atticAs you put your Christmas decorations away for another year, you may be seeing a lot of your attic and you may not like what you see. The attic is often the last room one organizes in the home because it is so out of sight, out of mind. It can, however, be one of the most useful and comforting spaces in your home if used with a purpose.

At the risk of over quoting Karen Kingston this week, here is another pearl from “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui” on the subject of attics:

Things stored in your attic can restrict your higher aspirations and possibilities. It is as if you sabotage yourself by creating a false limitation. You will tend to worry more about the future than other people, as if there are problems hanging over you, ready to drop at any time!

To get your attic under control and use it to its best advantage, here are four useful tips:

1. Respect The Environment

Start with those items in cardboard boxes or worse, paper bags. Only the garage is closer to nature than the attic, so items that are staying need reliable protection from potential wildlife. First be sure you really want to keep those moldy old magazines and utility bills. Get rid of what you can and get plastic boxes with secure lids for more important documents. Zippered clothes-rack bags with cedar will protect your off-season clothes.

2. Honor Keepsakes

Keepsakes especially require careful storage because they are irreplaceable. You might be surprised how much of it has become junk to you, but if it’s worth keeping, it’s worth keeping WELL. In addition to environmental protections, paper keepsakes may require acid free materials, which you can find at companies like Light Impressions.

3.Budget For Access Space

If your attic is too full to have paths, it’s simply TOO FULL. Paths ensure visibility and accessibility which allow usability. If your usability is compromised, your attic will only get worse. Paths also provide borders between dedicated zones, so avoid any temptation to fill them.

4. Usability Dictates Locality

Position these dedicated zones according to how often the items in them are used. For example, if you travel often, you might want to keep luggage right at the top of the stairs and stow old tax archives along the back wall. If you only access your holiday decorations a couple times a year they should go back near the archives, but if you access them more often they should be closer. Same goes for seasonal clothes. I recommend keeping keepsakes closer than you might think, if you frequently need to add to them.

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING CLUTTER: Maximizing a less obvious space like your attic, will help you control the more obvious spaces in your home.