It’s funny how garage attics can become the catchall storage space for your household. They fill up with holiday decorations, trunks full of family heirlooms, books, toys, clothes the kids have outgrown and other stuff you just put away and then forget about. So you can imagine how they can easily become unorganized and cluttered messes.
Moreover, garage attic storage can be tricky to organize. The space itself is often unfinished, and because the roof creates angled walls, its dimensions are unusual. The necessity of accessing it via a pull-down ladder only adds to the difficulty of getting the most use out of your attic. But all it takes to make over your garage attic into a storage space is a little planning up front. Here are some of our favorite garage attic storage ideas.
The first step in optimizing your attic storage space is getting rid of what you don’t want or need anymore. If you’re giving your garage attic a major overhaul, you'll need to make some hard choices. If you're considering unloading old furniture, appliances or other bulky items, you may consider renting a dumpster. For smaller items like clothes and toys, a supply of heavy-duty trash bags and a vehicle that you can use to haul everything to the dump may be enough. Of course, many charitable organizations are often in need of the items that are just hanging out in our storage spaces. Contact one today to see if you can arrange for a donation pick-up.
The next step in converting your garage attic into a storage space is to create an organization plan. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated — you’re basically grouping like items together and choosing a spot for them. Holiday decorations, clothing, family memorabilia (and whatever else you have up there) can be separated into zones. The most important thing to remember when deciding where to put everything is to place items you won’t need to get to very often towards the back of the attic, away from any entry points. Place the items that you might need more often near those same attic entry points for easy access.
Shelve, bag, box and label
If you don’t have them already, invest in adjustable shelving and large clear plastic bins. The shelves will allow you to organize boxes and bins against the wall. You can use the remaining floor space to hold large or shelf-unfriendly items, like that Christmas tree you'll never be able to reassemble if you take it apart.
Clear bins will allow you to see what’s stored inside without having to flip their lids. This will come in handy when you’re looking for something and the temperature in your attic is topping out at s 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also attach labels to the sides of these bins to provide a quick, at-a-glance sense of what's where. And your labeling scheme is entirely up to you. It can be based on item, family member, room within your home, calendar year or even holiday — especially if your family has a passion for seasonal displays.
If you're handy with carpentry tools (or know someone who is), your attic's trusses can be used to open up even more floor space. You can lay down a storage deck over areas of your attic with a few properly pitched vertical supports to better utilize the space in your attic.
Vacuum storage bags are a great solution for the clotheshorse. They can also help greatly reduce the amount of space consumed by bedding that you've placed in storage. Fold, pack and seal, then attach your vacuum cleaner's hose to the special valve on the front of the bag and suck out all the extra air inside. You can then store your compressed sweaters, quilts, etc. in plastic bins.
If you’ve got a ceiling or roof line with an especially high pitch, install a clothes rod. Now those puffy winter jackets won't be taking up all the space in your coat closet half of the year. To protect them from dust and the temperature extremes they'll experience in your attic, place them in garment bags first. You can also get some screw-in hooks or eyebolts — no tools required! — for your rafters to store other hanging items (extension cords, wreaths, that painting you inherited from your aunt).
Finally, once you have your garage attic organized just the way you like it, keep it that way! Pop in every couple of months to tidy up and put away any stragglers or odds and ends.