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How to Organize an Attic

Taking Inventory of Attic Contents

You've decided to take the step to organize your attic, but as soon as you walk into that room, you suddenly want to run in the other direction. It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over the years! While it may seem intimidating, if you take a simple approach to taking inventory and sorting of the items in your attic, you'll have a much more manageable task on your hands.

With a notebook and pen in hand, begin by going through the items in your attic and recording what you find. Do box labels match their contents of their boxes? If they don't, look at what's there and re-label the box. As you compile your list, you'll begin to see some natural categories developing: out-of-season clothes, holiday decorations, family keepsakes and so on. These categories will be helpful when you begin to sort and organize the items you decide to keep.

Once you have a list of the items in your attic, it's time to really investigate what's there so you can pare down what you're storing. A helpful start is to organize the list into three groups: always used, used on special occasions and rarely used [source: Heloise]. Not only will this help you in deciding what to part with, but it will also help you decide where and how to store what you're keeping. If you want to break things down even further, you can separate items into these categories: things you definitely want to store, things you can throw out or donate, and things you want to think about [source: Ewer].

At this point, reorganize your list. You'll find you have a much better grasp on what you have and you'll be able to identify the next step, which typically is getting rid of the items you've decided to throw out or donate. By doing this, you'll have much less clutter to work with when you start organizing what you're going to keep.

Now that you've made this first big step, read on for tips on how to sort through what you have left.