After the long and brutal winter we have experienced it is natural to want to clean up the clutter and start fresh with the warmer months. The first step to being able to clean up your home is to get rid of items in storage that no longer serve any purpose. The attic serves as the final dumping ground for knickknacks and odd clothing that accumulates with time, making it the logical first place to tackle.

To quickly and efficiently cut down on the clutter in your attic, bring everything out of your attic on a dry and warm day and arrange the items in the backyard. By organizing everything into these categories, you can take the guesswork out of downsizing.

Out With The Old

Look for any items that are so old you do not remember buying them. The general rule of thumb is that if you forgot you have owned an item, there is no point in keeping it. Place it in the discard pile and have it hauled away with the garbage.

This goes with everything from ancient electronics to clothing from the 1970s. If you look at an item and think you might have some use for it, ask yourself if you have used it within the last three years. If you have not, then the item is old.

Toss or Donate Useless Stuff

There are two ways an item can be marked as useless. The first is if you have not used it within a certain period of time. The general thumb is three years, though with software and other electronic devices the window can be as short as one year.

The other way is for the item to be broken, or require parts that you do not have. For instance, one the most common items put away are board games. The average game comes with dozens of small pieces that are easy to lose and impossible to replace. Open the box and carefully count out all of the individual parts. If you are missing even one piece, toss it into the discard pile. If the game has all the pieces, then apply the same rules that come with old objects.

A Philosophy of Cleaning

The same general philosophy can be applied to every item in the attic. Throw away clothing with holes or missing tops or bottoms. Paperback books with water damage can be disposed of as well, electronic book replacements can be had for pennies on the dollar.

There’s only one exception to the useless item rule. If the item holds true sentimental value, then it is not a regular object but a keepsake. It is a completely different ball game when handling items that genuinely cannot be replaced.

Keep The Keepsakes

A keepsake is an item of special worth to both an individual and his family. This can include everything from trophies to diplomas. It is even possible to have photographs of relatives taken at the dawn of the last century floating around in an album somewhere.

Whenever you find a keepsake take it inside to guarantee that will not be thrown away alongside the old or useless items. Once all the items have been sorted you will be able to determine how much space you have gained.

Reorganize Your Attic

After throw away all the rubbish, it is time to put everything back into the attic. You have an opportunity here to maximize free space by using the most efficient packing methods available. Use vacuum bags on the clothing, and store everything and easily secured (and waterproof) containers. If you label everything clearly, you should be able to pack everything and tightly without losing track of where anything is.

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