Monday, November 7, 2011

Attic Attack - Not Panic Attack

It's that time of year again. You look into your attic or basement in preparation for getting out holiday decorations.
You look and .... you just want to close it up again and walk away. I mean, seriously, how much would it cost just to go out and buy all new decorations for this year?
OK. I get the picture. The storage area can be overwhelming. So, where to begin?
Begin with a vision and a plan. How do you want your attic/basement to look and function? What do you want to store in that space? Make a list of all the categories of items for this area. Look at the overall layout of your space. Think how you could divide this space into zones. When you set up the zones, it will help you to place items rather than just tossing them into any available space and often blocking the paths to the back of the storage area. Zones also help you to find items when you go looking for them.

Some possible zones:
  • Holiday storage
  • Archival paperwork
  • Furniture/accessories you are not using but plan to keep
  • Household items used seasonally - ie. fans/humidifiers/space heaters
  • Off season clothes
  • Sports equipment
  • Memorabilia like baby clothes or old toys
Now that you have a brainstorm list, make an actual plan with times on your calendar to implement your plan. You don't have to do this all in one day.
Put signs around your space designating the different zones. Then start matching up items to signs. Negotiate help from others in the family.
Put frequently accessed zones nearest the entrance and storage zones to the back. Use labeled containers to hold items. Purge as you go. If something has gotten damaged or no longer looks like something you still want or love, let it go now. Free up space for the important items. When you get to that archival paper, make a date to review it and see what has been held long enough and can now be trashed or shredded.
Plan a reward for yourself when this task is complete! You will feel so much lighter when this is accomplished and next year when this zone rolls around again, it will not be nearly so difficult.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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