Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Attic Organization

Fall is here! The change of seasons is always a great time to get organized. The clothing/decor/etc swap is already happening, so why not take that extra step to simplify? Between back to school and holiday preparation, things can get chaotic for many households this time of year. No better way to relieve some stress than with an organized space! (And maybe a nice glass of wine and some jazz when you're done.)

This past week I helped one of my organizing clients get her attic organized. It's the perfect time of year between cooler temperatures and pending holidays. Here are the four steps we used to tackle the project:

1. Assess and Categorize

Walk through the space and create a general list of categories. In my client's case: extra organizing product, furniture, keepsake, off-season clothing, toys, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Keep your categories simple for now. You can get more detailed if needed later.

2. Assign Zones

You'll want to store like with like. Designate an area of the attic for each category based on frequency of use. For example, keepsake might be less accessible than toys and holiday. Remove any large objects to be donated or sold if possible to free up floor area. Make sure to get help if an item is too heavy to lift. Your zones might change as your sort and purge, but it's a good idea to have a general plan before you start.

3. Sort and Purge

Go through the items in your attic and sort into the appropriate categories/zones. Make sure to keep trash and recycling bags handy. Once you have sorted everything, take a closer look at each category. Donate or sell any items you are able to part with. Tip - try not to get hung up on decisions during the sort process. It's much easier to purge post-sort when you can see like with like. For instance, realizing you have 20 boxes of old holiday decorations in your attic might be a good catalyst to let a few go.

4. Store and Label

At this point, you have a pretty good idea of how much stuff is going to live in your attic post-organization. If floor space is limited, go vertical with plastic shelving. Make sure to store all items (with the exception of large pieces like furniture) in air-tight plastic containers to protect from dust and moisture. Definitely steer clear of cardboard! This time of year you can find orange, red and green bins at Target to color code your holiday storage. Otherwise, I recommend using clear containers for easy identification. Adding large labels helps as well. Word to the wise - always wait post-purge to buy organizing product. You will have a much more accurate idea of what you need.

If time is an issue, or all of this sounds overwhelming, feel free to contact me for professional organizing services. I'm happy to help!

Kristen Ziegler

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