Friday, April 20, 2012

What Not to Store in Your Attic

If you're just joining us, this is a continuation of yesterday's post "The One Year Attic Rule" (scroll down).

STEP 2: Box up everything in your attic made of paper or fabric and take it downstairs.

I know this instruction sounds troublesome, because, after all, this category includes some things you had planned on keeping forever: scrapbooks, wedding mementos, photos, baby clothes, stuffed animals, books, and goodness knows what other sentimental goodies. Relax- you can keep as much of this as you want (and/or have room for). 

What I recommend for these items is two-fold. First, whittle the collection down a bit. Do you really need to keep every outfit your baby ever wore, or every book you ever read to him/her? You have your special favorites- keep them and give the rest away. Sort through it all and keep whatever falls into these two categories: a) anything that represents a specific happy memory, and b) anything that would make you sad to part with. Secondly, get rid of everything else, including pictures of folks you can't identify and clothes you think your grandkids might wear (it's never gonna happen...).  

OK. Now that you (hopefully) have just a fraction of what you started with, find someplace else to put it. Since this is stuff that you've decided to keep "forever", you can't (or shouldn't) store it in your attic! Extreme, fluctuating temperatures and humidity break down textile fibers causing yellowing, deterioration and other serious damage. So do insects, mice and other chewing pests. Additionally, some sources say that the unfinished wood in your attic can do harm as well. So, your valuable keepsakes need to be stored in a climate controlled, dry, pest-free environment. Our four plastic tubs full are stored in our crawl space, which maintains a fairly consistent temperature with low humidity, and is well sealed. Your best option might be a closet, so you may have to be very discriminating when choosing what to keep. As time passes, you will become comfortable narrowing it down even more- to make room for new memories.

Coming Next- Step 3: Implementing the One Year Attic Rule 

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