Everyone has a place in their home that they really never want to go. Mine is the attic. One reason is that the only way you can get there is by pulling down some stairs from the ceiling of the hallway. Another reason is because it is either really hot up there or really cold. The best thing to do would be to tackle it during the fall and spring, but that’s when my helpers are away at college.
So this summer I started on the attic. The first thing I wanted to do was have a plan of what needs to be stored in the attic. I came up with the following categories:
- Tax papers & business paperwork
- Keepsakes – mine, husband & kids
- Holiday decorations
That is all that I want to keep in the attic. This will give me a framework of what belongs and what does not. Quilts, blankets and the previous bedding sets, if they don’t fit in the linen closet they are gone. Seasonal clothing that we don’t wear any longer, like ski clothes, if they don’t fit in your bedroom closet then it is out. Making the decision of what stays before you start to pull the items out of the attic will save a lot of time and energy.
Next I came up with a floor plan of where things will be stored. I basically cut the attic into 3 sections: one for paperwork, one for holiday decorations, and one for keepsakes.
The paperwork was already in plastic banker boxes, so I pulled out anything that could be tossed and shredded. The rest I labeled clearly, when it can be destroyed, and what is permanent. This section is the smallest and is the furthest away from the stairs because it will not be accessed very often. I only see myself adding or subtracting documents once or twice a year. The permanent paperwork boxes will be stored in the back and the others in front. This will be the easiest of the categories for me to deal with.
The area closest to the stairs is going to be for the holiday decorations. I have a fair amount of boxes and I do access them a few times of the year. I did make some hard decisions about what holiday decorations are the most important. My final decision was to only keep Christmas in the attic. All other holidays had to find space in the house or it is gone. I also had to make hard decisions about the reality of what I was going to use and how much I would decorate.
The final section will be for keepsakes. My goal is to box it up by owner, labeled clearly, and have it sitting in the area that is able to be seen but not an accessible as the holiday decorations. Since this will be the hardest area for me personally, I am re-reading the book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” to remind myself that my kids don’t want to do this after I am gone.