Attics seem like great little spaces to store seasonal items—freeing up the storage space in your closets for items you need regularly such as towels or linens. Plus, by keeping them in the attic, they aren’t in your garage and you may be able to use your garage to actually park in it.
Except, attics are actually terrible places to store most items you may want to put up there to keep out of your way when they are not in use.
As home inspectors, we often see some unusual items stored in attics. We also see the problems that can come with storing certain items in your attic, an area of your home that usually is hot and humid. Because of these conditions, the following items should never be stored or kept in the attic.
Regardless of the type of paint, it should not be store in the attic when you have completed your project (or postponed it). Oil-based paints are highly flammable and an environment prone to high heat (like your attic) may lead to a disastrous reaction. Although latex paints are non-flammable, they will deteriorate and separate when stored in hot conditions.
Yes, we’ve seen it and no, please do not do this. Wine is often stored in a cellar for a reason—its cool. In addition to wine, do not store your hurricane or apocalypse food stash in the attic. The high heat of summer is just as intense, if not worse, in your attic. It can cook your canned goods and cause even the most well-preserved non-perishables to spoil. Boxed items are usually chewed through by squirrels or other pests—and may be what is attracting them in the first place.
We all do it. We hold onto that old laptop or tv—and some of us may even still have a VCR laying around. If it is hard to let go but you don’t want it taking up space in your inside closets, avoid putting it in the attic. If you thought it was a relic before, it will become a non-working relic fairly quickly. So, if you are holding onto it because of the images stored or to one day watch those old family movies, keep your electronics inside.
This especially includes important documents (like passports, birth certificates, social security cards, and marriage certificates) and sentimental or generational photographs. These items are quickly and easily damaged by the high temperatures of your attic, no matter the special box your purchased to keep them in. Other delicate items, like old records, should also never be placed in the attic.
From furniture and picture frames to violins and guitars, keep it out of the attic. These items are usually not treated against high heat and humidity and can end up warped, brittle, or rotted.
This made our list because, you guessed it, we’ve seen it. We cannot emphasize enough how much of a bad idea this is. Flammability and high heat do not mix. Ever.
Holiday decorations are usually the most common things to be stored in the attic. However, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a good idea. For starters, humidity. Humid conditions often lead to mold, which can damage a number of your decorations. The next issue with this is the damage that heat can do to any blow-up decorations you may have (compressors and air pumps should be stored carefully and never under extreme temperatures). Your ornaments may be fine, but your synthetic tree could potentially become the home to a family of squirrels that made their way into your attic. Its best to put your decorations in the garage or a temperature-controlled storage room.