It’s almost attic organizing season again! I love this time of year because it finally cools off enough to tackle this crazy space. Attics often collect unnecessary clutter and items that have outlived their useful lives. Sometimes, attics contain items that can be irrevocably damaged with improper storage. The Texas heat is hard on attics, critters can run amuck, and even a little moisture can cause mold and mildew. Here are some things that should never, ever be stored outside a climate-controlled space.
Photographs - This is my #1 priority when tackling an attic. If you have photos in your attic (or garage), stop reading right now and go save them. They shouldn’t spend one more minute out there, even if you’re tight on space or don’t have a place to store them yet. I promise, it’s worth finding a home for them inside.
Paperwork- All papers should be inside, not only for ease of reference, but because they can get a little fried in the heat.
Electronics - Heat can ruin tech items, especially digital storage like tapes, CDs, and DVDs.
Delicate holiday decor - While the majority of your holiday decor can likely survive in the attic, pull especially delicate and temperature-sensitive items and store them in a closet.
Fabric, leather, and fur - Most of your linens, clothing, and upholstered items should live inside.
Wood furniture - The heat can cause wood to expand and eventually crack.
Paint and flammable items - AC components, wires, and insulation make an attic a risky place for flammable items. Paint should be stored inside and anything else flammable should be kept in an outdoor shed or garage on the wall furthest from the house.
Food, drinks, and other perishables - Even if you buy in bulk, this stuff needs to be inside (not in your garage either)!
Candles - I’ve seen way too many of these melted to even attempt this one.
Frequently accessed items - If you pull something out more than once a season, it should be moved inside.
Anything else you really care about - Basically, if you’d be sad it was ruined or damaged, don’t put it in your attic.
For those items you do choose to store in your attic, it’s important that you store them correctly. Except especially large items, nothing should ever be stored loose in the attic. Skip cardboard boxes in favor of plastic lidded bins. For soft items, use large Ziploc Flexible Totes in place of trash bags that critters can easily get into. Avoid using bulky bubble wrap (and the potential of melting) by using plain newsprint instead. My favorite packing paper is from U-Haul. And of course, label, label, label. The last thing you want to do is pull down a heavy box to then realize it doesn’t contain what you needed.
One final tip: purchase a weather station for your attic that shows temperature and humidity levels. Depending on your insulation, your roof, and your attic’s location, the items you can store there may be different!