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Try These Attic Storage Ideas for an Organization Overhaul

Unfinished Attic Waiting for Organization
By:Andrea Axsom| Last Updated:03/25/2024
Time to Read: 6 min

7 Attic Organization Ideas to Transform Your Storage Space

High school yearbooks, out-of-season clothes and your grandfather’s old tools all share something in common — they’re in your attic, but you’re not quite sure where. While an attic is a great place to store odds and ends, it’s a helpless mess if it’s not organized. Instead of coming down with a fishing pole after searching for a Christmas wreath, consider these 7 attic storage solutions to get rid of clutter and chaos.


How to Organize an Attic

Your attic has a way of collecting junk over time. That’s why it’s important to declutter before creating a new organization system. While you’re taking the time to organize, get rid of items you’ll never use again.

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“One of the best ways to maximize storage in your attic is to be very thoughtful about what you keep there. By decluttering what's in your attic now, and by being very thoughtful as to what you save and don't save over time, you'll be able to maximize your storage space.”
Lauren Saltman, Living. Simplified.


As you begin to sort, group together similar materials by season or intent. Nothing is more frustrating than putting up a Christmas tree only to realize you can’t find the topper. Your organizational system will be easier to maintain if it’s logical.

It’s also helpful to place the items you use most often in an accessible spot. This makes it convenient to grab what you need quickly. It also stops you from getting distracted by old photos or other memories tucked away in your attic. Likewise, store items you only access once a year in the back of the room.

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“Don’t make it a pain – literally – to retrieve things. Put things you’re less likely to use (like old tax files) in the far reaches of the attic and where the ceiling is lowest.”
Lisa Zaslow, Gotham Organizers


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7 Attic Storage Solutions

1. Choose Durable Storage Containers

Attics are susceptible to changes in humidity and dust. Don’t let this scare you from optimizing your storage space — just place your items in plastic, air-tight bins to protect them from moisture and dirt. Plastic containers are more durable than cardboard boxes, easy to stack and accessible. Unlike boxes, they have handles that make them convenient to carry and move around.

Plastic Storage Container With Green Handles

Attic Storage Container Tips

Use transparent containers to find what you’re looking for quickly. You’ll be able to see the item you need without pulling the bin from a shelf and rummaging through it. Plus, clear containers will make your attic look more uniform.

Create a labeling system to arrange the bins. Use a permanent marker and an adhesive label or painter’s tape to write the contents of the container. If you want to get fancy (or can’t read your own handwriting), use a label maker. Place one label on the lid and another on the side facing out. This way you can distinguish your containers with little effort.

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“One of the best ways to keep items in your attic accessible and organized is to store items in clear plastic bins that are clearly labeled on the outside. By using clear bins, you can quickly see what’s inside.”
Laura Saltman | Living. Simplified.

Stackable Plastic Shelves

2. Keep Smaller Items in Plastic Drawers

While attic storage containers are great for large items, smaller accessories such as desk or craft supplies can easily get lost at the bottom of a bin. Use plastic storage drawers to keep track of small items. Similar to a large plastic bin, a drawer unit will shelter items from dust and moisture. If you’re storing small keepsakes, wrap each individual item in bubble wrap to keep it from hitting other items in the drawer.

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“The biggest mistake people make is to throw everything in a large plastic tote. The problem is that this tote becomes a disorganized mess that is difficult to use.”
Annie Kearns | Clutter Keeper


3. Install Shelves for Easy Access

Invest in attic shelving to save space. Shelves provide vertical storage, so you can find what you’re looking for and clear up floor space. They also improve accessibility. Rather than deconstructing a tower of bins every time you want something, conveniently slide out the container you need.

Empty Shelves in an Attic

Attic Shelving Tips

Use a durable shelf. With a little DIY knowledge, you can build custom shelves directly into the wall. A metal shelving unit is another sturdy option but requires less effort. While a plastic shelving unit also works, it won’t be able to hold heavy items.

Keep heavier items on the bottom shelf. This will reduce the risk of injury when you reach for something on a higher shelf. Also, try to distribute weight evenly on each shelf so one side isn’t more burdened than the other.

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“Install shelves from floor to ceiling to use as much space as possible. Keep the shelves open, without any vertical board separating them so that you can fit as many boxes as you need to.”
Annie Kearns | Clutter Keeper

Filing Cabinet Filled With Colorful Folders

4. Go Old School With Filing Cabinets

Not sure what to do with your pile of financial records and tax documents? A filing cabinet will store your paperwork in file folders. This attic organization idea makes it easy to categorize and retrieve folders efficiently if you don’t have a home office. It will also keep your papers safe from dust and debris.

5. Maximize Your Attic Storage With Truss Shelves

Take advantage of overhead space with truss shelving. These ceiling storage racks come in a variety of sizes and will help keep items off the floor. Just be mindful of weight distribution and avoid overloading the shelf. This unfinished attic storage idea is optimal for items used infrequently like camping gear or excess luggage.

Truss Shelves in an Attic
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“In some types of attics, it’s possible to attach shelves to the webbing – these are the timbers that help to hold up the roof. This then gives you a storage area that’s at a more accessible height, with not as much bending down needed! Plus, it gives you even more surfaces to store your items on.”
Paul McCleneghan | The Loft Boys

Pegboard Filled With Supplies

6. Use a Pegboard for Extra Space

Installing a pegboard on your wall is an excellent storage idea in an unfinished attic. It’s an easy way to display and keep track of tools and other supplies. Customize your storage with ¼-inch hook accessories that fit cleanly into the pegboard. You can even hang cubbyholes or shelves and place other lightweight items inside.

7. Hang Miscellaneous Items on Screw-In Hooks

Chances are everything you want to store in the attic will not fit neatly into bins or be small enough to hang on a pegboard. Screw-in hooks are an easy way to hang up extra items such as wreaths, sports equipment and tools. Just drill a hook into a wall stud. Consider placing two hooks next to each other to hold up a basket by its handle. Then, toss small items inside.

Screw-In Hooks Against White Background

What Shouldn’t I Store in My Attic?

Since your attic is susceptible to heat, water and pests, there are a few things you won’t want to keep there. Temperature-sensitive items such as electronics, musical instruments, leather, candle wax and art are easily ruined in an attic. Also, avoid storing anything flammable like oil-based paints and household chemicals.

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“Getting the conditions right inside your attic before you store items in there is really important and often overlooked. And this can quickly lead to damaged items. Ensuring some airflow into and out of the attic is essential as well as at least some under floor insulation to reduce the chance of condensation building up.”
Paul McCleneghan | The Loft Boys


If you store out-of-season clothing in the attic, be sure anything made from natural fibers is not left out. It’s best to keep all clothes secured in storage containers or vacuum seal bags. This will protect clothes from sunlight, insects and other environmental conditions.

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“Attics can be very useful to store items in our home, but if you really want to hold onto items for the long-term, be sure they are being stored properly. So grab your bins, a sharpie and painter’s tape for labeling, check to see what’s safe to store in your attic, declutter what you don’t need and set up a system that’s useful for you and your family.”
Lauren Saltman | Living. Simplified.


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