Empty Your Attic!


One of the occupational hazards of how-to book authors and bloggers, such as myself, is a tendency towards ex cathedra statements. But sometimes you’ve just gotta stand out on that balcony and release a bull. I’ve got a short but important one for you today:

Thou shalt not store crap in your attic.

Here’s my reasoning. If you’ve got stuff “out of sight and out of mind,” you don’t need it. Two weeks ago, I pulled everything down from our attic and sent most of it to a thrift store and some to the trash.

If your attic is unfinished, as is ours, it’s also a horrible place to store things, even in a mild climate. Temperatures in our attic can swing from the low 60s to well over 110º F (43º C) in a day. And then there’s the rats. For some reason people associate rats with cities like New York and Chicago. You really should think of our hometown, Los Angeles, as America’s rat capital. There are as many rats here as there are sub-par doughnut shops. All the stuff I pulled out of our attic was covered in a layer of rat droppings and urine. It’s a wonder I didn’t succumb to hantavirus.

I take great, smug comfort in sleeping at night underneath an empty attic. And should the central heat or vents need to be serviced they are now easy to access. My only regret is that I did not take a before picture to better enhance my bragging rights.

A note to the locals: if you need to donate stuff please consider my favorite thrift store, Berda Paradise, which benefits the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. Berda Paradise is located at 3506 Sunset Blvd.

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  1. Through the years, I have never known if it were rats or squirrels in the attic. However, the ceiling was 10 feet high and I did not have a ladder that tall. Plus, I certainly was not going up there. You are brave.

    I knew a guy who had precious quilts his mother and grandmother made him. So, he stored them in cardboard boxes in the garage. I tried to convince him he just furnished mice with great nest material.

    He was the most naïve college-educated (MA) fifty-year-old man I have ever met, and one who did not believe me. He did not want things in his closets. He assured me mice could not get into the garage and into cardboard boxes!

    He lives in North Alabama, so you know the temps in the garage ranged from well below freezing to above 100 degrees F with high humidity.

    Go ahead, preach on!

  2. Another voice from the choir – and, how! With an additional public service message via the hvac company we use. Do NOT go into attics to clean/declutter, do maintenance, (or – perish forfend ADD things to it) etc etc without full protective gear for your clothing, eyes, nose and mouth. They have horror stories of people encountering all manner of microbuggy nasties left up there by the rats/vermin/bats/bugs (and their various droppings) that gets stirred up when you start moving things around. One of their employees ignored this advice in his own home and spent many days in the hospital after a violent reaction to something up there. Just another reason to leave the attics to the air ducts and not the heirlooms 😉

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