Storage: Attic vs. Garage

JennydotzJuly 6, 2012

I am moving in to a smallish split-entry home with no basement storage space. There is however a nice dry 2 car garage (I only have 1 car and no need for a woodshop) and some attic storage.

how do you all handle storage at under 2000 SF? Any suggestions for what stores better in different "home climates"?

I'm thinking specifically about Christmas/seasonal decorations, Inherited photo albums and other crap I will likely purge later, My son's action figures, trains etc. for future grandkids or Ebay someday, books.


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I have most of that kind of stuff in my attic, but it is far from the best place. I've noticed that a lot of my Christmas ornaments are crazing from the heat. I wouldn't put pictures in the attic at all. Can you find anywhere in the house for those? Action figures (dh still has his GI Joe) are in the attic, along with legos and waffle blocks. I haven't looked at them in years though so don't know how they are holding up.

I can't stand stuff under my bed or stuffed in closets. They are just spider breeding grounds here.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 10:58PM
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I have heard it is not a good idea to store Christmas things in the attic because of the heat. Same for photos.I would say garage. I do store my Christmas things under the bed in vintage suitcases. Hoping the kitties eat the spiders. LOL

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:01AM
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where are you? what's the climate? Neither of those would be much good in AZ. That's why I wanted the extra rooms/closets here.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:29AM
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Thanks all. I am in WV, we are in the middle of a heat wave right now and that attic is hot hot hot! Rarely hits 100F in the summer, a heat wave for us is high 90s. Winters definitely freeze. No scary insects to speak of.

I did notice when I cleaned my parents' attic that the cardboard boxes were brittle. So probably nothing paper in the attic. Hard plastic might fare OK.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 10:15AM
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I am in the North East. No problem storing Christmas Decorations, suitcases, old toys in the attic.
In the garage we store tools, shovels, the gargage cans, plastics etc.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:58PM
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And for us on the other end of extreme. We have to store paint and weed spray in the hall closet because it would freeze in the winter and be ruined. I am NOT a fan of this at all. I move the weed spray in at the last minute of the cold season hitting us and back out again as soon as we are past the hard freezes. I built shelves for this stuff into the closet and put trays/dish pans, under the paint and spray.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:11AM
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I would not trust the plastic either for valuables. If you do not want something ruined, then it has to be in climate controlled environment. Moisture and excessive dryness is another issue besides insects and heat.

Under the bed type plastic containers on wheels really are nice for things you need to get to like seasonal items or clothing.

We downsized, and we are still purging! If you have to repair A/C or anything in your attic and it is full of stuff, you will not enjoy bringing it all down and moving it around. If it is something you need out of sight for a long time, chances are you do not need to store it in the first place.

We are realizing we brought too much stuff with us for our downsized move. I always say to myself 'what was I thinking when I packed'?

It is like somehow I thought there would be no more stores to shop in??? Or I would NEVER find good, cute, things I like type stuff EVER again? LOL I am getting over it!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:18AM
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We don't have an attic, a basement or a garage. But we do have a lot of interior closets, a big carport closet, a shed, and a barn/workshop with an attic.

Rakes, shovels, trimmers, etc., small mower, garbage can, potting supplies are all in the partially-open shed (looks sort of like a changing room at a lake).

DH's tools, saws, spare furniture, paint, stains, leftovers from an antique booth are in the barn/worekshop. Most small items are in plastic tubs or cardboard boxes. Christmas ornaments are in plastic tubs in the attic of the barn, and haven't suffered (we're in Alabama where it regularly hits 100 degrees in the summer).

The carport closet holds automotive stuff, more of DH's tools, coolers, patio furniture cushions.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Hey, Jennydotz!

I grew up in WV, and we stored lots of stuff in the attic. (boy do i miss those "heat waves" now that i'm in the south!) THe basement, however, was the primary storage spot for anything of importance. (We had a carport, so no garage storage) In the attic, Mom kept extra boxes for wrapping Christmas gifts, exterior Christmas decorations, and old dishes, mainly.

I'd avoid storing anything I liked or that had value in the attic. We use ours now as a last resort. It gets quite hot and humid where we live, and most things would be ruined rather quickly. You might opt for plastic bins over cardboard to keep the bugs at bay. Around here, cardboard baits in the roaches. YUCK.

Things I never put in the attic: fabric items, books, anything important to me, paper items

Oh, for a basement!!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I am surprised no one has mentioned all those climate controlled 'self-storage' businesses that have popped up in the landscape of every town in the last dozen years. They are everywhere, and consist of storage spaces large enough to contain a household worth, or closet size... just for those without garages/basements/attics! For things we need/want to keep, they can serve a purpose until we get around to sorting, cleaning out, etc. I used one when moving, as a holding unit, so as not to overwhelm this little house while deciding what and where for my stuff. It, the cost, was worth saving my sanity. As an aside, in many ways, the proliferation of these new businesses are a testament to our clutter collecting society. NOT that our GW posters are clutter-bugs...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:45PM
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I didn't mention that because the question was about a smaller house.
BUT, now that you have brought it up. We had our 'stuff' put into one of those climate controlled storage units in Virginia when we were selling our house, got all the clutter OUT, was easier to move after the house sold. We put things we didn't need way in the back, then after closing on the house, we were in an apartment and took only necessities.

When we transferred to Florida, then we transferred the 'stuff' from one climate controlled storage unit to another one here in Florida. Then we were in an another apartment here (whole process took about a year). Then when we found our house, we took out of climate controlled storage into the house.

When I was able to open our boxes, all was just as I packed them, I purposely didn't pack candles and items that would melt (in heat of truck on the drive down). The only problem we had was a few Christmas items recently purchased had the glue give out to some of the items on styrofoam balls. Everything was good, my silver plate was not that tarnished either, just one tray was dark gray. So, not much damage at all.

But when you are living in a house and not moving the cost of the unit can run high, because we had a houseful of stuff, we paid over $200 per month. But, we looked for deals and got like 2 months free, and then deals came up for discounts, etc. That adds to the cost of mortgage, and other living expenses.

Even after all that planning, I got here, not knowing what kind of house I would end up getting, and there just isn't the horizontal display space in this house that there was in my Virginia house. So, I have been purging ever since! And I have a different approach to displaying now. There are also smaller and fewer closets and no attic to speak of (too hot up there). Our garage is for DH, his space...

In hindsight, I would not have stored as much, nor carried as much here.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Thanks for all the ideas and things to consider. The house I'm leaving is a cheap duplex, and I used to have a tenant downstairs. He moved out about 6years ago and I left it empty for storage since I had no garage attic or basement in my unit. it is now completely full. I will have more living space at the new house, but I got spoiled with the storage at the old. My parents and Grandmother passed away in that time, and I have accumulated a lot of stuff! I did one layer of purging before I started moving and I'll do another as I unpack.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:31PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We use both but more in the attic.

Attic is hot and cold but dry.
Basement is more temperate but damper.

Photos and stuff with glues and adhesives and paints in the basement. Everything else in the attic.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:59AM
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