If you just moved—or are about to—you’ve almost certainly sorted out, organized and pared things down considerably. That said, there are certain items you’ll need in your new home that will only be used infrequently—and they might be best placed out of the way in an attic or crawlspace.
We all know what an attic is; however, for purposes of this article let’s define crawlspace specifically as the area right below the roofline, not under the house itself. With this in mind, here are a few tips for getting the most out of this space as well as how to prevent problems down the road.
Listen to Your Nose. It Knows.
When you’re up there poking around in your attic or crawlspace does it smell damp, or even worse, musty? If so, it’s time to put on a protective breathing mask and try to determine the source of the smell.
Take in the whole space. Is there proper ventilation, such as roof or gable vents, and are they blocked by poorly installed insulation? Do you see weatherstripping around chimneys, pipes and windows? If any of these “musts for must” are lacking, you may need to make a trip to your local hardware store or even call in an expert.
Mice, insects and even local wildlife can be another major issue – and they can eventually chew their way through wires, insulation and wood. Look for signs such as nests or droppings and be sure you seal or block off any potential entry points. We’d also recommend using the services of an exterminator to get rid of the problem, once and for all.
Keep Mold and Moisture at Bay
Extreme temperature changes, structural wood beams and inadequate insulation create the perfect environment for mold, mildew and wood rot. Not only will these eventually damage your home, they can also pose significant health hazards.
The best way to prevent mold and moisture is to limit the condensation in your attic. Before you start putting your items up there, check whether there’s a water vapor liner, usually made of plastic, in place. If not, consider this one of your very first DIY projects for your new home. You can also opt to have mold resistant insulation installed, preferably by an experienced professional. After you thoroughly clean the attic or crawlspace, treat it with a disinfectant or mold inhibitor.
Determine What Belongs Up There – and What Doesn’t
Used properly, attics and crawlspaces have plenty of storage potential. Since they’re generally durable and impervious to all but the most drastic temperature changes, ceramic and glass items, most holiday decorations, cookware, sports equipment and luggage are among the best candidates for attic or crawl-space storage. At the other end of the spectrum, delicate fabrics, candles, upholstered furniture, books, important papers or photos, electronics, paints and solvents should never find their way up under the eaves. Any doubts? Store these items elsewhere.
Organize Items by Category
Group similar items together and put them in labeled boxes, bins and storage containers. Spread the containers out as much as possible: Stacked boxes make it hard to check for pests or hidden damage to your structure or electrical wiring. If the space has decent (walkable) headroom, installing shelves across the perimeter will give you even more space.
Pack clothing and other fabric items in well-secured plastic bins to prevent pests and moisture damage. Bins with wheels or casters will be ideal for maneuvering across uneven floors. For smaller items, mesh bags and milk crates will do well in a pinch.
Pro tip: Carboard boxes are a no-no. They will deteriorate, rodents love them, and your items will be ruined.
Keep an Eye on Things
Make it a habit to check your attic or crawlspace about once a month. Look for any signs of pests, monitor the temperature and humidity, and seal any new cracks. If it seems like things are piling up, have a yard sale or list items online.
Anything Left Behind?
If you recently moved into your home, you may find the previous residents left things behind in the attic or crawlspace. If it appears to be a matter of forgetfulness versus laziness, try calling their realtor to make arrangements for picking up the items. And if you’re moving, don’t forget about the stuff you have stored there as well.
We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®.
Moving or about to move? Get a no-obligation quote from Mayflower.
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