1. Cleaning supplies
Storing cleaning products in the attic could be downright dangerous, according to home organization experts. These products contain flammable chemicals, and when stored at extreme temperatures, they could start a fire in your home. Another hazard is that the chemicals can leak when they are not stored in a climate-controlled space. The same applies also to paint, turpentine, and kerosene.
2. Holiday Decorations
Taking out the holiday decorations and finding them all ruined surely won’t feel very festive. The extreme heat in the attic is likely to damage holiday decorations, especially those that are painted or made of delicate fabrics. Plastic decorations too, like ornaments, are prone to damage, as they might melt and warp in the heat.
If you hope to hang those paintings someday, or at least pass them on, storing them in the attic is not the best idea. Not only the extreme temperature changes could harm the art, but the canvas or paper could also attract pests.
4. Cardboard Boxes
The same way paper or canvas attracts mice and bugs, so do cardboard boxes. If you have a stack of them up in the attic or use them to store other items, you should be careful. “Pests are attracted to the cardboard and to the glue used in the construction of the box," explained professional organizer Susan Santoro. "Boxes also break down and disintegrate, which will attract pests even more."
5. Books and Documents
Wanting to hold on to books is very understandable, but if you want them in good condition, keep them away from the attic, where they are exposed to extreme temperatures, moisture, and pests. “If they're not properly stored, they can suffer discoloration, staining, or even mold," realtor Bonnie Silverman told Good Housekeeping.
The same holds true for birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, and medical records, which can become illegible in the attic conditions.
Related: Stop Making These 10 Storage Mistakes
6. Delicate Fabrics
While it’s very tempting to put sweaters and wool blankets away in the attic during the summer, by the time winter rolls around they might become unusable. This is because heat, humidity, and the cold are known to wreak havoc in fabric items, especially natural fibers like wool. Moreover, moths and carpet beetles, notorious attic dwellers, can quickly lay waste on your precious garments.
Beware, your beloved summer linen pants and cotton shirts are prone to moth infestations as well. "Often, people think it's just wool and are surprised to know that moths go after plant-based fibers, as well," says Lexie Sachs, textiles product analyst. The best thing to do is to find a corner for off seasonal clothing in the closet, after all.
If your electronics are stored in the attic, don’t be surprised when you find them less-than-functional in the future. Attics without an air-conditioner could reach up to 160°F (70°C) on a hot day, and that is way too hot for electronics to survive. Apple, for example, recommends keeping their computers in temperatures that range between 50 and 95°F (10-35°C). Other devices, like TVs and phones, can easily overheat and even warp if left in extreme heat.
According to Duracell, the prime environment for storing batteries is somewhere dry and room temperature. Both of these conditions don’t exactly apply to attics. At high temperatures batteries can rapidly lose their power and may even start leaking, potentially setting you up for chemical burns or even a fire.
9. Fire Extinguishers
Having a fire extinguisher in your home is a good idea, but if you want it to be handy and functioning in case of an emergency, you better not store it in the attic. According to safety companies, storing a fire extinguisher in a space hotter than 120°F (48°C) can reduce its lifespan or even shorten the discharge time.
10. Wooden Furniture
Whether it’s an antique wooden armoire your grandmother left you or a wooden violin, unless your attic is climate controlled, these items don’t belong there. Wood warps in the heat and mildews when exposed to moisture (if that happens, you may try to bleach it but it isn’t a guaranteed success).
If you are using the hot and stuffy attic to store cosmetics and beauty products, you may want to reconsider. In addition to potentially melting in the heat, your precious products are also in danger of growing mold, especially if you use natural or preservative-free formulas. This is definitely something you want to avoid when it comes to substances that you apply on your face and skin!
If you’re always on the lookout for a way to store prescription drugs and extra OTC medication safely and out of reach for the kids, the attic can seem like a good idea. However, storing medication there can lead to a whole lot of problems. Firstly, any gel capsules might melt in the heat. Moreover, some medications can lose their efficacy when stored at high temperatures.
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