How to declutter your loft – 9 tips from a professional organizer
Master how to declutter your loft with the help of a professional to transform a valuable storage space from chaotic to clutter-free
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Learning how to declutter your loft like a professional ensures the space is more valuable for all your storage needs, now and for future use.
The loft can be one of the most challenging tasks when decluttering your home because the notion of out of sight, out of mind is often the case when it comes to storing things in the attic. But this approach can very quickly lead to what becomes an overwhelming space filled with clutter.
We spoke firsthand to Vicky Silverthorn, a professional organizer and author of Start with Your Sock Drawer: The Simple Guide to Living a Less Cluttered Life (opens in new tab), to obtain her top tips for decluttering a loft with maximum efficiency to make it more of a streamlined storage space from the get-go – so it avoids becoming a dumping ground for everything.
From measuring the loft hatch to avoiding making piles, Vicky's tips are simple but smart – game-changing when it comes to tackling a loft filled with clutter.
How to declutter a loft : 9 professional tips
Vicky is the founder of You Need A Vicky (opens in new tab), a professional organization company that helps clients to declutter and organize their homes with ease.
Speaking on the importance of decluttering a loft space Vicky says: "Lofts are valuable spaces – we pay for every inch, whether we own or rent so it's important to use it wisely."
Here are her top tips for decluttering your loft like a professional, from start to finish.
1. Consider the impact on your well-being
Before you start to declutter the loft take a moment to really think about your reasons for wanting a clearer loft space. Well-being plays a huge role in maintaining a clear and clutter-free space, especially in the loft because it's such a vast space – similar to when decluttering a garage.
As the floorspace directly above where you are trying to get a good night's sleep it is not beneficial to have a cluttered loft because even though you can't see it, you are laying underneath it knowing in your subconscious knowing it's there.
"For our well-being knowing what we are storing above our living spaces can add to clearing your mind," says Vicky. "Having a disorganized loft is like walking under a giant to-do list every day. It’s hanging over you until you do something about it." Well-being should always be a first thought when organizing your life and everything in it.
2. Seek help
Unlike the advice of decluttering your bedroom solo, to avoid too many opinions clouding your judgment on what to keep and what to part with, when it comes to decluttering a loft reaching out for help is welcomed.
"I would advise asking for help for safety," explains Vicky, "don’t attempt to pull everything down single-handedly." Aside from the safety aspect, it will also speed up the process, because as the old saying goes many hands make light work.
3. Be realistic with time
Speaking of speeding up the task at hand, it's important to remember that you don't have to do the entire loft in a single day – in most cases that is an overwhelmingly unrealistic ask.
"Be realistic with how much time you have to work on your loft," advises Vicky. "If you don’t have much time then pull the contents down in sections and work on each over the coming weeks – there is no major rush." If you follow this method just be sure that you have a spare room where the belongings won't be messing up a frequently used space. Slow and steady decluttering is more effective than rushed where sometimes regretful decisions are made in haste.
4. Remove unwanted items immediately
To make the job of sorting items easier it is best practice to remove unwanted items from the very beginning – otherwise, they are merely distracting you from the belongings you wish to keep and therefore need to tidy and find a place for.
"Get any charity or rubbish items down and out from the start, "says Vicky. "This makes it easier to see what you have left."
This approach is also handy when looking to organize a small kitchen or in fact, organize any small space because when space is at a premium you can't afford to waste it on unwanted items.
5. Avoid making sorting piles
It's all too easy to make piles during the process of decluttering any room but Vicky suggests this isn't always the best way to approach the clutter.
"Line items up nicely, so you can clearly see each item," advises Vicky "don’t pile in mounds because that can feel more overwhelming." You also then can't clearly see belongings, they start to feel more like a mountain of 'stuff'.
6. Measure up before buying storage
Like when organizing kitchen cabinets or sourcing small kitchen storage ideas measuring up is key to a successful loft declutter. This tip feels so obvious and yet so clever because you may require large storage solutions but if they don't fit through the loft hatch they are instantly redundant.
"Always measure the loft hatch" exclaims Vicky. "And only start buying storage once you know what you have left to store."
When buying storage look beyond the size, also look for efficiency too. "To keep any light from getting into precious items choose black boxes - I love Really Useful Boxes (on Amazon) (opens in new tab) as they are strong, sturdy, and stackable," says Vicky.
"Use acid-free tissue to store any precious materials/ clothes/ soft toys as it will help to stop them from yellowing."
7. Label boxes for easy sorting
Once you've got the right storage for the belongings you're keeping it can be most beneficial to label the outside of boxes so you can keep track at a glance of where items are within the wider loft space. Labeled boxes are far easier to stack, safe in the knowledge that you know you don't need to access the bottom box if you can see clearly what's inside.
"Label boxes clearly to make it easier to see where everything is," suggests Vicky. There's no need for polaroid pics on the outside, as this feels excessive – a simple label or bulleted list on te outside of each box will suffice.
8. Keep an audit for future ease
Once your loft space is organized it's imperative to keep it that way going forward, otherwise, all your hard work will be undone. The best way to keep tabs on what is being stored in the future Vicky suggests an audit that you can add to as you use the space for further storage.
"Take labeling one step further by keeping a simple list of your loft's contents next to the loft hatch," suggests Vicky. "Add to the list each time if you put something new up there."
9. Be strict with storage going forward
Continue with good intentions, which means avoiding using the loft as a dumping ground for anything and everything you can't otherwise find a home for.
"Try not to use the loft as a storage area for items you can’t make decisions to stay or go," advises Vicky. Because this will soon mount up and you'll be faced with an overwhelming, cluttered loft before you know it.
"Be decisive and ask yourself ‘Can I live without it?’ when decluttering," Vicky adds. "It’s the most powerful question of all."
We can't help feeling like this question is key when decluttering a bathroom too because that is often the smallest room with the most clutter due to the share volume of daily products and essentials – but are they really essentials?
Vicky concludes by saying: "When decluttering realize you may feel guilty about bad or rushed purchases or items you’ve never returned but embrace this guilt and let them go and you are less likely to make the same mistakes again." And on that note, we're off to survey the loft ahead of a weekend of decluttering.
Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
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