In homes across the country, an attic is an integral part of the house, one where extra storage is almost always available! Unfortunately, homeowners rarely pay their attic a visit, thus causing it to accumulate dust, moisture, mould, and rotting wood (in case of wooden beams or stored furniture).
Although most attics end up cluttered and messy, they are not meant to be store rooms for junk. For many, they hold a collection of nostalgic memories right from your own childhood toys to your son’s first pair of soccer shoes or your daughter’s first barbie doll. Now, imagine all of those beautiful memories sitting up there in a room full of dust (and maybe even mould) for the last few months or years; it’s pretty unappealing, isn’t it? Well, there’s only one thing you can do about it – clean the attic up!
Although attic cleaning may seem overwhelming at first, there is a way to do it systematically for simpler and better results. The first thing to do, however, is to prepare for the clean.
Precautions When Cleaning Your Attic
- Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or scarf; dust and mould can cause severe allergic reactions
- Use gloves to prevent touching anything unknown or harmful such as mould, pest excrement, etc
- Wear full-length clothing to protect your skin from allergens in the air
Now, let’s get right to our 9 simple steps to a clean and organised attic space.
Step 1: Empty the Attic
Before the cleaning process begins, it is advisable to first try and empty out the whole room. This is because an empty room is easier to clean while also ensuring that no spots are missed. You will definitely require a couple of helping hands to carry out things stored in your attic, however, if help isn’t at your disposal, there is another way to go about attic cleaning.
The alternative is to move everything to one side and clean half the room at a time. Of course, you will need to wipe or clean each item properly before moving things to the side of the room you just cleaned.
Step 2: Remove Dust and Cobwebs
A dusty and musty attic causes allergic reactions and, if left in this condition for too long, will start to affect other areas of your home. Depending on when it was last cleaned, along with the number of spiders that have crawled in and weaved their webbed homes, your attic may look like a scene right out of a horror movie! Dusting after long periods of time also leads to added layers of thick, accumulated dust which a vacuum cleaner alone will not remove effectively. Hence, manual dusting with a damp cloth thereafter is advised.
Start by cleaning the ceiling of the attic and work your way down the walls, leaving the floor last to avoid doubling your work. While cleaning the cobwebs make sure to get rid of spiders to avoid the instant formation of new cobwebs. Don’t forget to clean the vents and windows for a thorough, all-round deep clean.
Step 3: Clean the Floor
Accumulated dust will not be the only thing lying on the floor, debris from the roof or from deteriorated objects will be there too. Pick up the large debris by hand before you start vacuuming as it may damage the appliance.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the floor before sweeping it with a broom. Using the right vacuum head will make a huge difference in terms of efficiency; this is particularly true for corners, narrow spaces, and hard to reach nooks and crannies. Finish up by sweeping any leftover dust and debris from the floor before mopping it.
Step 4: Check the Room for Damages
If you rarely visit your attic, let alone clean it, there’s a good chance that a few problems may have occurred over the years. This may include problems in the room’s insulation, ventilation, walls, beams, and floor. If not identified or attended to in time, such damages can cause problems in your home’s foundation as well, leading to costly repairs in the long run.
In some cases, identifying and dealing with damage in the attic can be done by oneself, while bigger issues will require professional assistance to safely and effectively deal with the problem. Either way, the best time to check for damage in your attic is after you have emptied and cleaned it out!
Step 5: Identify Moisture and Mould
Moisture and mould go hand in hand in closed spaces. The presence of moisture in an attic can lead to the formation of mould in plain sight or concealed spaces. In fact, if mould is thriving in your attic over a long period of time, it can affect your respiratory system even if you aren’t in the room.
Moisture can occur in an attic due to changes in temperature, bad or clogged ventilation, leaky pipes, roof leaks, or water in the foundation. If you are having trouble identifying moisture just by looking around, it is advisable to call in a professional to inspect your attic to be on the safe side. Similarly, cleaning mould from walls can be done by an attic cleaning service rather than taking on the task yourself because, unless removed thoroughly, the fungus may grow back quickly and spread even faster (if the room lacks proper ventilation).
Step 6: Purge Your Stuff
After cleaning your attic, it’s time to purge the contents of the room. The best way to do this is by going through all the stuff, one item at a time, and taking the time to organise them into plastic or cardboard boxes. Pack similar items together and list down the contents of the box on a label for easy location.
This is the perfect time to reconsider keeping things that are needlessly occupying space in your attic and even worse, collecting dust! Keep aside items that are likely to not be used in the future or haven’t been touched in years and decide what to do with them next.
Step 7: Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Once you’re done sorting through belongings from your attic, you will need to get rid of the unwanted items that were kept aside. The advisable way to go about doing so is to donate usable items to charity while tossing things that are worn out or broken. For the items that need to be discarded, make sure that they are disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.
Although it is understandable to want to hold on to most possessions of the past, be realistic about what you really need and how it will benefit you, and then think about how much more someone else might need it. Moreover, getting rid of stuff from your attic creates more storage space which, in turn, will help you declutter your home.
Step 8: Reorganise Your Attic
Now that the attic is clean and all the small items have been organised into storage boxes, it’s time to put everything back as neatly as possible. Things that would be handy on a regular basis need to be kept in more easily accessible parts of the room while memorabilia and objects of sentiment can be safely stored in boxes at the back.
Take your time when organising your freshly cleaned attic efficiently so that you have more room to store items in the future. This will also make it easier to give the attic a quick dust and sweep every once in a while.
Step 9: Clean the Attic Routinely
Cleaning your attic more often will help you avoid the dread of doing thrice the amount of work that comes with cleaning after longer periods of time! Consider undertaking this task at least twice or thrice a year for a healthier environment throughout the house. This will also help to protect your home from unforeseen problems such as mould or moisture forming, pest infestations, etc.
To keep your attic clean and organised, stick to an orderly fashion when storing future items, and be sure to keep a broom and duster in the room for a quick clean the next time you go up there!