Amazing Attic System

by Ivory Soap

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102A little over a year ago, I was nesting.  I was looking for organization books at Barnes and Noble and the lady helping me gave me the best tip!  I can’t remember what book it was from, but it’s revolutionized our attic.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Get a bunch of the same size boxes.  We got banker’s boxes from  Office Depot.
  2. Number them with sharpie.
  3. Open a Google Sheets doc (or use pen and paper) and number down the page.
  4. Write what you put in your boxes.

At first this seems not that amazing.  But it it.  Think about the sections you have in your attic.  Easter in this area.  Winter clothes in another.  And they never fit in the boxes right.  Garbage bags in some areas.  Liquor boxes in another, all throwing up all over your attic floor.  It’s all fine the first day you put it in there, but nothing is the right sized container after a year.

With this system, any box you unload just goes in a stack.  When you have something to store, you fill a few numbered boxes, and write down what they are next to the numbers on your spread sheet.  (When I put away random baby stuff a few months ago, I used empty boxes 11, 19, 40, 42. See below.) And when you need something, look up the number and go grab it.

attic boxesI love this system.  It allows me to put things in the attic and NOT forget them.  I can get the kids to put away those toys they haven’t played with in a year, and at a moment’s notice, I can make them reappear.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronnie July 30, 2015 at 7:47 am

I have been using this system thanks to my clever father for many years when moving. I keep a small notebook in my purse with box numbers and contents. This is such an easy, time saving trick when you arrive at new residence and need sheets, towels, etc.

jana July 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

Love it! I like to snap a photo of the contents and print a full-page shot that I tape to the outside of the box. Works great for my multitude of Christmas decorations, since I find those hard to concisely label!

farmkiti July 30, 2015 at 11:09 am

That is SUCH a good idea! I have just moved into a new house (we finally bought our own home, YAY!) and I have disorganized stuff all OVER the place. So I think I’ll try your method as I go along trying to get stuff organized. However, another idea to try is a little more expensive, but it seems to work pretty good, too. My SIL was over here helping me organize, and she made me go out and buy a bunch of really big clear plastic boxes. So I did, and we put lots of off-season coats and blankets and keepsakes in them. The nice thing is, you can see what you have at a glance, and no records to keep! I can see how either method works, just depending on your particular “style” of organizing. But I think it would have to be one or the other; I don’t think you could work the two methods together. Of course maybe I could; I could put numbers on the clear plastic boxes, too! Hey, maybe I’ve got something here! Thanks for your good idea!

Cinnamon Vogue July 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I wish there was a smart phone app to find which box has what items instead of having to crawl into the attic and reading all the labels. For small items, especially things with wires that get tangled like head phones I like to use an assortment of zip lock bags so they stay separate. Last night I spent an hour untangling headphones and speaker wires which I forgot to put in a zip lock bag. It’s amazing how wires get tangled up on their own. It’s a conspiracy of the wires.

Naomie Moore, Castaic, CA February 26, 2016 at 11:15 pm

I do something similar with empty copy paper boxes. They were free from work for the taking. I started doing this when I was 19 and it has served me well over the years. Also I used to cover them with contact paper that coordinated with my decor. Back in those days one could purchase contact paper by the yard at the hardware store. This is no longer the case where I live. Believe it or not, I still have about a half dozen of the original boxes still in my possession. I am now 54. I also have numbered plastic tubs in my garage for seasonal decor and extra items I have no space for in the house. It is a tiny house. And when everyone passed and I inherited all the stuff I had to find a place for it. Any system that works for you that keeps your stuff organized, clean, easily accessible is worthwhile maintaining. Thanks for sharing to help others. 🙂

Ivory Soap March 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

Naomie, I’m glad to know it works over decades! We still love it!

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