# What should I keep in mind for attic storage solutions for a small home with 14" rafter spacing?

So our attic and our stuff in general is not serving us. Yes, we need to get rid of the stuff we don’t need. If we need anything up there then it is not down here because we need it seasonally (think Christmas tree) or occasional (think my mitre saw). Given the nature of what will be up there, our effort is guided by the following principles (by priority):

• Cheap and Easy (we want absolute minimal time and energy spent on this, roughly three diaper change intervals is all we can spare -- yes, that has a huge standard dev)
• Speed, Easy access to everything (so we don't have to move more than one box to see what we are looking for)
• Transparency, we can get to what we need easily (so we will have a map of where things go)
• Center Isle Clear, no items in the "hallway" (that is our downfall now, items in the central area block us from finding things)
• Flexibility (when we get in hurry, we have to put things up quickly, so we don't want to over-optimize)
• Minimalism (Let's not put it up there if we don't have 90% chance of using it in a year, can't buy it, or have a long term vision for it)

So I took some measurements, and played around in Sketchup and found that the key issue was how to make the sides useful and easily accessible. For example, the entire floor width was approximately 29 feet, but only 18 feet had a usable floor, meaning that I was ignoring roughly 40% of the total floor space. This 40% was the most important to use for storage since it is out of the center aisle. If I just incorporate this area, I calculated that I would gain roughly 25 ft^2 of surface area, multipled by the linear feet available which is 80 feet -- meaning we could have 75 cubic yards, exactly half of a semi truck's transportation volume.

Here is what I am thinking now:

Any thoughts greatly appreciated, but I am asking if this makes sense and:

• Where to get storage containers as cost efficient as possible?
• Are there any attic ventilation constraints (building science considerations) of putting stuff so close to the sides?
• Whether it makes sense to use the 10 inches in the joists. I don't think so, because of the height of any box will prevent using that area?
• Are there any systems that are inexpensive, but will save me lots of time?
• Would installing lighting in the back greatly increase the ability to see where stuff is, maybe rope lighting or something?
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I agree with @Bmitch about making sure you have proper insulation. The attic is the most susceptible area in the house for all this weird weather. Be careful especially about the wet and the heat and take the precautions to pad up and/or use reflectives when you can. Air circulation really is quite important and there are quite a number of options you can look at which include skylights and light windows. – markgrogan Aug 13 '14 at 2:55
I think you've got a pretty well worked out plan for your attic storage system! I'm worried for the items that are situated deep inside though. Perhaps you could install a sliding drawer so that it's easier for you to reach the things that are packed all the way in there! I agree that you're going to need a good bit of ventilation as well because it can get quite hot and humid in the attic. Maybe putting in some vents or looking at getting a bit of air moving up in there might be a good idea. Insulation is also something that's a safe bet that you'll need. – MarkSindone Jan 15 at 3:07