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I have a habit of picking up multiple items for different projects whenever I head to the hardware store. I’ll grab a paint brush and a few samples as I head toward the hardware section to grab a new hinge, or pick up some caulk to finish off another project, grab some tile samples, a brochure on window treatments, and some lumber for a table I’d like to build. I guess I like to mix it up.

I do this for two reasons:  for one, it allows me to pick up the items I forgot on my last trip and cross off the “dangling” to-dos that seem to plague the house. For another, I do this because our windows of time to do home improvements are often unexpected. I will squeeze in a coat of paint on something and then rush off to join my friend for dinner; I’ll patch a hole between episodes of Jersey Shore and loads of laundry.

My name is Sarah and I am a multitasker.

As you can imagine, this leads to needing to store items until their respective “window” of use, which means that our garage is often plagued with extra light fixtures, cans of paint, and window treatments until they can be installed/fixed/painted. This in turn causes a problem for Scott, who needs to use a lot of our garage space for storage of work materials (beer industry guys always have posters, banners, T-shirts, and extra glassware on hand to drop off as promotional items for bars and events). Combine all of this with our seasonal items (out-of-season clothing and holiday decor), and we have a mighty full one car garage.

A few weekends ago, Scott mentioned that he would like to use our attic space as additional storage for the holiday boxes, the Christmas tree, and the seasonal clothes. Brilliant idea, right? However, our attic space had one little problem:  no storage space has been built up there. Think Christmas Vacation – anyone remember the attic scene?

True to form, we picked up a few pieces of plywood on our next trip to the hardware store knowing that we wouldn’t get the kind of afternoon to put it in the attic for several weeks, but at least we had the materials. Yes, we bought materials to store temporarily which were intended to help us with our storage problem. The irony is not lost on me.

After weeks of delay, Scott finally decided that the weekend of painting the upstairs cabinets would also be the weekend to multitask and get attic storage issue taken care of… which meant I was often putting down the paint brush mid-stroke to run over to the attic area to help Scott with cutting or piecing together the plywood over the two by fours. Rather than the boring step-by-step (really, it’s not a great tutorial – “measure & cut wood to fit through attic opening, install by nailing to two by fours, done”), I’ll just show you our progress in picture form. Sorry about the inadequate lighting and flash photos – attics aren’t exactly photogenic.

Perfect opportunity to use my Christmas gift
Someone’s been working out… check out those calves!
My role was mostly from this vantage point. The attic isn’t really big enough for two.
Finished product – we were careful to nail only into the supports and to avoid any electrical wires (this specific area had none, so we felt it was okay to lay the plywood over and prevent covering up anything that we would later need access to).
And now, we have a place to tuck away our Christmas crap decor until next season. I suppose this would fall into the “spring cleaning” category. Has anyone else tried optimize the storage space in their home lately? Got any attic-related storage tips?

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  1. Do you love big projects that eat all of your time but really don't rate a tutorial? Like ripping out a burned out room? I feel for you. But nice job of reclaiming some major space that wasn't usable before!

  2. Super impressive job. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who picks up half of what I need for every project:)

  3. FYI – you can cover the electrical wires, just not the boxes. As an electrical engineer, I give you permission ;)
    (Think about all the wires in the walls that you can't get to)