No matter how big your home, there never seems to be enough storage space. Some of the most useful nooks yet to be discovered are hidden in unfinished areas under the stairs, in the garage, and in the attic. The attic can be an ideal, large space to store items you are not using often but would like to keep.
What Are Creative Attic Storage Ideas?
If you have an attic where you can stand or clear seven feet in height, it can be transformed into an actual room or niche. The options are endless for creating a library to store books, a small playroom for toys, a closet for seasonal clothes or shoes, or a small office for supplies and well-organized storage units.
If you do not have space for a finished attic room, there are endless options to consider for optimizing the space upstairs to create additional storage for all your belongings. Although starting with an unfinished attic may seem daunting, the benefit is that you can design a customized storage system tailored to your specific needs. It’s a blank canvass, and you get to decide how you want to design the space for what you actually need.
Useful solutions to increase your capacity range from simply laying boards on top the floor rafters to installing customizable systems between the rafters in the attic ceiling or along the wall.
HOW TO USE CREATIVE ATTIC STORAGE IDEAS
Who does not need additional storage space for all your sports gear, seasonal clothing, various holiday decorations, toys and keepsakes, books, inherited treasures, and a place to hide your clutter? If you can store your possessions in a well-organized space, it will seem less stressful to have so much stuff that you are not yet willing to part with or still need but don’t use regularly.
Clothes and Shoes Storage
In some attics, the space upstairs in ample to create a walk-in closet out of unfinished room. The space can easily accommodate folded sweaters on built-in shelves under the eaves or delicates in compartments, baskets, or drawers. Order or construct your own wall-mounted shelves or boxes sized perfectly to fit under the roofline. Depending on how much room is available to move around, consider installing doors on the units to visually declutter or hide items. Or, if the space is too narrow, leave them open.
Remember ventilation is important in a space where you plan to store items that can mold like clothing or paper. If you have any concerns, consult with a contractor.
Books can be stored fairly efficiently in your attic space, especially if you have room to squeeze in a comfy chair and a couple of book cases, so the space feels like it is a quiet, peaceful library. It does not have to be large, just big enough to house your book collection.
Measure the space from the floor to the roof, and order bookshelves you can easily build and affix to the studs in the wall. Placing them side by side can create a wall effect and will patrician off the open space to create a quiet reading nook.
Another option is to install shorter bookcases, so you can store your books inside and use the top to display treasures to personalize your new favorite space or set down your coffee or water.
Organized Storage in Clear, Sealable, and Well-labeled Bins
If your interest is simply to maximize the unused space for the purpose of storing infrequently used items in an organized fashion or to save heirlooms until your children move out and you can downsize, there are inexpensive and creative attic storage ideas to choose from.
There are plenty of options to add shelving in your attic, and it all depends on the amount of space you have to work within. The height of the ceiling from the floor, the pitch of the roof, and the angle of the rafters will determine your possibilities. If you are able to stand, you are afforded a variety of pre-made or build-on-site bookcases and shelves. As with the bookshelves for an attic library, you can order and install sturdy wood, metal, or plastic units from any home improvement enterprise or department.
Assuming you are not carving out a nook for a pretty closet or tranquil library, you can optimize your storage space with clear, sealable plastic bins designed to stack or to fit in prefabbed shelving units. The clear bins will allow you to see inside easily without having to open them or move boxes to find something. You definitely don’t want to make a mess while looking for something after you took the time to organize the space.
Using the same style of bins will help visually declutter the space too. Label the bins to help with ease of identifying for holiday or seasonal decorations. If you have more than three boxes for any occasion or storage category, mark the number of the box out of how many boxes in total. For example, 1 of 3; 2 of 3; and 3 of 3.
10 CREATIVE ATTIC STORAGE IDEAS
Most attics can offer an abundance of additional space ideal for practical and creative attic storage ideas. The style of your home and the design, or slope, of its roof, in particular, will determine the options for attic storage.
Victorian and Pre-1970’s Colonial Homes offer the most space because the third story, the attic, houses a steeper pitch roof.
Newer Two-story and Ranches Homes offer the least amount of attic storage space, often just enough for a crawl space.
Cape Cod, Bungalow, and Traditional Homes offer the most creative opportunities for second-story storage.
- The architecture of a Gable-style attic provides the greatest opportunity for wall shelving or cabinetry.
- Constructing a knee-wall can transform the space under eaves; a four-foot knee-wall will provide you with a level shelf to support boxes.
- Hang a wardrobe bag from the collar beam that runs perpendicular to the rafters. Build a platform for storage in the space between collar beams.
- Create a stable floor with large sheets of plywood between the rafters, ensuring you do not fall through the space in between the floor rafters. That floor space in the attic is soft and is usually the ceiling of the story below the attic. Adding the plywood may be all the ample storage you need in the attic.
- Suspend shelves from the rafters for compartmentalized storage for smaller, lighter items.
- Metal wall-mounted shelving units are clever and creative. They look sleek and can be installed on slanted roof or ceilings that typically are difficult to utilize for functional storage.
- Stack and store seasonal decorations in clear, sealable storage bins with labels for easy identification on standalone shelving.
- Install short doors along your attic’s knee-wall in narrow spaces, so you will save room sliding the doors across rather than pulling them open into potentially useable space.
- Shed dormers, in Cape Cod-style homes, are where the roof extends beyond the dominant roofline; these offer attic storage ideas the size of a large closet.
- Storage alleys in the attic are also known as knee-walls and run parallel to the exterior wall beneath the dormer. The Cape Cod-style angled ceiling provides little headroom, so these attic storage ideas are ideal for shelves and stacking.
VENTILATION AND INSULATION
No attic is completely safe for storage until it is properly ventilated and insulated. They work together to reduce humidity and prevent the effects of extreme temperature changes in summer and winter seasons. If you are unsure, consult a contractor.
If the existing vents circulate the air adequately so that the cooler air enters the attic via the vents located near the eaves, then through warmer air convection, the hotter air will be forced to escape through roof vents. Remember, hot air rises and will naturally be forced out if the ventilation system is working properly and storage does not impede the airflow circulation.
If your ventilation is inadequate, install an electric fan to draw in fresh air and suck out the hot air. The fan functions automatically every time the temperature in the attic reaches 100 degrees. It is important to install a fan that has a firestat or automatic shutoff feature, since the fan increases air currents that can fuel house fires. A shutoff sensor will be triggered if temperatures increase intensely. Newer versions will also activate a humidistat when humidity levels climb above 70 percent.
Insulation works hand-in-hand with ventilation. It serves as a buffer by slowing down the transfer of heat between the attic and the living space below. Most attics are insulated between the floor joists. Additional insulation may be necessary if you intend to use the attic for long-term storage, as it will help counter the effects in severely changing weather and temperatures.
Moisture build-up is a concern in insulated attics, especially in humid regions. Insulation is rated for efficiency, R-value and standards vary by region, so confirm what is recommended for your area. Insulation, venting, vapor barriers, and air space are all options to help reduce the effects of unwanted moisture.
- If you plan to use your attic space for more than storing a few boxes in a crawl space, you will also want to confirm the ceiling joists from below the attic’s floor can hold additional weight or weight-bearing floor. It may need additional joists, depending on your intent for use.
- A fixed staircase or a fold-down ladder can be installed if necessary to ensure the newly re-annotated attic space is easily and safely accessible.
- Adequate lighting to serve your purpose is a necessity too.
Whether you're new, recently discovered storage space in the attic is a dormer, crawl space, alley, or open walk-in area, the options for creative attic storage ideas are endless. Take the necessary time to explore your possibilities to create a well-organized plan to reduce your clutter and to store items you do not use in your daily or weekly routine.