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How To Prepare Your Attic Items for Storage

Preparing Your Attic and Items for Storage Does Not Have to Be Hard

If you have an attic, you're lucky to have a potential storage solution right above your head. However, maximizing this space requires careful planning and preparation. This guide will walk you through the process of preparing your attic for storage, from sealing air leaks to choosing the right items to store.

  1. Preparing The Attic Space

The first step in preparing your attic for storage is to seal all air leaks. Air leaks can occur in the attic doors, windows, ceilings, walls, and other parts of the attic. These gaps can let in dust and pests, potentially damaging your stored items.

sealing with foam

Also, ensure your attic is adequately insulated, sealed, and ventilate. Insulation helps regulate the attic's temperature, preventing damage to your items due to heat or cold. Ventilation prevents moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew growth.

A sturdy floor is also crucial for attic storage. You can use plywood or similar materials to create a stable surface for your item

Sealing air leaks in the attic is a crucial step in preparing your attic for storage. Air leaks can let in dust, pests, and moisture, which can damage your stored items. Here's how you can seal air leaks in your attic:

Identify the Air Leaks: The first step is to identify where the air leaks are located. You can do this by closing all doors, windows, and placing a box fan in one window and cover the remaining openings around the fan.

Seal Small Cracks and Gaps: Use weatherproof caulk around any gaps or cracks in the attic that are smaller than ¼ inch.  Make sure you use heat-resistant caulk around areas that may get hot.

Seal Large Openings: For larger gaps, you can use expandable foam spray or mastic sealant. Expanding foam is great for filling larger gaps, while mastic sealant is used for sealing around ducts and pipes.

Seal the Attic Hatch: The attic hatch or door is often a major source of air leaks. Seal it by caulking between the hatch frame and the rough opening, or by installing foam weatherstripping around the perimeter of the hatch.

Cover Cutouts with Caulk or Foam: You can stop air leaks by sealing the cutouts from above with acrylic latex or silicone caulk, or with low-expansion polyurethane foam, depending on the size of the cutout.

Cover the Area with Insulation: After sealing the air leaks, cover the area with insulation. This will provide an added layer of protection against air leaks and help regulate the attic temperature.

Remember, safety first! Make sure to wear protective gear, like gloves and a mask, when working in the attic.

  1. Choosing The Right Storage Containers

The best type of storage container for an attic is airtight, clear plastic boxes These boxes protect your items from dust and pests while allowing you to see what's inside without opening them.  I really appreciate these containers because my wife has over 30 of them, each is labeled and easy to access during the holidays she decorates for.

Choosing the right storage container for attic use can seem like a daunting task given the sheer number of available options - from totes and bins to boxes and baskets. So, how do you determine the best fit for your attic storage needs? And more importantly, how do you transport these containers to your attic?  Understanding the unique characteristics of attic storage is key. Before rushing off to Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Wal-Mart or Amazon, take the following into consideration:  Start by taking a fresh look at your attic space, keeping in mind the type of storage bins you'll need. Bring a tape measure and notepad along, planning out what you want to store and where. This approach is all about optimizing convenience. The types and sizes of containers you choose will largely depend on the different storage areas in your attic.

Consider your attic flooring. Do you have an attic flooring system? Sturdy bins can be placed between the attic floor joists, but be careful as slipping could cause the bin to break through the ceiling below. If you're planning to span the floor joists, you'll need a long enough storage container. Measure the distance between joists.

If your attic has some flooring, moving bins around will be easier. Bigger bins and footlockers often come with wheels and handles for easy transportation. However, if your attic flooring is minimal, consider the weight of your loaded storage containers and how they will be transported. Smaller containers may prove more convenient than larger ones.

Next, examine your attic ceiling or house roof. Height restrictions will limit your available storage space. Planning ahead can help you make the most of the vertical space. For instance, bins of different heights can be used to maximize storage - lower ones can be tucked in closer to the eaves while taller or stackable containers can be placed towards the center.

Also, consider the type of attic truss system you have. Measure the space between trusses and select storage containers that can easily move around them.


Now, list down the items you plan to store in your attic. This will help you in deciding the types of bins you need. Your storage needs can be matched with the wide variety of storage containers available, leading to an efficient system.

Items can be stored in a range of containers - from small, six-quart boxes to 169-quart totes. Some items may require smaller containers for organization, which can then be placed into a larger tote. Plastic storage containers vary widely in price and quality. Choose lower cost bins for items that won't be accessed often and invest in higher quality ones for items you'll frequently handle. Clear plastic storage containers are preferred as they allow easy identification of the contents. Regardless of the type of bin, remember to label them.

Once you have your list of storage items and a map of your attic space, you can match the size and type of storage containers to the items and space available.

Based on the information found from various sources, here are some of the best containers for attic storage:

Iris Weathertight Totes: These clear plastic storage bins were recommended by The New York Times as the best clear plastic storage bins.  They come with a lid that latches securely, making them an excellent choice for attic storage.

Rubbermaid Brute Totes: These bins are ideal for the garage, basement, and attic due to their robust construction. The Rubbermaid Roughneck is another recommended product from the same brand.

90L Large Storage Bags: These foldable closet organizers are top sellers on Amazon and can be used for clothes storage.

Sterilite Ultra Tote: This tote is another highly rated storage container suitable for various uses.

Old Luggage:  Sometimes I use old luggage to store breakables and paperwork I want to hold onto.  It seals well and is easy to transport.

Remember that the best type of storage container for an attic are airtight, clear plastic boxes. Attics have a tendency to get dusty and experience temperature changes, so these qualities are essential. Also, clear bins make it easier to see what's inside.

For items sensitive to temperature fluctuations, consider using air-conditioned storage This storage option keeps your items unaffected by outside weather conditions.

  1. Deciding What To Store

Not all items are suitable for attic storage. The attic can get quite hot, especially in summer, which can damage photographs, wood, and other heat-sensitive items.


Instead, use the attic to store items that are impervious to heat. These might include holiday decorations, suitcases, and other items you don't need to access frequently.  Avoid storing valuable or irreplaceable items in the attic. If something happens to your attic, such as a leak or pest infestation, these items could be damaged beyond repair.

  1. Organizing Your Attic Storage

Once you've prepared the attic and chosen the items to store, it's time to organize everything.

Hanging up items like wreaths, clothing, and outdoor lights can make them easier to access and keep your shelves open for larger item  Use clear storage bins for small items and label each bin so you can easily find what you need.  When placing items in the attic, think about how often you'll need to access them. Put items you won't need for a while at the back, and keep items you'll need to access more frequently closer to the entrance.

Vacuum sealing seasonal clothing can save space and protect the clothes from pests and dust8.

  1. Maintaining Your Attic Storage

Even after you've set up your attic storage, regular maintenance is necessary. Check for pests regularly and clean the attic to prevent dust buildup. Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels to ensure they remain within safe limits for your stored items.

In conclusion, preparing your attic for storage can seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and organization, you can create a functional storage area that keeps your belongings safe and easy to access.

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