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7 Pros and Cons of Using Your Attic as a Storage Space

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When it comes to finding extra storage space in your home, the attic may seem like the first and most convenient option. After all, it’s located directly in your home, it’s cost-effective and it makes storing/retrieving your belongings easy. That said, attics aren’t the best storage solution for every item, particularly fragile or valuable ones. This article explores the pros and cons of using your attic as a storage space, as well as tips to work around some of the challenges they pose.

In This Article:
  1. The Pros of Attic Storage
  2. The Cons of Attic Storage
  3. Self Storage as an Alternative to Attic Storage

1. The Pros of Attic Storage

If your home is starting to feel cluttered but you don’t have extra room in your closets and other storage areas, your attic may seem like a great place to keep your belongings. Here are some of the key advantages of attic storage.

Maximized Living Space

Looking to free up space in your living areas? Your attic can be a great place to keep your belongings. Not only will it make your home feel less cluttered, but it’s also an efficient way to make use of space that you already have. By moving items you don’t frequently use — like holiday decorations and seasonal clothes — into the attic, you’ll create more room in your home for passions, hobbies and other activities. For example, you can create a cozy reading nook, a quiet office to work from home or even a play area for your kids.

Cost-Effective and Nearby

If you don’t currently have the budget to rent a storage unit, using your attic as a storage area can help you save money while making your living area feel more spacious and comfortable. In an attic, your belongings will also be conveniently located in your own home, making it easier for you to access them without having to go to an off-site facility during normal business or entry hours. Depending on the size and layout of your attic, you’ll also be able to install more permanent storage solutions — like basic shelving and cubbies — to keep your items organized.

Increased Home Value

An indirect benefit of redoing and organizing your attic into a functional storage space is that it may increase your home’s value. Like a well-maintained backyard or finished basement, an attic with easy access and organized built-ins can be a major plus for potential buyers, as it saves them the expenses and effort involved in attic renovations.

2. The Cons of Attic Storage

However, using your attic for storage isn’t without its challenges. From the risks posed by fluctuating temperatures and pests to structural and accessibility concerns, it’s important to weigh these drawbacks carefully before making a decision.

Temperature and Humidity Issues

Fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels can damage sensitive household items, including electronics, paper/fabric goods, photographs and wood furniture. This is especially true if you live in a climate that’s prone to more extreme seasonal weather. While certain parts of your home, like your bedroom and living room, may have a central HVAC system to keep the temperature and humidity relatively stable, this doesn’t always apply to attics. Attics are often poorly insulated, meaning that temperatures can get hotter than the outside air during the summer. Lack of proper ventilation can also lead to extra condensation build-up, especially during the winter, when the warm air in your home rises and hits the cold air in the attic. This creates the perfect conditions for mold growth, which can ruin any items you store in your attic.

How do you get around this? One option is to insulate your attic and add the proper vents, though a project like this can easily run up to $3,000. The more economical option is to store your belongings in a climate-controlled self-storage unit, which creates a tightly regulated environment that preserves the condition of your items. Small units may only cost you between $30 and $80 per month, depending on where you live and the facility.

Hard to Reach

While attic storage is convenient in the sense that it is located in your own home, it’s not always easy to access the space itself. In many homes, particularly older ones, the attic door may be located inside of a bedroom closet — which is difficult enough to enter when the closet is empty, let alone when it’s full of clothes and other stored items. Even if the attic door is located in a hallway or more easily accessible part of your home, the size of the door is usually only large enough to allow a person and some small items to pass through. Put another way, if you want to store large or irregularly shaped items, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fit them through the attic door. Keep in mind too that you’ll have to hoist whatever you want to store up a ladder, which can be dangerous and difficult.

How do you get around this? Self-storage units are a far more accessible option than attics, especially if you want to store bigger items. With a wide, rolling door (similar to a garage door) and options for first-floor/drive-up units that allow you to pull up your vehicle to the unit itself, self storage is a much easier and safer way to keep your things safe.

Potential for Pests

The humidity and lack of human foot traffic in attics make them an ideal place for all kinds of pests to gather, including mice, insects and even birds. While this may not be a huge problem if your attic is empty, pests like these can damage anything you might be storing, especially if they’re made of organic materials like paper, fabric or wood.

How do you get around this? You’ll need to frequently check your attic for signs of nests or waste, and take preventative measures like sealing any gaps, laying out pest traps and regularly inspecting your roof for leaks or holes. Instead of cardboard boxes, which pests can chew through, opt for plastic, airtight bins. You can also store your items in a self-storage facility, which is cleaned regularly, inspected for pests and strict about what can and cannot be stored inside of units to deter pests.

Weight Limitations

Some attics aren’t built to support heavy weights, limiting the type and amount of items that you can safely store without risking structural damage. Before you store anything in your attic, take the time to weigh or load capacity and plan accordingly to avoid sagging ceilings, cracked walls or even a complete collapse of the attic floor. The weight capacity of your attic is determined by the age of your home, the materials used for the joists (the wooden planks that make up the attic) and whether there’s damage or wear-and-tear to the existing structure.

How do you get around this? After researching and inspecting your attic, begin loading smaller items in. Distribute the items evenly around the attic and avoid stacking too many heavy objects on top of one another. For furniture and bigger items that won’t fit in your attic, rent a self-storage unit, which has concrete floors that can withstand much heavier weights.

3. Self Storage as an Alternative to Attic Storage

Choosing a self-storage unit is a great option if you’re looking for an alternative to attic storage. At many storage facilities, including SmartStop’s, units often come with climate control to keep your items safe from damage caused by humidity and temperature changes, something that would require a lot of time and costly materials to replicate in an attic. Storage units are also secure, with 24/7 surveillance, on-site staff, a maintenance team and gated entry to keep your items clean and safe from theft or damage. Storage units are also designed to be accessible, with wide, tall doors that allow you to fit large, heavy items like furniture and vehicles. All these benefits make self storage a practical and reliable choice for keeping your belongings safe, without the complications of using your attic. If you’re ready to find a unit near you, check out our Storage Locator.

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