It’s that time of year where we get ready to do some spring cleaning and start moving things to the attic.

Climate Affects on Stored Items

Before you move your old things, think about the attic climate. Attics may be a great initial idea since they tend to be dry, unless a leak is present. When you are in a hurry to clean and move to the attic, long-term storage may not be on your mind. However, attics are prone to wide temperature fluctuations. Extremely high temperatures can lead to damage of certain items. So, that weekend you put some old boxes up in the attic becomes last week then last month, then several months ago. Time flies, and it’s been a few seasons since you pulled out that old suitcase or cedar chest stuffed with items you could not part with.

What Not to Store in the Attic

We’ve found that you might want to think twice before moving certain items up to the attic.
  • Bugs and other pests are attracted to the glue of cardboard boxes which can cause the box to breakdown and leave your precious stored items more vulnerable.
  • Flammable chemicals, such as cleaning products, may be unstable in extreme temperatures.
  • Safety experts suggest storing fire extinguishers in a climate-controlled space. Temperatures greater than 120F can reduce the extinguisher’s lifespan.
  • Batteries stored in a hot humid attic may lose energy or even start leaking. It’s recommended to store batteries in dry and cool climates.
  • Temperature fluctuations can warp wooden furniture and other wooden items.
  • Valuable or sentimental art could be damaged by pests and again by extreme temperatures.
  • Leather becomes dry, brittle, and cracks under extreme temperature changes.
  • Delicate fabrics like linen and cotton that can attract insects looking for a nice warm place.
 

What Can I Safely Keep in the Attic?

As a rule of thumb, one of a kind or irreplaceable items that are special to you should never be in the attic. Nonporous and non-biodegradable items such as ceramic, glass, and metal tend to be safer bets. Protect anything you store in the attic with airtight, resealable bags. Most clothes, sheets, and blankets are fine for in the attic. Most tools and toiletries should generally be fine, too. Give these items more protection by storing in plastic containers. Just be sure to follow any care labels. and occasionally check on the items.