The holidays have drawn to a close.  You’re looking around the house and thinking, “It’s good to have this place back to  normal again.”  Now that it’s time to store the Christmas decorations that seem to have multiplied this year, where do you plan to stuff them THIS time for the next 11 months?

Has your traditional Christmas storage place shrunk and you’re searching for options? Could you use that extra clothes closet to store other things, like oh, I don’t know…clothes?

First of all, let’s get your decorations and supplied put away in a manageable fashion.  The containers of preference at our house are clear plastic storage bins with lids.

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By putting as much as you can into these containers, you’ll make much better use of the storage area in which you choose to store them.  Granted, not everything will fit in one, but even if you need to buy several, the investment will be well worth it.  Be careful when filling them that you try to balance the load in each so that one container doesn’t feels empty, while another takes two people and a forklift to move.

 

A great option for new storage space to put your filled containers is your garage attic.  Even if your garage has a drywalled ceiling, you can gain quick access to that space with a pull down attic ladder.  You know the kind, like Clark Griswold had in “Christmas Vacation” only without the ‘slide-out’ ladder extension.

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You can find these ladders just about wherever ladders are sold, but there are a couple of things to consider before you head for the checkout.  First of all, check the weight rating.  Consider the weight of the person most likely to be climbing the ladder PLUS another 20 to 30 pounds for what they may be carrying.  You’ll also want to know the height of your garage ceiling so you’re certain to have a long enough ladder to reach the floor.  And most of the time, your garage rafters will be spaced 24 inches, center to center, leaving  a 22 ½ opening.

attic ladderAlthough the directions that come with the ladder are pretty self explanatory, it’s probably not a great idea to begin the install without reading them through first.  You’ll want to plan on asking someone to help you when it’s time to put the ladder into place, but for the most part, the installation is a one person show.

Once you have the ladder installed per the directions, you’re ready to climb the stairs and stow your stuff.  But wait, it’s dark up there!  You’ve got some options:  a.) You can hire an electrician to install a simple pull string light at the top of the ladder, b.) You can use the battery powered light that came in your drill set, or c.) You can think about permanent lighting options while you’re heading up your new ladder wearing your handy headlamp (you can buy them cheap).

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Once up in the attic space I suggest placing some sturdy boards over the rafters to prevent items from falling onto the top of the drywall.  The boards also gives you something to stand on (if there’s enough head room), or crawl around on while you’re preparing your storage “floor”.  My preference is a sheet of ½” OSB (oriented strand board).  You’ll need to cut the 4 by 8 sheet small enough to fit through your attic access opening, then just work away from the opening, securing the OSB to the rafters with a couple of screws.

Even if your garage is unfinished, an attic ladder makes it much easier to access attic space and eliminates the need to store a  ladder nearby or go hunting for one when you’ve got a load to take to the attic.

So there you go. You’ve now got a brand new, easily accessible storage area for your holiday décor!

Until next time~

Paul