This is the perfect time to organize your attic. It is not so cold overnight that morning visits to the attic are too chilly to work, and the angle of the sun and cooler days keep that space from becoming unbearably hot. If you have holiday items stored there, you will need to access those decorations soon and having an orderly space will make the task easier.
There are some principles you should consider before going overhead. For convenience and safety, floor boards should be securely in place so that moving about is not a concern. Adequate lighting should be provided for the same reasons.
Extreme heat can damage most fabrics so storing those elsewhere is a good idea. If they must be placed there, you should prevent possible insect damage to them and to any books or papers you are saving by placing them in plastic containers with tight fitting lids. Heat can also affect candles, photographs, video and audio tapes and soft plastics such as found in dolls. Freezing temperatures may cause problems for some items so consideration should be given before storing them. As a general principle it is not a good idea to store upholstered furniture in the attic and any wood or metal furniture should be covered with old blankets or sheets to keep them clean.
To make the most of the space, adding permanent shelves for smaller items and rods between the rafters for hanging things is a good organizing strategy. Using similar shaped storage boxes or plastic bins makes stacking easier and utilizes the space more effectively. Although they can be expensive, home improvement stores have speciality items and systems that can be installed by the average home owner to make storage more efficient.
Just like any other space, the best way to organize an attic is by zones with similar items together. All containers should be labeled and if there are many of them an inventory list should be kept in your files. Drawing a map of the zones and container placement is a good idea if the attic is crowded and some containers are hidden.
The best organizing advice for attics is to eliminate as many items as you can from the space. Because of its location, it is not the most convenient space for storage and many times it is difficult to access. While it appears to be the most logical space for items used only once or twice a year, it should not be crowded with things that are never used or have little attachment to you. Aunt Susie's china that you inherited but is incomplete or you don't like anyway should be passed on to a family member that wants it or will use it, or it can be donated to a charity. It is not honoring to Aunt Susie to bury it in the attic and letting it go will not erase your memory of her.
Other sentimental items should be limited to those that are special. One hundred letters from your mom when you were in college can be reduced to a few that had important events documented or timely words of wisdom for you ("Don't marry that person!"). If you are saving your children's toys, furniture, etc. for your grandchildren, it is likely that most will be declared unsafe, they will not be enjoyed as much as the newer electronics, etc. or they will be forgotten when it could have been used.
Those items you are saving for your children to use when they are grown or for other family members on a temporary basis should be given to them as soon as they have a place of their own. Set a deadline for it to be claimed and stick to it. Tell them your organizer insisted it be removed. (I love being the "fall guy" in these situations.) Otherwise you may find it stays with you forever.
As with any space, an attic can become a storage space for clutter. Removing items no longer used and organizing what is left can make using that area more efficient. If you have comments or questions feel free to contact me through my website, OrderlyPlaces.com. or email, maryfrances@OrderlyPlaces.com.