The Attic

Since we are headlong into a new year and I always get the itch to organize, I figured someone else might get the itch too and benefit from our time spent clearing out and organizing the attic!

We have very limited storage here. I've said this before, but we live in 1,400 square feet of space. Compared to an apartment it's huge- but as far as houses go, we really have to use our space wisely.

We have no useable basement/crawlspace. You can almost stand up down there, but after the flood of 2009 there was a river running under there and we just don't trust our stuff down there. We have a shed, and although it's "weather proof" it's a long walk out there and we try to just store things we're going to sell or give away there. We do store our outgrown baby clothes out there since we don't have to get to that often (or at all).

So that leaves us with the attic. We are super blessed to have an amazing attic. Although you can't stand up, it is fairly large (in perspective to the size of our house) and it's dry, clean space. We had a new roof put on last summer (see the patches of plywood and the new horizontal mesh vent looking thing?). That means NO rain will seep in (and if it does Lowes will be back to fix it) and the vent makes it 100 degrees in the summer as opposed to 140 degrees.
...and this nice dry space was totally outta control. We store Christmas things, yard sale stuff (that hasn't made it to the shed yet), baby gear (swing, highchair, etc), my summer clothes in winter (and winter clothes in summer), a current box with outgrown baby clothes (that once full gets moved out to the shed), my scrapbook stuff, blanks for embroidering, extra "couponing" surplus (toilet paper/paper towels), office supplies, files, moving boxes (hey we'll need them someday!) and empty boxes (that we need for warranty information). See what I mean? This space is invaluable to us! So when it gets out of control it really stresses us out.

Part of the issue was turning the office into the nursery. All our paperwork needed somewhere else to go. We had 2 filing cabinets, and our new "office" desk only stores about 1/2 a file cabinet worth. Things that we really don't use a lot found it's way into boxes, and are now stored up there as well.

So how do we keep it organized?? Well if it were left up to me I guess it would never get done. But my husband is slightly OCD and he loves doing this kind of stuff- so I just do what he says ;)

He got up there and began with all the empty boxes (sewing machine box, keurig box, crock pot box, i pad box, etc). He started purging (that means asking me if we need them and throwing them down to me so I could break them down for recycling). Anything that was past its warranty date was gone. Anything that didn't have a warranty date was gone. Looks like we'll be hording my sewing machine box until 2035... it has a 25 year warranty!
He got as far back as he could go in the attic and began stacking the boxes to make the most space possible. It really is a science and he is really good at it!
The wreath was added later... it's my fall door decoration and it needed a place out of the way where it wouldn't get squished. Also we don't have plywood down on the whole floor so we have to be very strategic about where we place everything so it doesn't fall through the ceiling. That would be a nightmare!
Next we made sense of the boxes. We started this a few months ago and it has really worked well for us. I actually got the idea from one of Michelle Duggar's books. At one point she had 52 boxes and she knew what was in every single one. Inspiring! Most of the things we needed to store had nothing to do with each other... and there was really no easy way to organize. So we just started filling boxes. Every.single.item that went in the box was recorded on a note card. Each box was given a number and each note card was labeled with a number that corresponded to the box number.

There are so many benefits to this:
1. You don't have to run to the attic and rummage through every box every time you need to put your hands on something. Go to the note card, figure out what box it's in, and go to THAT box! Genius!
2. Michelle writes on her cards in pencil, that way she can mark out/erase something if shes decides to get rid of it. She also puts a * next to things that she wants to sell or donate- making it easier when they actually  go through the box. I'm not that far in the process because I have already purged what we don't need.
3. You don't have to worry about moving/swapping up whats in each box. If you write on the outside what's in each box, then when that stuff isn't there anymore you have a box with words all over it making it confusing as to what is really in the box. By numbering the boxes you see a clear number and as long as you write the contents on a note card accurately, then you always know what's inside.

I keep my note cards in a plastic box in our office so they are always at my fingertips.

We still have plastic rubbermaid boxes up there too that store holiday decorations, Christmas stuff, and outgrown baby clothes. Since most of those items take up the whole box I have labeled them on the outside with my label maker.
I always get a little teary when I have to put outgrown baby clothes up. It's just so sad to know they will never fit into those again!
Ohhhh look at all those shoes :(
After organizing, purging, and figuring out what all we have I feel SO much better about that space! And I'm sure in no time it will be back to crazytown... we do this once every 6 months-year. Those empty boxes really sneak up on us (especially after Christmas and birthdays!).
Any idea what little man was doing while all that organization went down? Playing trains of course!!

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