If you are like most homeowners (and renters), you want to make the most of the space available in your residence. This very well may include taking advantage of your attic as a storage space in your home. Taking full advantage of your attic as a storage space is a good plan of action. However, you must take care to avoid attic storage mistakes that can prove to be problematic.

There are a number of key attic storage mistakes that you must avoid, including items you should never store in your attic:

  • Food
  • Certain fabrics
  • Important papers
  • Flammable liquids
  • Electronics
  • Heavy items
  • Seasonal decorations
  • Art
  • Wooden furniture
  • Musical instruments
  • Leather items
  • Paint
  • Medications

These specific attic storage mistakes are discussed in turn. In addition, a general presentation of the perils of creating clutter in your attic is included at the end of this discussion.

Food

A surprising number of people use their attics as a place to store extra food. Simply put, this is an unwise decision – for a number of reasons. First of all, poor ventilation and the extreme temperature fluctuations that are commonplace in an attic can seriously impact the shelf life of seven dry and canned food items.

Keeping food in your attic raises the prospect of another real, serious problem. Food stored in your attic has the potential for attracting varmints, particularly rodents like mice and rats. This can result in a serious infestation in your attic (and elsewhere in your home).

Certain Fabrics

You also should avoid storing items made of certain types of fabrics in your attic. Indeed, generally speaking you should avoid storing any type of item made of fabric. Humidity can be a persistent, pervasive problem in an attic. The likely humid condition in your attic can result in the rapid development of mold and mildew. This can damage items made of fabric in little time. The only real way to protect against this happening is to store items made of fabric in appropriately sealed containers if you will be keeping them in the attic.

Important Papers

Mold and mildew can also damage important papers if you store them in your attic. As is the case with fabrics, you must ensure that important papers are stored in appropriately sealed containers. Damage to important papers haphazardly placed represents another of the more commonplace attic storage mistakes.

Flammable Liquids

Never stow flammable liquids in your attic. As a result of temperature fluctuations, the resulting expansion and contraction of these chemicals can result in combustion of flammable liquids and fire. The fact is that many residential fires start in attics. As an aside, about 25 percent of home fires are caused by rodents chewing on wires in a residence, oftentimes in attics.

Electronics

Electronics should never be stored in an attic. Moisture and temperature fluctuations that occur in attics can damage and even destroy electronics. As mentioned a moment ago, rodents are attracted to electrical wires. Thus, if you store electronics in an attic, you also run the risk of having these items destroyed by rodents.

Heavy Items

Care must be taken when it comes to storing heavy objects or items in your attic. The general rule should be to avoid storing heavy objects in your attics. The reality is that attics tend to be constructed without full floors. When that is the case, heavier items can easily damage the flooring of an attic and even cause the floor to collapse. This damage is serious and can even result in people below being injured.

Seasonal Decorations

A very common practice is for people to store seasonal decorations in attics. In fact, once again due to the temperature fluctuations and moisture in attics, because of the nature and design of many seasonal decorations, these items can be destroyed when placed in an attic.

Art

If you have pieces of art or even memorabilia you desire to store, don’t use your attic. Once again, the issue of temperature fluctuations and moisture can result in serious and even permanent damage to these types of items.

Wooden Furniture

Some types of home furnishings can safely be stored in an attic. However, one of the more frequent attic storage mistakes is stowing wood furniture and furniture with cloth attributes in attics. Although this is becoming something of a mantra, temperature fluctuations and moisture can case irreversible damage to wooden furniture and furniture items that have cloth as a component.

Musical Instruments

You need to take great care in the manner in which you store musical instruments. In the final analysis, in order to keep musical instruments in top condition, they must be properly stored in an appropriate climate-controlled space. Unless fully outfitted with appropriate HVAC and related equipment, an attic is never the place to store musical instruments.

Leather Items

Climate control is also vital when it comes to storing leather items. Too much moisture can cause staining of items made of leather. If an attic becomes too dry, leather will crack. You should never store leather items in an attic because both of these possibilities exist, a reality that will lead to permanent damage of such items.

Paint

Paint should also never be stored in an attic. Temperature fluctuations that are commonplace in an attic will destroy the consistency of paint, rendering it unsuitable for use. In addition, paint is a flammable substance which can also combust under adverse conditions.

Medications

The attic is never a place to store extra medications. Yes, storing medications in an attic is one way of keeping them away from children and pets. However, the temperature fluctuations will impact the efficacy of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Creating Clutter

Even if you stow suitable items in your attic, you must always avoid unnecessary clutter. By creating clutter in your attic, you establish an environment that is attractive to rodents.

A rodent infestation can result in damage to your attic itself, including wiring. It can also result in damage to items you’ve stored in your attic.

Mice and rat infestation also results in rodent droppings. Rodent droppings present a potential health hazard to you and your family. If you do end up with a rodent infestation issue, you will want to consider seriously engaging the services of a rodent droppings cleanup professional.