interior of empty attic storage area with shelves

Get The Most Out Of Your Attic With These Storage Tips

Is there such a thing as too much storage space in a home? If you’re like us, the answer is: No!

The attic is an often unused and unvisited part of many homes. If you’ve found yourself running out of storage space in your home (or you have an older home and had limited storage to begin with!), expanding your attic storage may be a solution.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that not every attic will be capable of storage. If your attic is unfinished with exposed insulation it’s important to make sure that you have floor joists capable of storage. Attics are generally designed to hold the weight of your house, walls, insulation, and any supporting materials (like recessed lights). If the joists weren’t designed with attic expansion in mind, this weight may be all that it can withstand.

To be used for storage, you typically need your floor joists to be at least 2x8s or larger with a span of 16 inches on center. Any board smaller or a span wider than that and you run the risk of your joists not being able to withstand the additional weight.

If you’re unsure if your attic will be able to withstand the additional weight of storage, it may be a good idea to call a structural engineer to inspect the area. An engineer will be able to tell you what — if any — additional weight your attic joists can hold.

For unfinished attics that are able to hold storage weight and for finished attics, here are a few different storage options.


Depending on the type of stairs you have leading up into your attic, you can add shelving directly into your baluster. You can squeeze an extra bit of storage out of your attic this way, and it’s a good option for small items.


Utilize your vertical space by installing a tension rod or an angled brace with a rod between ceiling joists. This is a great way to hang clothes for easy access or for other seasonal hanging items like wreaths.


The last thing you’re going to want to do is have to dig through all your bins to find exactly what you’re looking for. Use see-through bins (and label them!) to make it easier to find what you need.


If your ceiling is too slanted to walk under, that space doesn’t need to be wasted! Simple shelves mounted between your trusses are a great way to maximize that unused, small space. This is also a good option if you don’t intend (or can’t) add flooring in your attic — you’ll be able to still get your maximum R-value out of your insulation by avoiding compaction.


Cubby-style shelves can help you neatly store smaller items together in bins. This is a great option for storing small, seasonal items together for easy access.


A simple and inexpensive way to increase storage space is with simple pegboards attached to your trusses. Pegboards are a great, customizable way to keep small things organized and in one spot.


If your attic is finished and can handle the additional weight, cabinets recessed directly into the wall provide a great storage solution. Building these cabinets into the wall will help square off the room and prevent the need for hauling heavy furniture up into your attic for storage.


Don’t neglect the simple solution! If you’ve got a flat surface to work with, a simple floating shelf can help add some vertical storage to your attic for small items.

Be sure to contact your local Big C Lumber to get the materials you need for your attic storage space!