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Mind Your Furnace When Decluttering and Organizing the Attic

Image: shelves in an attic, cover image for Don’t Forget Your Furnace When Decluttering and Organizing Your Attic.

You’re riding a wave of decluttering and organizing. Everything you own has been cast into boxes to be sorted, donated, or discarded. It feels good to tidy everything, but there’s one area left to tackle – the attic.

Before starting, look at these tips to help your attic organization go smoothly while leaving room for furnace maintenance and accessibility.

Assess the Attic Situation

You’ve decided your attic is the right place to start decluttering. Now what?

You need to assess the situation before decluttering your attic. Where will everything go? How much floor space is there? How will you access the boxes? How do you plan to organize and store everything? And how much time do you have?

Start by doing an inventory of everything that’s up there. Make a list of all the items and sort them into categories such as clothing, books, papers, toys, seasonal decorations, and electronics. This will help you determine how much stuff needs to come down from the attic and what storage method would work best for each category.

Pull Everything Out of Your Attic and Clean

Don’t just toss stuff in the attic without thinking about it first! Instead, go through your belongings carefully and decide what needs to be stored.

Image: a tweet about organizing and decluttering.
Look at the condition of each item. How old is it? Is it still in good shape? If not, consider disposing of it properly before letting it take up valuable space.

It may seem like a chore but cleaning your attic before storing boxes can prevent problems later. Unfortunately, dust and dirt can cause damage over time and attract pests like mice and insects that can easily chew through cardboard boxes and plastic storage containers.

Image: blue totes that are traditionally used for storage.
Needless to say, when you’ve finished cleaning, pack items in sturdy containers so they won’t get crushed by heavy objects resting on top of them. And they’ll be easy to move when you need furnace maintenance.

Declutter and Sort

One of the best ways to store many items in a small space is with transparent storage bins. These are great for sorting and organizing things and keeping them visible so you can easily see what’s inside.

Transparent storage bins come in a wide range of sizes and shapes that fit any space.

Image: transparent bins that should be used for storage.
Label everything you store in the attic so you can easily find it if you need it later. Labels should be placed on the items themselves or on bins or boxes that contain multiple items that go together.

Image: carboard boxes that people use for storage.
You might even want to label boxes according to what room in your home they belong in, so it’s easier when trying to find something specific for an upcoming party or event.

Put up Shelving

Attic shelving allows you to create a more organized space with minimal effort. Pick out some sturdy brackets, attach them to the joists, then hang up some boards or metal shelves. Your old junk will be well-organized into neat little piles after only an hour or two of work.

Another benefit of shelves? They free up floor space, making it possible to store larger items like boxes and suitcases.

What Not to Store in the Attic or Furnace Room

Not everything is appropriate for the attic. Here are some things that should be stored elsewhere –

  • Paint cans and other hazardous chemicals. These should be kept in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and NEVER stored near a flame. Keep flammables away from your furnace and out of a poorly ventilated area like an attic.
  • Paper items. Paper is a natural fire fuel source, so it’s not a good idea to store it in an area with heat or flame (like a furnace room). Also, mice may chew on old documents or photographs, causing damage.
  • Electronics can be expensive to replace. Heat and moisture will cause damage and pricey bills.
  • Tins are ok, but any perishables or packets of food should be stored in air-tight containers.
  • You don’t want your delicate linens to be attacked by moths or other insects.

Mind Your Furnace

When storing items near a furnace, use common sense and be aware of its dangers.

Image: a furnace in an attic.
If you want to make sure your furnace works properly and efficiently, you need to make sure there’s proper space for ventilation and airflow.

Keep everything at least 30 inches away from your furnace, preferably more. Heat from the furnace can damage many items and cause them to become unsafe. Never store combustible materials near your furnace, such as newspapers or cardboard boxes.

Image: a stack of newspapers that should not be stored near your furnace.
Finally, don’t put anything heavy on your furnace or against its sides—this can cause overheating if too much pressure builds up inside the unit.

Not sure if your furnace is working correctly? Speak to the experts at Adeedo about furnace maintenance and keep your home safe this winter.

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