- How clean is it? Odds are it is the filthiest spot in the house. Pull on a sturdy pair of work gloves and give your attic a thorough cleaning, from ceiling to floors. Scrub away all dust, dirt, grime, mildew and mold. The cleaner your attic is, the safer it will keep your stored possessions.
- Does it have bugs? Search for bugs, rodents and other critters-dead or alive. If you spot anything, call an exterminator to treat the attic. You won't want anything nibbling on the holiday decorations or spare linens you place in your new space.
- How hot is it? Answer: Extremely, particularly in 100° temperatures. If you store collectibles or keepsakes, know that the heat can warp, discolor and even destroy them. You might need to add ventilation to help cool the space.
- Is there light? Most attics have a single bulb or no light at all. Call an electrician to tap into that single bulb and run enough lighting to rid the attic of shadows.
- Can you move around safely? Beware of protruding roofing nails. And take care where the ceiling slopes and the exposed frame is just waiting to bang your head.
- How sturdy is the floor? Your attic might have a plywood floor or no floor at all. Be sure to install a sturdy floor, particularly if you want to store books, stacks of magazines and other heavy items. The last thing you want is for your possessions to crash through the ceiling.
- What will you store? You may want to invest in storage bins to protect your most cherished possessions.
- How much space do you have? Most attics are shallow and narrow. Consider every nook and cranny as a potential storage area. Build shelves, if you can, to add layers. Be sure not to block vents because airflow is vital to keeping the attic relatively cool.
- Does the roof leak? Check for water stains, wet spots and mildew. Have a leaky roof repaired before you place anything in your attic.
- Is it easy to get into? Once your attic is clean, organized and full of your stuff, inspect it regularly to check your items for damage. Keep a stool or a ladder nearby for easy access.
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*Article written by Rosie Romero for The Arizona Republic