As I was helping a client excavate her attic, amidst the boxes of useless stuff covered with pollen, dust and dirt, I found myself pondering attics. I thought, “If people remembered that one day they’d be going through the equivalent of ‘hell’ in order to sell their house, follow their dream, or move to a better living situation, they would be VERY careful about what they put up in attics!” But, alas, most of us live only in the moment when the attic seems an easy answer for storing things you aren’t quite ready to get rid of, or about which you are unable to make decisions.
I hate clearing out attics. Did I say that already? Well, I do. They are most often nasty, dirty places housing items of marginal value. These days it’s rare that I run into an attic that holds really interesting stuff. For example, a recent find by a client who was excavating her attic in preparation for a move was 6 boxes of miscellaneous junk that one of her sons threw into boxes, probably when he’d been ordered to clean his room, and hauled into the attic. The son moved away, but his litter remained. The only redeeming quality of that stuff was that it was quickly pitched into the trash with minimal effort and few tears of nostalgia. My thought was, “Why did it end up there in the first place!”
Here are my suggestions for maintaining an attic as a useful storage area instead of a toxic dump site:
- Teach all family members that the attic is NOT a place to dump things they don’t want to deal with.
- Store only items that have a high likelihood of being used again at a later date.
- Attempt to store only the following categories in the attic: luggage, seasonal decorations, out of season clothing or linens, archived financial documents, furniture and household items that grown children will later use in homes of their own, camping/seasonal recreation equipment. Most other categories of items, like books and memorabilia, do not do well when subjected to the temperature extremes of an attic.
- Once a year review the contents of the attic, clear out useless items and restore order.
And, remember, feng shui teaches that an attic is the area of your hopes and aspirations. No wonder so few people aren’t achieving their dreams! The area of their hopes and aspirations primarily holds the remains of old dreams and cast off items.
Treat your attic with the respect it deserves, and not only will it be a useful place to store items of real value, but you’ll be more likely to achieve your hopes and aspirations.