11 unfinished attic storage ideas and tips to organize your space

Looking for unfinished attic storage ideas? We cover everything you need to know about turning your attic into the ultimate storage solution

unfinished attic storage ideas
(Image credit: Loftleg)

Looking for practical unfinished attic storage ideas? It can be tricky to know what to do with an unfinished attic – the space isn't always useable for much more than a couple of suitcases if you are lucky. You might not even have proper flooring up there, just a tunnel of trusses with a sea of insulation. 

But fear not, there are loads of ways to add really practical storage so that prime Christmas dec storing space doesn't go to waste. We also cover the ins and outs of attic storage – what you can and can't store up there, how you should be storing things and how much you should be storing in an attic too. 

1. Can you store things in an unfinished attic?

Yes, the short answer is you can store things in an unfinished attic. But you have be careful about what you store, how you store and how much you store in an attic too.

Attics are ideal for storing seasonal decorations, sports equipment, extra crockery and kitchenware and luggage. There are things you should never store in an attic and we will cover those below. 

Be sure to store as much as you can in airtight containers that can withstand the temperature changes your attic might have – they can get very hot in summer and much colder than the rest of your home in winter. You might have mice in your attic so avoid cardboard boxes that can be nibbled through and stick to clear plastic containers. These are a great choice because you can easily see what's in them too.

LoftLeg attic storage

(Image credit: LoftLeg)

2. How can you make an unfinished attic suitable for storage?

You can make an attic suitable for storage by first assessing the space and checking if the space is structurally sound and how much weight it can hold. We would recommend consulting a professional if you are unsure about your attic space – they will be able to tell you if it's suitable to be used as storage. 

If your attic doesn't have a proper flooring, there are plenty of options to create flooring that's raised above your insulation and can support boxes. Plus you can decide if you want to cover the whole floor or just have a section if you are on a budget.

Lighting is important too, you definitely don't want to be fumbling around in the dark in an attic, so ensure you have a light source up there. 

3. What shouldn't you store in an attic?

While attics are can be great storage spaces, there are things you should never store in an attic:

  • Photographs 
  • Paint 
  • Clothing (things like ski jackets would be fine but anything made from wool or linen or any expensive clothing should not be stored in an attic)
  • Wooden furniture 
  • Candles 
  • Perishables (wine included, the changing temperatures aren't suitable)
  • Electronics
  • Musical instruments 

4. Have a plan of your attic storage

Attics can become places that your things go to die. You forget what's up there, you shove things in without actually planning when you'll need it again or how you will get to it. The key to good attic storage is to plan. 

Plan what your set up will look like and what will go where but also keep a list of what's in the attic and where about's it is stored.  This will be a life saver when you are hunted for the luggage at midnight the night before a trip. Make sure to keep things you reach for most often near the hatch for ease of access. 

5. Make sure everything is stored properly 

Clear plastic storage boxes in a loft

(Image credit: Loft Leg)

And following on from that, make sure everything you do store in your loft is stored properly. The best type of storage container for an attic are airtight, clear plastic boxes. Attics get dusty, they change temperature, they are potentially home to mice and bugs, so you want everything to be sealed. Pick out clear boxes too so you can see what's inside easily. Avoid cardboard boxes or pilling things into bags.

6. Create a stable floor for storage

LoftLeg attic storage

(Image credit: LoftLeg)

If the floor joists are visible in your attic, you can add a platform that makes the space suitable for storage. You can create a raised floor using legs and chipboard that sits above the insulation and joists, creating a space to walk on and add storage too. 

You can pick how much of your loft you want to cover too. So if you are on a tight budget and just want to add a small storage space to your loft you can. Or you can cover the entire thing and make it all useable. Check out Loftleg for all the products you need. 

7. Add freestanding shelving to your attic space

The perfect example of attic storage from @kathyandrewsinteriors . Clear boxes, labeled so you know exactly what's in each. If you have the head height, sturdy metal shelving like these are a great way to store your boxes over stacking them. You won't end up having to lug boxes off of one another to access things – your back will thank you. 

8. Use the space between trusses

Attic storage between trusses

(Image credit: Loftleg)

If you have lots to store up in your attic, don't let any of that square footage go to waste, the spaces between the trusses is useable too. You can buy or build platforms that sit between beams, making that awkward space the ideal storage area for larger boxes. 

9. Or add a truss shelf

Truss shelving

(Image credit: LoftZone)

And if your trusses are V or W shaped like the ones you see here, you can still make use of the space by adding a shelf that sits between them. You can DIY a shelf using a piece of chipboard and brackets to secure it. Then slide on your storage boxes (don't go too heavy, nothing over 10kg) and voila, wasted space no more. 

10. Include a clothes rail in your attic

Got lots of bulky clothing you need to store in your attic? Check out @getitdonebystephanie's super organized space. While we wouldn't recommend storing your best clothes in the attic, items like ski jackets and winter clothes will do just fine up there for the season. If you want to be extra safe store them in clothes bags too. 

The most efficient way to store more bulky clothes in your attic is on a rail. They fill up boxes really quickly so hanging them will take up less room and will keep them nicer too. Plus then you can clearly see where they are and just grab and go when you need them.

11. Hang a rack from the ceiling 

Roof mounted attic storage

(Image credit: Lowe's)

This is a great storage idea if you keep larger items like skis and camping equipment in your attic. Plus it makes the most of otherwise unused space, freeing up floor space for more storage. This frame kit is from Lowe's and designed with sheds in mind, but you could use this as inspiration to add a wire rack between the beams in your attic. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.