Though many people around the world are no longer living under COVID-19 lockdowns, the pandemic remains a threat to public health – meaning that, for many of us, leaving the house too often still isn’t an overly attractive prospect.
That makes now a good time to sort out your home’s loft, which could have accumulated an awful lot of junk during the pre-pandemic years. Here are just a few things you could do to ease the job of streamlining this particular space’s contents.
Don suitable attire before heading into the loft
Given how long it could have been since you were last there, there will probably be huge amounts of dust, fluff and so forth for you to disperse before you can even have a good, clear look at whatever this debris has gathered on.
Hence, Ideal Home suggests “wearing an FFP3 grade dust mask, CE marked, available at any hardware store” before you ascend to the loft, adding: “You may feel slightly overdressed, but your lungs will thank you for it.”
Clean the loft before sorting through items there
“Instead of just sweeping the space, use a vacuum cleaner to trap all of the dust,” organisation specialist Marty Basher advises BestLife readers.
In cleaning the loft, you could come across mould or pests that would pose a threat to the condition of household belongings up there.
Watch out for dead animals
If you find a few bats in your loft, no, it’s not necessarily a sign of Batman having established his headquarters up there while you were gone. Alas, many animals and insects – think the likes of birds, mice, moths and spiders – are fond of setting up home between lofts’ eaves.
If your loft has an active wasps’ nest, you should definitely call pest control, as they will know how to remove it without putting you in danger – wasps in these nests aren’t exactly difficult to provoke…
Be honest with yourself about what you really still need
Once you see that your loft is just going to be cleaned and dust free, it comes to you quite naturally that you must try your best to keep its tidiness intact for a long time to come. Here is a proper guideline for you to decide about this crucial matter. First of all, you must ask yourself a few questions about the types of things you are going to store in your loft. For instance, you may ask yourself, “Is it possible that I may need to use these things in near future?” You may easily answer this question about the seasonal things like Christmas decorations, skiing equipment, beach umbrellas, etc. But what about the random things of daily usage like toys and clothes of your once-kids-now-teenage children? Wouldn’t storing them for long will disintegrate them instead of saving them intact? Won’t they become useless for anyone after a year or two? Answers to these questions will guide you a lot about what to decide about these things.
While in your loft, you might come across a few things that make you immediately think “I could definitely use that”, as well as other possessions with strong sentimental value to you.
However, when it comes to items that don’t fall into either of these two categories, you should ask yourself why these items should be classed as essentials if you decided to stash them away in the loft. Would it be for the best if you binned or donated at least some of these items?
Use proper boxes for storing what you finally decide to keep
Once you have decided which things you are going to store after all, it will be far better if you store them in boxes and stack them neatly. You should place them on shelves where you can see them fully well whenever you visit here. Better get some shelving units installed in your loft for this purpose. However, you must place a label on each box with the names of the things stored inside and the date of storage if required.
Make a list of the stored items
Though it may seem nerdy at the first glance, it proves extremely helpful later on. I would rather you created a spreadsheet or write into a notebook a list of items, the owner name, the date of storage, expiry date if needed. This is sure to be of great value after a certain interval of time when things will have washed out of your mind. Remember to share this list with the rest of the family members so you all know what the family has in storage.
Have your loft boarded
This will naturally be easier for you to do once you have emptied that loft of redundant items and so have fewer things you need to remove from the loft before boarding begins.
Though loft boarding can expand the floor space of your loft and so make it look even tidier than before, you should be careful to opt for raised loft boarding, like that available from Instaloft. This type of boarding can let air escape through the loft, thereby guarding against damp or condensation.
What to do to maintain a clean and dust free loft in the future
Once you have cleared out and tidied up your loft, it is time to tell you how to maintain a clean and dust free loft. The key point in this connection is all about the lining used on the inside of your roof. All the rest depends on how you deal with your loft. Before undergoing some pre-installation loft surveys, you must follow the options given below to ensure that your loft stays free from dust in the future.
Line the inside of the roof with a breathable membrane
This is really a worthwhile solution, involving the installation of a breathable membrane across the face of the roof rafters throughout the entire loft space. It effectively stops the dust from entering while allowing moisture to freely escape from the inside. However, it is possible that you may not like its awkward looking finish despite its wonderful performance.
Use foil insulation for lining the inside of the roof
Lining the inside of the roof with foil insulation serves the same purpose as that of the breathable membrane. However, providing insulation is its added benefit. Moreover, it also regulates the temperature within the loft, ensuring a well regulated temperature all through the extremes of summer and winter. This fairly constant temperature helps you a lot when it comes to storing sensitive items or doing more than just storing things up there. Last but not the least, it also ensures its best that the dust stays outside. Once again, this option too does not provide the nicest of finishes. Rather, you will find your loft presenting the inside of Apollo 13, but be sure that your loft will remain clean and insulated if you go with this remarkable option.
Use plywood to line the inside of your loft
You may be one of those who prefer ultra clean finish within the loft. If this be, you had better line your loft with plywood. However, this option goes well when you have your roof already insulated with the foil mentioned above. The inside face of your loft gets a robust and sturdy finish and you may also tidy things up by painting it, giving your loft an even less spooky feel.
An additional benefit of going with this option is to have ‘Eaves Partitions’ formed as well. These include vertical walls running along the pitched roof elevations of the property. We also see these vertical walls with access doors spaced equally throughout. It makes possible for the people to place their items behind the partitions and use the resultant free main area of the loft for other purposes.
Once you know that your loft is going to be clean and dust-free, this is the next thing to tackle. We have the following three top tips for you:
Think about the types of things that you’re going to store in the loft, and ask yourself a few questions before deciding to store them up there. Am I still going to need these things and when? This is easier to answer when thinking about your seasonal items such as skiing equipment, beach umbrellas or Christmas decorations. What about random old stuff like baby toys and clothes of now teenage children? Would storing them actually save them or would they just disintegrate, and render themselves useless in a few years?
Our second tip is to either store them in boxes and stack them neatly or place them on shelves where they are all visible. (By the way, we can also install shelving units into your loft for the ultimate in loft organisation!). For items that are in bags or boxes, carefully place a label on them with the name of the items stored within and the date if that is applicable.
The last one may sound a bit nerdy but it is extremely helpful to make a list of the stored items. Why not create a spreadsheet or write into a notebook a list of items, who owns it, date stored, expiry date if applicable and other notes that might come in handy? Just don’t forget to share this list with your partner or family members so you all know what the family has in storage!