This post aims to help you to get started on getting your loft organised so that it works better for you, so that you can find what you need when you need it, and that everything is stored well. I hope it helps…
The loft is usually place of storage, a space that can easily be filled with items not needed in the main house.
Problem is, it’s all too easy to forget about that stuff, adding more and more as time passes, and never really needing it again….
Out of sight, Out of Mind…
All that happens unfortunately is that you have a massive job on your hands when it comes to moving house, downsizing, even just finding what you want to find when you do actually need it – and that’s where these tips come in.
Tip #1 – Think about what you are storing
Before you go any further, don’t assume that you need to store anything at all in the loft.
In fact, it can be seen as a lot better for you to have an empty space above your head rather than lots of clutter weighing down on you – draining you without you really realising it.
It definitely pays to be very specific with yourself about what you will allow up into the loft – just like an exclusive club would turn away people not on their list – make yourself a list and stick to it!
Things that I would suggest would belong in a loft space are as follows:-
- Chrismas decorations
- Memory boxes / Memorabilia
- Occasional use items such as ski wear and sporting items
- Camping gear
- Items you are keeping for children who have moved out (although have a time limit on these things and ensure they get them asap!)
Things that don’t make sense to store are:-
- Endless boxes of old clothes / books etc.. that you decluttered from the house but haven’t parted with as yet.
- All your childrens artwork/school books from reception to Uni – save a few with key things in them only
- Misc. old household items such as furniture, curtains, gadgets etc…
- Anything broken or past its best
- Anything that you couldn’t remember was up there – you really don’t need it if you haven’t though about it!
- Every empty box from every electrical item you have bought over the years…
Very few items will make the “keep list” and that should hopefully make things much more simple for you when sorting through things.
Tip #2 – Have a plan
Sketch out your loft space so that you know what space you have available – then you will be able to more easily create a plan that will work for the space and for you.
Allow room to access the boiler etc…, and for a walkway (safety first), and also ensure that any space you want to use for storage is suitable i.e. the floor is boarded and can take the weight.
If your stuff is hard to access, then you’re creating a barrier that will stop you getting your stuff at any point in the future, so make it as easy as possible or you may as well not be storing it at all…
Tip #3 – Use the right storage
Let me tell you a story…
In the house I grew up in we kept a lot of stuff in the loft – especially things like school books, memorabilia, toys etc…. – things we didn’t want to get rid of but had no room in our bedrooms for.
When my parents moved out of this house we had a massive sort out (I had moved out a few years before, but as in most families I still had all my childhood stuff in the loft there).
Imagine how upsetting it was to find a bag of all my old cuddly toys (mostly Garfields, I was collecting them!) that had been got at by an animal of some kind and had to be thrown away (we lived in the countryside so often there were small animals found in the house!).
All that effort and space to keep them – for nothing…..
Had the toys been in the right storage (they were just in a bin bag), then they would have been less likely to have got damaged and no doubt my daughter would be playing with them now just like I did.
The morale of this story is that anything could be damaged – and by a variety of different means (water / animals / damp etc…) so I would always advise using airtight plastic storage boxes with Moth Balls and Silica Gel inside to deter dust mites and ward off damp – and always ensure clothes are washed and fully dried before storing as well.
TIP – think about the space you have available – can you add in shelving, can your boxes stack to make use of vertical space etc…
TIP – also think about whether items you are storing would be OK in hot and cold temperatures as temperature fluctuations are common in lofts.
Tip #4 – Create lists
When you have collected together everything you want to store in the loft, you will have put it all in containers suitable for your space – but now it the time to label all those containers before they go back up there.
It makes sense to put the label on both the side and the top of each container, so you can see whats in it at a glance, and if the containers are stacked then you will need to label the side as well.
I would also advise creating a master list of each containers contents to keep in the main house, so that you can easily refer to it when anything is needed, saving lots of fumbling around! – store this list in a filing cabinet or your home file.
Tip #5 – Consider taking photos
A lot of people store things like clothes, memories and mementos in their loft as they really don’t want to part with such special items, but actually what good are they up there if you never get to look at them. After all, when was the last time you got something like that out of your loft to look at?
Instead of storing these items up there, why not take photos of the items and create a keepsake photo album or photo book that you can easily store in a bookcase in your home and open whenever you want to reminisce.
This can often eliminate the need to store items at all in the loft.
Tip #6 – Make some money…
When decluttering your loft, you may well come across items that you really don’t want or need any longer, but that may be worth something to someone.
i.e. baby clothes, furniture, books, CD’s etc….
Why not use eBay or go to a car boot sale etc… and make a little bit of money for them – or you could be generous and give them to charity as a donation so that they could sell them on and that way you are helping others as well.
Ultimately, storing anything in your loft means that you need to pay some money to get storage that will keep it safe, you will need to maintain the storage and keep track of what you have in your loft, and you will therefore spend time, energy and money doing so.
As such it really does make sense to only store what absolutely has to be there.
Make your loft work for you, respect the space, and you will get the most out of it.