you live in an area that experiences extreme heat and/or cold." Items like electronics, wood furniture, some fabrics, and candles can be adversely affected by high temperatures and uncontrolled humidity. For good measure, invest in some weather-tight storage bins. "They have an incredibly tight seal and help keep moisture, dust, insects, and rodents away," Murphy says.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
September 7, 2020
Excellent ! Just I want to know to start to use this space !
Martha Stewart Member
September 7, 2020
Excellent ! Just I want to know to start to use this space !