What can't I store in the attic?
March 24, 2007 6:25 AM   Subscribe

What can't I store in the attic?

We have a small attic. It's easily accessible through a full-size door in a bedroom. It's above the garage, and it's uninsulated. We'll use it for storage. What items should I avoid storing up there, considering there would be temperature swings in this space?

CDs, papers (old bank statements and such, and decommissioned electronics are the only things I could think of. Surely there are other things to avoid for attic storage.
posted by clearlynuts to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
posted by wackybrit at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2007

posted by FlamingBore at 6:39 AM on March 24, 2007

Pretty much any kind of storage media--CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, hard drives, books, photos... I could go on like this.
posted by box at 6:58 AM on March 24, 2007

Musical instruments made of wood, or which have leather parts such as pads, or other natural components (horsehair bows, ivory parts, etc.) Rayon, nylon, acetate, silk, wool, or cotton fabrics, as the heat will yellow them, and the bugs may find them. Don't put a cedar chest out there, or for that matter other wooden furniture, because of the heat.
posted by paulsc at 7:08 AM on March 24, 2007

Furniture incorporating veneers.
Unprotected clothing (or cloth goods of any sort.)

Depending on the length of storage, darn near anything short of concrete blocks will show some signs of degradation in such an environment.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:11 AM on March 24, 2007

Add 'anything that will give off fumes' to the list--paints, solvents, etc. Fumes can build up in small enclosed spaces and get dangerous.

Probably the safest things to store in a space like that would be things that are meant to be outside. Have garden furniture that you take in for the winter? The attic might be a good place for it. Similarly, snow shovels and sleds and other things that go outside in the winter could go in the attic in the summer.

The humidity differences will be the main killer for books and fabrics, but if you can seal them in airtight containers, that would make the attic a more acceptable place to store them.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:59 AM on March 24, 2007

About the only thing I would put there is ceramic, glass and metal, though I do stowe some nylon luggage in mine and so far it doesn't seem the worse for wear.
posted by Good Brain at 9:48 AM on March 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Make sure that your attic has no holes or cracks where birds or animals could get inside.

Squirrels infiltrated our old, uninsulated attic and chewed up boxes of papers (some very personal) to make nests. They (or some other animal) chewed apart a large beanbag-type toy stuffed with birdseed. We found small caches of birdseed all over the attic.

The squirrels started raising young in the frame of the disused attic fan, and we had to evict them.
posted by bad grammar at 3:28 PM on March 24, 2007

Candles. Not that I'm speaking from experience, mind you.
posted by wearyaswater at 5:57 PM on March 24, 2007

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