Massive Attic Cleanup: How to Declutter & Organize Your Attic

Aimee Rebecca
by Aimee Rebecca

What a day you have decided to join me because today I'm doing an attic clean up. This is not going to be a one-day job. This will not even get done by the end of the week, but we may as well start somewhere. We're going to do it in a little increments.

It's going to be a tough day. There might be spiders. It's probably going to be cold up there. I'm not excited about it, but I better put some shoes on and let's roll.

Decluttering an attic

Where to start

I know I know what you're thinking. This is a mess. I don't know what any of this stuff is. Where do I even begin with this? I think I'm going to start with a section of bags since it is the biggest mess.

The boxes are full of random things. I don't think anything's organized or specifically packaged by any kind of category at all. 

Like, what is this? There is a phone in there, and it's still got the sticker on it. There's a brand-new iPhone 4 in the packaging still in our attic. Consumer culture in a big way.  

Attic clean out


So this is already really hard. Usually, when I declutter, I'm decluttering my clothes, makeup, or some category of thing. So I have a general idea of, this is what I need, this is what I don't.

It's pretty straightforward, but with this, it's such a weird random assortment of things that don't go together. What are some of them? Why is it here? How can I begin sorting it out and deciding what we need? A lot of it's not mine. 

How to organize an attic

Slow progress

I know it probably looks like I have not achieved anything in the last 20 minutes except making an even bigger mess, but there is logic here.

If I can move the stuff around so that at least all the Christmas stuff is in one corner and then all of the arts and craft stuff goes to one space, then I feel like that'll make things easier because right now everything's everywhere and I'm just really overwhelmed and confused. 

So I've just been moving a lot of stuff around. I've gotten rid of a few bits and pieces, but I think the main goal for today is just going to be assessing, like, what the heck is going on here? What is happening, and how can we make this space easier to work in? 

I found a box of old videos, and I guess it's like a memory box of random old things. I found my schoolwork from when I was six years old. I have a junior grade three certification in speech and drama. I did not know that about myself.  

How to declutter your attic

Decluttering pile

It's been so long, and it looks like I've achieved nothing. But I have this big pile here. That is stuff that is to be decluttered. Usually, as I'm decluttering, I have three piles.

Bin, recycling, donation pile, and sometimes the fourth pile if there's stuff I want to sell, maybe vintage or something. But because this is such a confined space, and also because the charity shops aren't open right now to take donations anyway, I just put everything in one big pile, and I'm like, hey, that's a problem for a different day. 

I know all of this needs to go in one way, shape, or form, but I don't feel like I want to rummage through it all, and no, I just don't. At least that's a start. Like, that stuff that needs to go so this area looks a little bit more clear.

What I did was put all the Christmas stuff on one side. I put all the memory-type stuff, photos, videos, keepsakes. Here a million suitcases over there. 

One last thing I really want to do is I found this box that was one of those makeup boxes. I thought, oh, I'm just going to get rid of that. But then I thought if I just cleaned that out, it would be ideal for my sewing stuff.

So I think the last thing I'm going to do up here today is go through a few craft boxes up here to get rid of the stuff I don't need. If there's any sewing stuff, it can go into here; that should also condense some stuff. 

Attic cleanup

Crafting decluttering

For the longest time, I had the mindset that it was just better to keep everything just in case you need it because you never know. And then you wind up having so much stuff that, realistically, you will never need. That is particularly true with crafts. 

If you all are big crafters, you may experience the same thing. I'm just hardcore judging myself right now for all the rubbish I've kept. A lot of it is about not wanting to be wasteful. But if you're honest with yourself and you're not going to use it, then it's still being wasted.

It's also taking up space. It's not like keeping it in your attic stops it from being wasted. It's still not being used. This is how much stuff I managed to get rid of out of one craft box. 

Attic cleanup

My Apple Watch has died, and I don't know how long I've been here. I feel like I've made progress. There's a huge pile of stuff that is going to be gotten rid of. That is all moving in the right direction, but I am disheartened.

I knew this was going to be a big job. But I think now, being in the thick of it; I realize just how big it is and how slow going it will be. This is still a big mess. 

As I said, it's going to be a process. Is your attic decluttered? Share your attic clean-up tips in the comments below. 

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 1 comment
  • Cindy Ash Cindy Ash on May 21, 2023

    Hey! You have done a great job today! Remember the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day?" Well, your attic didn't get cluttered in a day, so you can't realistically expect to clean it all in a day! Great job on your first sort -- separating craft stuff, Christmas, and memorabilia. Remember you don't have to throw it all way, it can be donated so that someone can actually use it. You got this!