Monday, April 3, 2017

12 Ways to Organize Your Attic

Are y'all familiar with the mess? The one that you're left with when all the kiddos have grown up and moved out? The one that's been sitting there for DECADES waiting for you to take the time to sort through it all?

No? I'm the ONLY one???? Yikes! That's not good.

I never took the time to sort and organize through the years.

When the lovelies grew up and moved on I had a total mess. I had not had the time to sort through one darn thing. Or, if I'm being honest, I never took the time to sort through one darn thing. I'm just now going through the attic after 28 years here in the same house and I've learned a few things that I wish I had done throughout the years instead of after it was all over. Luckily, I took it one day at a time and am over halfway finished!

How can you stay on top of the stuff?

There are many ways to stay on top of it and keep your stuff organized. I've listed my top 12 suggestions here. If I had bothered to pay attention and stay on top of it, I wouldn't be facing the mess of the century right now. Seriously, if you let it become so much that it's overwhelming, you may never get it done. If you're like me, it really doesn't take much for things to reach the overwhelming so never it level. 

Here are my top 12 ways to store and organize attic treasures:

1. BUY THE TUBS. Spend the money and buy the plastic storage tubs. Buy the Sharpies and some tape to write on. Why tape? Because it's easy to take the tape off and replace it when you use the tub for something else. Or you can buy one of those fabulous label makers. I've had a love affair with those things since the only ones you could buy were these: 

2. NO PROCRASTINATION. I don't care what's going on, take that minute and put the stuff in the tub and label it right then. If you put it off you will:
  • likely never get around to it
  • throw everything in an unlabeled box and throw it in the attic
  • throw everything in a trash bag and throw that in the attic
  • throw everything away and wish, DECADES later you had not
  • throw it in the back of the closet soon to be known as the black hole
3. SELL IT or DONATE IT. Those dishes that you bought at one of the grocery stores when they sold dishes? Sell those suckers or donate them as soon as you replace them because putting it off will lead to the same possibilities as in #2. EXCEPTION- if you want to hold onto those dishes for your kids' first apartment, put them in something sturdy and label them. Otherwise, there's just no use.

4. ASK YOURSELF THE LOVE IT QUESTION. Seriously, ask yourself if the item is something you love, cherish, can't live without. If the answer is yes, pack it up neatly, label it, and store it. If the answer is no, sell or donate it. 

5. BUILD THOSE ATTIC SHELVES. Or whatever you need to do to organize your attic stuff. If you can't do it, find someone who can. They will make the world of difference. AND they'll make you want to put nicely packed, labeled, organized stuff up there instead of stuff crammed in an unlabeled box.

6. KEEP A LIST/TAKE PICTURES of what you have up there. Trust me, this step will keep you sane a little longer. And when someone says, "We don't have those things anymore" your list/picture will enable you to say, "Oh, really?" and you'll be right. 

7. DOWNSIZE WITH EACH SEASON. If you have seasonal decorations, consider downsizing them every year. I am the crazy Christmas lady around here so I never wanted to downsize Christmas decorations. However, as the lovelies grew up and move out into the world, I did take their ornaments and other Christmas-related items and box/label/store them until they needed them. All we had to do is grab their tubs out of the attic when they were ready. The other holiday related items aren't nearly as much and easier to organize/store.

8. KIDS CLOTHES. Around here, I packed up the clothes that were still usable and boxed them up for the next daughter to use the following season. I have 4 daughters. There was no sense in buying all new clothes for each daughter every single season. The rest of the clothing was not donated because if it's not good enough for my kids to wear why would I try to pass clothing in that condition to others? That's insulting, y'all. Of course, once the kids are old enough to care about their own style, this no longer works. It also doesn't work when they can no longer wear the same sizes the next year. That's when donating comes into play. Still, only for the usable items. 

9. KIDS SCHOOL WORK. I say keep it. We all enjoy going through that stuff to this day. Buy the tubs, label them with each kids' name, and keep it. Well, not ALL of it. Just the pieces that you consider save worthy, a good sampling of their amazing abilities during their school years. Once the girls moved out I made each of them HUGE scrapbooks with pictures and school items such as written work, small pictures they had drawn, and report cards. You really need to keep it all organized though or it's not going to look very nice when you take it out to do something with it or if you just keep it in the tub.  

10. JUST SAY NO when the kids ask to keep their stuff at home for years and years. If they don't need it for years and years, they don't need it. And you don't need it crowded up your attic. 

11. KEEP THE GOOD MEMORIES. I know. A lot of folks say to not do this but if you're like me your memories are the most cherished things you have other than your children. So, I say keep the memories. Now that the lovelies have grown up and moved out and I have a granddaughter, I am finding new uses for some of those memory holding items and I'm re-purposing some of them and giving others a much-needed face-lift. 

12. E-WASTE. This is an issue everywhere. Find a place that accepts your e-waste for re-purposing and safe recycling. Do your research CAREFULLY. Make sure they are e-Steward and/or R2 certified. These are voluntary certifications and if a company has gone through the trouble to get them then the company is not going to send the scraps to a developing country to contaminate the environment or cause harm to the people. It also means they are going to re-purpose and recycle safely and responsibly. Please make sure you remove your hard drives, Sim cards, SD cards, etc. and destroy them. Same thing with chargers and batteries. If you decide to keep any of these things in case you need them later let me assure you that you will not need them later and you will end up with quite a few tubs of electronic crap in your house/attic.  

All of this will keep your junk to a minimum and allow you access to the items you need when you need them. Like if you lived around here and a hurricane was headed your way and you had to evacuate, you could just grab the most important tubs and off you go!

Dealing with the stuff as you go through the years will also keep you from being overwhelmed with having to sort it all out when your kids grow up and move out into the world when you'll be dealing with your adjustment period of living in an empty nest. 

What are your tips for organizing and storing family stuff?

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  1. That is a great list. We don't use our attic in this house but I certainly need to organize all the closets and drawers!

    1. You're smart not to. I can't even go up there anymore. I need a better place to store my stuff. :)

  2. Good list, wish I had an attic! My tubs go to the garage for a rummage sale! :)

  3. These are all great tips, but that #6 about taking the picture is a great idea especially! Wow, that will save a lot of time and wondering.

    1. Thank you! I sure wish I thought of it sooner. LOL

  4. Thanks from Grammy Dee, #WednesdayAIMLinkParty, social media shared.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks! I do wish I had thought of them years ago. Then I wouldn't have the mess I have now. LOL

  6. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party. Hope you come back next week so I can stop by again.

    1. Thank you! I'd love to participate again! My only problem is remembering. LOL

  7. Great ideas for getting organized. Thanks for linking up with #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

  8. Thank you for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    1. Thank you for the time and effort you put into the link-ups!

  9. I love organization! This is a great article. Thank you for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I have shared on social media.

    1. I love it, too. I just don't love having to do it. LOL Thank you!

  10. Thank you for linking up at #TheBloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

    1. I love linking up there! Everyone is nice enough to visit everyone else! So cool!


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