7 things you should never store in the attic — and you’ll be surprised

The attic is the most common place homeowners throw anything and everything. Whether it’s holiday decorations, old furniture, or electronic gadgets, it’s a great place to hide excess clutter, especially when living space is lacking.

But while it’s tempting to store random items (never to see them again), there are some things you just shouldn’t store in the attic. In fact, improper storage will likely do more harm than good to your prized possessions.

This is because attics are located at the top of a property and are subject to temperature changes throughout the year. Extreme heat can cause dampness, which is often the case in older properties if attics are unfinished or not fully insulated.

So, before you accumulate more clutter to put away, here are some surprising things you should never store in the attic.

1. Paint

Three cans of paint

Three cans of paint credit” itemprop=”copyrightHolder”>(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you are decorating and need a place to store your paints, the attic is a no-no. Oil paints in particular are highly flammable and latex paints can decompose at extreme temperatures rendering them unusable. Instead, store paints in a temperature-controlled environment, such as a spare cabinet.

2. Old photos, books and important documents

Photographs and old documents

Photographs and old documents (Image credit: Shutterstock)

We often store precious photo albums or file documents in the attic, but it’s actually the worst place. Large changes in humidity and heat can ruin prints or cause them to stick together. Similarly, the pages of books can become damaged or discolored due to humidity. If you want to keep these vintage photographs or books, they should be stored in a protective box or shelf in a dry place. Plus, no one wants to read a dog-eared book!

3. Electronics

Electronics box

Electronics box (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether it’s an old TV, laptop, or computers, electronics should never be stored in the attic. Again, extreme humidity can overheat electronic devices or even prevent them from working. Store old electrical appliances in a cool environment or better yet, you can recycle, donate or sell them. At least it’s a good chance to earn some extra cash!

4. Food and drink

food box

food box (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While it’s common to stock groceries in your pantry, all perishables can easily spoil due to humid temperatures during the summer months. Plus, the heat will essentially cook your preserves before you get a chance to eat them! Always store food, drink and other perishables in sealed containers or boxes in a cool, dry place. Plus, the last thing you want is to create the perfect retreat for mice or any other pests in the attic.

5. Christmas decorations

Box of holiday decorations

Box of holiday decorations (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Most of us have a tendency to hide festive decor in the attic only to let it reappear about 330 odd days later, but that’s a no-no. Delicate or handmade decorations made of wood or natural materials can easily be destroyed by extreme humidity. However, synthetic or plastic decorations are more durable for attic storage.

6. Wooden furniture or musical instruments

wooden musical instruments

wooden musical instruments (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Avoid storing wooden furniture, instruments or any other items in the attic. Wood readily absorbs heat and moisture, causing it to warp or destroy the finish. Plus, it doesn’t bode well if you want to pull out that violin or guitar you haven’t played in years. Wooden items should always be kept in a cooler space or inside a suitable cabinet/unit.

7. Highly flammable objects

Kerosene heater

Kerosene heater (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Never store flammable items such as kerosene heaters, oil lamps, some cleaning products, aerosol cans and batteries. High temperatures in summer can cause them to explode and become a fire hazard. Always store batteries and other flammables in a well-ventilated area such as a garage, basement or outbuilding. Also, keep them away from stoves or fireplaces.

Things you can store in the attic

Storage attic

Storage attic (Image credit: Shutterstock)

the suitcases — Luggage and travel bags can be stored in the attic. Make sure they are in an easily accessible location.

Spare cooking utensils — Pots, pans or other kitchen utensils are resistant to extreme temperature changes and can be stored in the attic.

Camping and outdoor equipment — Camping or outdoor gear is generally durable and made from weather-resistant materials. These are able to withstand extreme temperature changes.

Plastic and metal items — Bed frames, chairs, game tables, or metal cages are best suited for attic storage. Likewise, plastic toys or other items should be durable for an attic environment.