Image of declutter an attic

Declutter An Attic in Six Easy Steps

July 26, 2017

Image of how to organize an atticIf you want to feel like you’ve really accomplished something, plan a full Saturday to declutter an attic or crawl space. It’s a very freeing feeling, and you’ll actually be able to find the holiday ornaments this year!

I began this task with the help of my 30-year old daughter, who is very generous with her time and probably figured, since I am over 50, I’d need full hip replacement surgery if she didn’t help.

So, here’s how we did it . . .

1. Assess the Damage: Head to the attic with a yellow pad and pen. Take notes on heights and widths of areas between the beams and write down measurements. Guestimate how many storage bins you will need for packing items into bins.

2. Buy the Bins: We hopped in the car (after heading to Starbucks first), and it was off to Walmart. We purchased about 20 Sterilite 10-gallon tote boxes with lids at $3.97 each. (Do your research, but we found these were a bargain, stacked nicely and worked well.)

Note: Measure carefully so bins will fit in between beams and stack how you’d like. Pinterest has some good tips, too. There are products on the market showing how to create lumber supports that serve as shelving. Check out AtticMaxx Shelving System.

3. Label the Bins: Before you start sorting, label the bins with your categories. Some of our categories included Christmas, Taxes, Easter, Art Supplies and Fall. Be careful not to make the bins too heavy. We used large Avery shipping labels on each bin and then reinforced them with clear Scotch moving and storage tape on top.

4. Let the Decluttering Begin: Clear one good-size area in the attic and begin. Start packing up one category of items in a bin and see what you can donate to Goodwill or other organizations to make more room. (Remember the Big 3 Rule: Keep, donate or toss.) Continue filling and stacking bills.

5. Organize the Bins: Keep all bins with the same category next to each other.

6. Additional Storage Ideas: Consider storage hanging rods from the ceiling if your space allows. Another tip is to use bins with wheels. They are a bit pricey but may work well in a specific area.

Once you have your bins neatly stacked in place you may ask the question, “Now what do I do with the 9-foot artificial Christmas tree loaded with lights?” Well, we purchased the Elf Store Heavy-Duty Canvas Large Christmas Tree Storage Bag for a 9-foot tree from At $32.99, it was certainly affordable. But, be sure you place the tree parts into the bag when you are up IN the attic!

7. Tell the Family the New Golden Rule: Remind the gang to put things back where they belong if they venture into the new, tidy attic! This is the last time you want to declutter an attic!

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