We don’t usually devote a blog post to a customer testimonial. However we were so delighted to receive this letter from Gary Carlson of Massachusetts that we felt it worth sharing the whole letter. On our Testimonials page we’ve included some snippets of what he writes below. Thank you Gary for the very kind words. And thank you to his wife Donna who purchased the lift for him. Here’s their SpaceLift attic lift success story . . .
Gary’s Customer Testimonial
We are extremely happy with our SpaceLift. From start to finish it has been a great experience.
Ordering the unit was extremely easy. We couldn’t believe how fast it came. We completed our order on a Wednesday evening and we received it on Friday the same week…awesome!!!! All our communications with the staff were quickly responded to, with knowledgeable and very courteous answers.
We installed the SpaceLift ourselves. We completed the installation of the SpaceLift in one weekend. The unit came in two well-packed and organized heavy-duty cartons. All parts were well marked. The pre-site documentation was invaluable in selecting an optimum site to install the unit. (Site Guide) The Installation documentation was very clear and concise, leaving no guesswork. (Installation Page)The hardest part of the installation was framing in the opening for the SpaceLift as our garage has 12-foot-high ceilings with 2×12 joists. After that was done, it was a breeze to install and setup the unit. After installing the hardware, the setup of the straps to the platform was easy as well. There were detailed directions about how to first start up the SpaceLift and how to calibrate the upper and lower limits, with key points highlighted to help avoid any issues.
If you look at the top of this photo you can see the 12-foot high garage ceiling. Fortunately, the SpaceLift attic lift has 15 feet of travel.
The SpaceLift has made our life so much easier with getting heavy awkward crates, furniture and other difficult items up to the upper level of our garage. We would otherwise have to carry these items up a set of long steep stairs that have been difficult and even somewhat dangerous at times. We have been using the lift at least three to four times a week, with multiple lifts during each use. The quality of the SpaceLift is exceptional, constructed of heavy gauge steel, quality bearings and pulleys and all other components. We really liked the convenience of the wall mount control unit. Using a CAT-5 cable was ingenuous and simple to install.
We are looking forward to many happy years of use of the SpaceLift!!!
Regards, Gary Carlson Massachusetts
(Thank you Gary for the wonderful customer testimonial.)
Attic Water Heater Perfect for SpaceLift™ Attic Lift
We learned about how a SpaceLift™ attic lift can help with your attic water heater from a satisfied customer, Tom Runge of Louisana. He wrote, “I am particularly excited about the fact that due to the size and allowed weight of the lift, I will be able to easily replace my 50 gallon water heaters when the time comes. They are both up in the attic, and it is not an easy task to swap them out with the use of a nine foot fold down attic stair, which I have already done once.”
Locating hot water heaters, air conditioners, heaters and other HVAC utilities in the attic is a popular building method. It is especially popular where slab construction means a home with no basement. Locating home utilities in the attic saves valuable living space. In southern states it is also popular because there is little chance of waterlines freezing. Plus, solar heating of the attic space means the water heater works less. In this case a hot attic results in substantial savings on gas or electric bills. However the attic water heater can create some challenges, especially when it’s time to replace a unit.
Attic water heater a bonus application for our attic lifts
Not that Tom installed his SpaceLift™ attic lift just to replace his water heaters when they wear out.
As he says on our testimonials page: “Wanted to tell you again how proud I am of my attic lift. I use it about 4 or 5 times a month. The lift travels up and down in a total of 25 seconds. Due to age and arthritis it had become dangerous for me go up and down the attic stairs. SpaceLift provides the means for us to safely and quickly transfer items to and from the attic. My wife and I work as a team, with one in the attic and one down below. It is fast and efficient. I highly recommend the SpaceLift to anyone who desires a safe, fast and efficient means of utilizing their attic storage space. Hope your sales are reflecting the quality of the product. Wish I could do more to promote it for you”
SpaceLift design perfect for attic water heater replacement
Because a SpaceLift attic lift uses computer controls to pull from all four corners, there is no vertical height restriction. The lifts are rated for 200 pounds. This makes them ideal for carrying a hot water heater, or heater, or air conditioning unit.
Tom added, “FYI – a 50 gallon water heater (empty) weighs about 150 lbs, and are almost always tall and narrow, allowing them to fit on the lift. This might be worth mentioning on your website, as a LOT of new homes have the heaters in the attic. “
On the web forum for the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, InterNACHI, James H. Bushart, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), answered an attic water heater inquiry, “There are some legitimate reasons for locating a water heater in the attic since it is usually warmer than a basement, crawlspace or garage (depending upon your location). The pull-down-stairs to the attic allows access . . . but is unlikely to hold the weight of anyone trying to remove a bad water heater. There should always be a catwalk built to the water heater for replacement and service with plenty of room for access to all sides of it for inspection and maintenance. Being in the attic makes it easy for venting through the roof and, in most cases, it gives you much faster hot water distribution to your plumbing fixtures.”
Bushart also describes cautions for proper installation of a catch pan and drain to handle any water overflow. And he suggests that if the water heater is already located in the attic, it is best to ensure proper precautions but leave it there.
His concern about removing a spent water heater and carrying its replacement into the attic on the attic stairs is well founded. If you have the pull-down type attic stairs or ladder, they are generally rated at about 200 pounds’ capacity. That’s not enough strength to support the water heater and the man or men lugging it into and out of the attic.
Attic water heater tips from pros
An article by Family Handyman describes how to install a hot water heater. It states that water heaters weigh about 150 pounds and last seven to 15 years.
Building trades website Houzz describes the importance of having access to change out an attic water heater and summarizes some of the code requirements.
(Of course every attic is different. You can consult our installation manual on our website. Many SpaceLift attic lifts are installed as DIY, do it yourself, projects.)
The Houzz article says, in part, “Down in the sunbelt where there is little to no chance of a waterline freezing in the attic space it has become a common practice to put the water heater in the attic to conserve livable space, especially in contractor turnkey construction, but due to the physical problems and additional code requirements it is generally not considered economical for a retrofit.
In addition to all the regular code requirements for a water heater, when the water heater is installed in an attic you must first have an attic access hatch that is a minimum of 24″x36″, and even more for larger water heaters. Remember, the water heater must fit through the hatch to permit future change outs. The final location for the water heater may not be more than 20′ from the access hatch.”
Real estate site Trulia offers some maintenance tips to help your attic water heater, or any hot water heater, last longer:
Clean/flush your tank annually or bi-annually. This will remove and reduce sediment. While increasing both the life of the unit and it’s efficiency (saving you money both ways). This can double the life of your unit.
I would make sure you have a drain pan and a properly functioning Min. 3/4″ drain line to outside.
If it’s a gas unit, have the gas company check out the burner/vent stack function annually.
Replace the anode rod as needed and the unit will continue to “self-clean.”
For homeowners in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georia and Florida, and any other places with an attic water heater or other home utilities your attic, a SpaceLift attic lift can offer you a very nice benefit when it comes time to service or change the units.
Of course, the SpaceLift attic lift was invented for some of the same motivations that cause builders to place water heaters in the attic. Using your attic for storage helps you claim more living space, reduce clutter and better organize your home or garage. As you can read in our other blog postings, attic storage is perfect for seasonal items, holiday decorations, storage of items you want to keep but use infrequently and much, much more. Replacing an attic water heater that will someday need replacing is a bonus benefit.
Everybody wants more closet space. Some want it more badly than others. “House Beautiful” says 1 in 2 people would give up sex to have more closet space – for six months no less, six months celibate that is; you get to keep the extra closet space for as long as you own the home. “USA Today” cites more closet space as the number 3 feature for which home buyers are willing to pay extra, ranking behind new appliances and central air. “Hollywood Reporter” reports, “$100k wardrobe rooms with multiple stories, putting greens and coffee machines.” SpaceLift Products offers this simple solution: clone your closet.
Most of us are probably not knocking out a wall or converting an extra bedroom to create more closet space. But as we like to say at SpaceLift Products, “Convenient home storage is looking up.” In most homes the answer is right above your head. With an attic, a SpaceLift™ attic lift, and a portable wardrobe, you can quickly and conveniently open up a lot more closet space.
Our secret, “more closet space hack” is rotating seasonal clothing from closet to attic. Even if you live in southern climates, we’ll bet you still have a collection of short sleeve shirts, tank tops, shorts, summer dresses and more – and a corresponding set of long sleeve shirts and blouses, light jackets, long pants, sweater dresses and such. Why keep all these in your closet all year long?
Secret to success is making the seasonal clothing transfer easy and convenient. Here’s how.
First, get a SpaceLift attic lift. This patented invention is like a dumbwaiter to move storage between the living space of your home and your attic or basement. It’s like having a mini freight elevator that fits between the floor joists in your home or garage. It can carry up to 200 pounds per trip with up to 24 cubic feet capacity with no height restriction. It is microprocessor controlled, easy to operate, with built-in safety features like obstacle detection. It can be installed in a day; many are installed as D-I-Y, do-it-yourself, projects.
Next clone your closet with one or more portable clothing racks. Portable wardrobes are available from places like Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Amazon, etc. You can get a plain rack, or fancier versions with wheels and zip-over covers. Purchase a size that fits on the SpaceLift attic lift’s low profile platform, either 18 or 24 inches wide by 41 inches long, depending on which model you purchase. With no vertical height restriction on the SpaceLift, you can wheel the whole wardrobe onto your lift for quick trips to and from the attic or basement.
Then each year as the seasons change move all your out-of-season clothes out of the closet and into the attic to open more closet space for the current season’s wear. End result is more closet space you can use for a larger seasonal clothing collection if you wish, or to add more year-round couture.
Once you have a system in place, you can purchase a portable wardrobe for each closet in the house, perhaps his and hers versions for your walk-in closet. Portable wardrobes start at under $20. SpaceLift attic lifts are $1,895 or $1,995 depending upon size, come with a 2-year warranty and are built to last a lifetime of closet rotations.
Of course, once you have your SpaceLift attic lift you can use it for lots of other storage solutions, including more closet space by moving other items. For example you can rotate storage containers of seasonal shoes from sandals, flip-flops and mules to boots, high tops and closed toes.
Most people give their beds seasonal makeovers as well. With your SpaceLift and some storage bins, you can easily rotate between quilts and summer blankets into and out of convenient attic storage.
There’s also the concept of making more room in your garage by moving seasonal items in and out of storage there too. But this blog is about creating more closet space. Review the other blogs on our website for ideas relating to garage storage, storing holiday items, defeating clutter, claiming more living space and more.
House Beautiful: 1 in 2 People Would Give Up Sex to Have More Closet Space
We don’t make plastic storage bins, but we love them! Properly managed, plastic bins help you claim more living space by moving items to attic or basement storage. You can reduce clutter, organize your home and reduce stress with a storage bin system. Plastic bins last better than boxes, are generally stackable, come with handles and sometimes even wheels. Pairing a good storage bin system with a SpaceLift™ attic lift makes storage so convenient, you’ll wonder how you did without one. Just ask some of our customers. We’ve gathered six of the best ideas for storage containers to help make your life easier.
Clear Clutter Before Company Arrives
Whether it’s a party or a casual drop-in, you want your home to look neat when company comes calling. Most of us go about cleaning the wrong way. We run around stuffing our everyday clutter into hiding places. The problem is that like a squirrel and its acorn stash, we tend to forget what got hidden where.
One of our best ideas for storage containers is to create a dedicated “company clutter” storage bin. Put all the last minute clutter stuff in just one or two containers, especially designated for the purpose. Then hide those containers. (If your house is like mine, you’ll want a separate container just for the dining room table clutter.)
If you have a SpaceLift™ attic lift this is extra easy. Drop the lift down, stack on the containers and push a button. After company leaves you push the button again to reclaim your stash of daily essential clutter.
An adjunct idea is to create a dedicated “donation items” storage bin. You can easily tuck it away in the attic. Then instead of doing a clutter-elimination sweep, you can just add items to the bin as they come to mind. When the bin is full, drop it down on your attic lift and take it to the donation center or call for pickup. Many organizations will gladly come to you for quantity donations of clothing and household goods.
Organize Your Bins with Bins
Use containers inside containers. Fewer large containers are easier to organize and store in your attic than lots of little boxes and bags. Give some thought to creating storage bins of “collections” of things you want to tuck away. Rather than a jumble, use smaller, stackable containers inside a large bin. Another of our best ideas for storage containers is to be sure to place an inventory sheet under the top or affixed to the side of the container. A simple sheet of notebook paper inside a zip closure plastic bag and secured with a bit of duct tape does the job.
Use Purpose-Built Storage Boxes Inside Bins
To safely store specialty items like china plates and stemware, Christmas ornaments and such like, there are a variety of specialized boxes and bags meant to properly hold and protect them. Then, following our suggestion in number 2, use larger storage bins to consolidate the collection to make it easier to move the whole set into storage and retrieve it later. Just be cognizant of our number 4 suggestion.
Our SpaceLift attic lifts have a 200 pound per trip carrying capacity, so that’s not the issue in safely moving your valuables in and out of attic storage. But most plastic storage containers are not rated for a lot of weight. They can crack or break through the bottom, especially the versions with built in wheels. A broken bin defeats the whole purpose. Plus, it is much easier to move two 50-pound containers than one 100-pound container.
Consider Canvas Where Appropriate
Okay, not technically an attic storage bin, but there are some great, heavy-duty, canvas bags to store special items like artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and such. These can also be used for things like Halloween decorations, seasonal sports equipment, outdoor décor, etc. Some come with handles and built-in wheels for convenience. A distinct advantage of the SpaceLift attic lift is no vertical limit on the platform and a low profile design platform. So you can wheel a nine-foot Christmas tree upright, in its bag, right onto your SpaceLift and whisk it to the attic with the push of a button. Extra tip: throw a couple of dryer sheets inside the bag to deter insects.
Create a System and Label Everything
You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. It is far easier to start out with a storage system and refine it, than to hunt for missing items among the attic storage bins. Start with a simple inventory list, and maybe even an attic storage placement map. This can be secured in a zip closure plastic bag and hung on a hook from a roof rafter right above the attic stairs or ladder. Color coordinate storage containers and your inventory list. Clear bins are great to see what’s inside; with these use colored permanent markers on duct tape labels to keep your organization system clear.
We hope you can use our best ideas for storage containers. Please write us to share yours and follow along on our Facebook page as we add more useful tips and tricks.
Park Your Car Inside Your Garage and Enjoy These Benefits
If you’re like most people, you don’t park your car inside. Instead, your garage has become a glorified closet. One in four Americans say their garage is so disorganized they can’t fit even one car inside. This according to a homeowner survey by Gladiator GarageWorks. Yet, there are many and important benefits to park your car inside.
Average cost of a new car is pegged at $36,700, according to Kelly Blue Book. So, the inability to house and protect your automobile investment is detrimental. The value of a car or truck kept in a garage versus one parked outdoors is significant. Garage kept cars have higher resale value. Park your car inside (or your truck) to extend its life and maximize your investment.
Park Your Car Inside . . . Your Car Will Thank You!
Having your car outside exposes it to the elements. Acid rain, bird droppings, dust, dirt, pollen and debris attack your paint. Sun causes oxidation damage to your vehicle’s exterior. Ultraviolet rays and temperature extremes damage the interior. Ask your mechanic. We bet he or she can tell if a car lives in a garage or outdoors by looking at it. And a garage protects not only the exterior and interior finishes. Garaged car fluids stay closer to operating temperatures. They stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. That reduces wear on your engine and moving parts. Oil and grease stay less viscous indoors. They do a much better job of lubricating your engine and moving parts at start up. You can prevent a lot of long-term wear that way.
Today’s cars are driven only five-percent of the time, according to Fortune magazine. Think about your own car or truck. How much time does it spend just sitting at home in your driveway? Worse yet, you park it on the curb because your garage is full.
Oh, but you commute? And at work you must park outside. Okay, still consider where your car spends every night, arguably half its life. Protected inside a garage it will look better longer.
Consider the convenience factor. Not having to scrape frost or clear snow in winter. Not climbing into a boiling-hot interior in summer. How about entering and exiting the car indoors. You’re protected from the elements. You’re safe and secure. Think of the last time you unloaded groceries in a rainstorm. Ever arrived to an empty, dark house late at night? You could push the automatic garage door opener and drive right in. But you cannot. Your garage is too full of storage stuff.
Park Your Car Inside . . . It’s Safer for You!
Park your car inside your garage to protect it from threats other than the elements. Garaged cars are far more secure from theft of the car and contents. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, helps deter opportunity thefts. Bad actors go through neighborhoods trying car handles. Even the nicest areas are getting hit.
Unlocked cars and trucks parked outside can have their contents rifled or worse. An auto theft occurs every 33 seconds in the U.S., according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Download their free Vehicle Theft Prevention Brochure here. Some insurance companies offer discounted rates for autos kept in locked garages.
“People take great pride in their homes – organizing, decorating and showing off various rooms of their house, especially on social media,” said Karl Champley, master builder and home improvement TV/radio personality. “But the garage is the forgotten room of the home and those same people who are proud of their home are embarrassed by how the garage looks.”
Some so embarrassed they keep their garage doors shut so neighbors won’t see their mess. Keeping your car in the garage also maintains your home’s curb appeal. The GarageWorks survey also revealed marital discord. One of every five homeowners have argued with their spouse about the condition of the garage.
Here’s another benefit of parking your car inside your garage. Automatic garage door openers are very popular now. They make the garage the most-used entryway for many people. Why wend your way through clutter everyday?
Park Your Car Inside Using Your Attic
Banish all this mess and stress with the push of a button.
Fortunately, there are solutions to garage clutter. And there are many organizing coaches and clutter experts. Some pundits, would have you clear clutter by getting rid of your stuff. Please do consider donating unused items. Others belong in the dump. But it’s your stuff. For most of us it’s in the garage for one important reason: we want to keep it. How? Well, there is a whole industry offering racks, pegboards and garage organizing systems. But first, have you looked up?
In many garages the easiest clutter buster is right above your head. Often there is lots of storage space in the garage or home attic. Attic storage solutions open up a whole new space for your stuff often equal to or greater than the space below.
Keep rarely used but useful items in the attic instead of the garage. Cycling seasonal items out of your garage and into the attic increases floor space. For example holiday decorations. Do you use seasonal dishes or special occasion china? Cycle winter coats and summer clothes. Switch seasonal sports equipment, garden tools, toys, snow sleds and snow tires. The list goes on.
Storing items in the attic can be a hassle, even dangerous. Right? Who hasn’t tried lugging storage bins up and down attic ladders? Try carrying an artificial Christmas tree up and down the ladder. Even attic stairs are trouble for heavy items.
Easy Attic Access is Key
Create easy access to garage attic storage to park your car inside the garage where it belongs.
Installing a SpaceLift™ attic lift is the answer. It works like a mini freight elevator. It’s an electrically powered and computer controlled dumbwaiter. It carries up to 200 pounds and 24 cubic feet of storage items per trip. Our attic lift has no vertical limit. You can stack boxes, storage bins, containers and other garage storage items as high as you want. It takes a full size artificial Christmas tree in the box. Standing up. In one trip. Use your attic to its fullest capacity. Reduce clutter. Free up space in your garage and home. Enjoy the many benefits of parking your car inside your garage.
Need some motiviation? Take a before picture now. Install a SpaceLift attic lift. Then take a picture of your beautiful and organized garage. Show your car snug, safe and protected inside. Share that “after” picture on your social media for all your friends to see. Oh, and if you think of it, please also share it on our Facebook page: @SpaceLiftProducts. We love to hear from our satisfied customers!
It has a funny name. But the dumbwaiter represents an important invention of convenience for homes and businesses. There are actually two types of dumbwaiters of different configuration but similar purpose. Both take their name from the same attribute.
Have you ever wondered how dumbwaiters got their unique name? Tracing its exact origin is difficult. But the concept is widely agreed upon. “The small car performed services in restaurants, allowing the noise and odor of cooking to be isolated from the patrons. No doubt, this was where the silent servant earned the name ‘dumb waiter’! The mini-lift may have been silent but it did not remain dumb,” from the Elevator Museum website.
First the dumbwaiter acted as a silent, inanimate cart acting as a stand-in for an actual member of staff. These days we just call those kitchen or serving carts. Nowadays, we associate dumbwaiter with a mini freight elevator. Dumbwaiters today carry food still in restaurants and upscale homes. You’ll find them in factories and shops moving storage items, dry goods and valuables. One even carries automobiles. And now there’s a dumbwaiter you can install in your home to lift storage items in and out of your home or garage attic.
Dumbwaiter History to Present
Thomas Jefferson used the “silent cart” kind of dumbwaiter during his presidency. He favored them for both his Virginia home and the White House. “These ‘dumbwaiters’ were small tables, equipped with shelves placed at varying heights. Some might hold salads and wine; others would accommodate cutlery and serving utensils. Servants brought in hot food, but did not remain in the room during the meal. Conversation could flow freely, without the possibility that workers might overhear sensitive information and repeat it outside the White House,” from White House History website.
In America, the first elevator type dumbwaiter was hand powered. It used a lifting mechanism comprised of pulleys and weights. According to the United States Patent Office, inventor George W. Cannon of New York City was first. He applied for a unique brake system patent for a dumbwaiter elevator in 1883. Four years later he applied for the patent on a mechanical lifting dumbwaiter. Patents for dumbwaiters are still issued today. Two U.S. patents protect the SpaceLift™ attic lift. It is a dumbwaiter for moving storage items between floors in homes and businesses. It uses electrical power and computer controls. But the basic purpose is still the same.
Dumbwaiter for Items, Not People
As a silent waiter, food and drinks are to this day whisked from kitchen to floors above. They save the manual labor of climbing stairs to deliver the goods. Dumbwaiters provide a simple, space-efficient alternative to carrying items between floors. Unlike elevators, “distinguishing the dumbwaiter was its inability to handle a passenger – no control ever existed in the car,” from the Elevator Museum website.
The White House now has a series of dumbwaiters. They connect the kitchen to various dining rooms. A dumbwaiter connecting the main kitchen to a smaller kitchen in the residence was featured in the 2013 movie “Whitehouse Down.” The president escaped bad guys by shimmying down the dumbwaiter shaft hidden inside the walls.
Dumbwaiter for More Than Food
Dumbwaiters move more than food. Banks use dumbwaiters to move currency, gold bars and valuables securely between floors. Retail stores of all sorts use dumbwaiters to move goods between storage and the sales floor. People install lifts in their homes for transport of food, yes, but also storage, laundry and more.
One SpaceLift attic lift customer uses our dumbwaiter in its model rocketry store. “We usually try to be careful not to reveal any ‘trade secrets,’ but here is an exception,” says the owner of Jon Rocket. “Our office is located in a loft. So, we are often moving products and packages up and down between floors. A few years ago we installed an “attic lift” from Spacelift which works like an elevator or powered dumbwaiter. Not only does it make it easier and quicker to move things between the floors, it makes it much safer than trying to carry things while going up or down stairs.”
Another SpaceLift attic lift customer uses our dumbwaiter in its commercial kitchen. Connie Sun at Tiny Drumsticks says, “We’re so delighted with your Spacelift! The lift has allowed us to provide a machine that has made our tenant’s lives easier. They’re happy, so we’re even happier. Not only does the lift work well, your customer service is even better! Incredibly friendly and very accommodating staff. We sincerely appreciate and rarely come across better service! Thank you so much!”
Dumbwaiter for Your Home?
Another customer installed his dumbwaiter to move a hot water heater into his attic when the old one didn’t work. Another stores a large portable table saw in his attic. Little used but valuable, it is impossible to haul up a ladder. Other customers move a whole artificial Christmas tree in and out of attic storage. Read more on the Testimonials Page.
Storage lifts are an increasingly popular type of dumbwaiter for home use. Having easier access to storage helps you claim more storage space thereby reducing clutter in your living space. Storage lifts are like mini freight elevators. They make it easy to carry storage items between floors in homes and garages. Rather than trying to carry boxes and storage containers up the attic stairs, a dumbwaiter like the SpaceLift attic lift carries the heavy load up and down with an electric motor.
A smart dumbwaiter, the SpaceLift has computer controls for safety features like object detection that automatically stops the lift if it encounters any obstruction. Smart weight detection stops the attic lift from operating if it exceeds the 200-pound weight limit. You can see a video of it in action on our website.
Dumbwaiter for Cars?
Today dumbwaiters serve commercial kitchens, restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, schools, retail establishments and private homes. The automobile vending machine introduced in March 2018 by Alibaba and Ford in Guangzhou, China relies upon a dumbwaiter, albeit a rather sophisticated one. Carvana now sells used cars online. They can deliver, or if you live near one, you can use their car vending machines.
Still silent servants, dumbwaiters are getting smarter all the time.
When it comes to choosing a storage container for attic use, there are literally hundreds of containers, totes, footlockers, bins, boxes, baskets and bags. How do you know which ones are best for attic storage? Just as importantly, how do you get them up into your attic?
Attic storage has unique characteristics. You will want to first consider some of the following before you head off to Home Depot, Lowes, Target or Wal-Mart or start clicking on Amazon to buy storage containers.
First, head up the attic stairs or ladder and take a fresh look at your attic space with storage bins in mind. Bring along a tape measure and notepad. Your goal is to make a plan of what you want to store where and then match your needs to the panoply of storage containers on the market. Remember this is all about convenience, your convenience. Some of the following considerations affect the types and sizes of containers you’ll want to buy for each of the different storage spots in your attic.
Do you have an attic flooring system over part or all of the attic space? Sturdy bins can span between the attic floor joists, but if you slip as you’re moving them around, even a moderately heavy bin could crack or even break through the garage or home ceiling on the other side of that unprotected space between the floor joists. If you are going to span the floor joists you’ll need a storage container long enough with some overhang. So measure and note the distance between joists.
Moving bins by carrying or sliding them around your attic is easier if you have at least some flooring space for staging. More flooring makes moving the bins easier. If you have sturdy attic flooring, many of the bigger bins and footlockers have wheels and handles built into them. You can load these heavy and roll them into place. If you have only partial or minimal attic flooring, think about the weight of your loaded storage containers. How will you need to carry them to their resting place? Are you sliding them or carrying them, perhaps hunched over? Sometimes using more and smaller containers makes storage easier than fewer and larger containers. Will you need totes with handles built in to make them easier to carry?
Now that you considered the floor, take a look at your attic ceiling or the house roof. Height is an important limiter of your available storage space. In most attics the roof angles upwards from the sides. Planning ahead lets you maximize the available vertical space.
For example, you can maximize storage space with bins of different heights; lower ones tuck in closer to the eaves while taller ones or stackable containers fit better toward the center. Measure the different heights from floor to ceiling. Later you’ll divide these measurements by the heights of the storage containers you purchase. Some containers are made for stacking. But the problem with stacking bins is that you have to pull out the whole stack to access items. An alternative is to build some inexpensive shelving.
Another height consideration is how much space you have between the container top and attic ceiling. Some containers have lids on hinges and you’ll need extra space so the hinged lid can open upwards if you want to access or view the storage items. Otherwise you’ll find yourself constantly pulling out containers to open and examine the contents, then pushing them back into place. For containers kept tight to the attic ceiling, consider types with flat lids that snap off.
Do you have rafters, an attic truss system, or some combination? You’ll want to measure the space between trusses. Then purchase storage containers that easily move around the trusses. Maximize available storage space by purchasing bins that fit neatly into the space between trusses.
Attic Storage Items
Make a list of the items you want to store in your attic. Your list will come in handy when you make your storage plan and catalog. With your list of items or types of items you can then match your needs to the types of bins available. There is a type of storage container for most every item. You’ll end up with a list of bins of varying sizes and types. These can then be mapped to your attic measurements for an efficient system.
Some items you may want to store in small, six-quart sized boxes while other items may be better suited to a 169-quart tote. Combinations work too. You may want to store a variety of shoes or holiday decorations in smaller containers to keep them organized, but then put all these small containers of like items into a big tote.
Plastic storage containers are available in a wide range of prices and quality. You can save money by purchasing lower cost bins for storage items that will not be accessed very often. Purchase higher quality bins when you expect to handle or move them around a lot. Generally it is in the handling where quality issues like the strength of the bin, the roller wheels, clasps and handles become more apparent.
Weight of the bin contents is also an important strength consideration. Capacity of your SpaceLift attic lift is up to 200 pounds. You probably do not want to have that much weight in a single plastic storage container, not only for the strength of the plastic, but for your convenience in moving the container around the attic. You can stack containers high on your SpaceLift attic lift and if you’ve stacked too much weight it will let you know.
Where possible, we prefer clear plastic storage containers because it is easy to see what’s inside. Even with clear bins, but especially with opaque ones, be sure to label. You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. A labeling system saves you hours of opening and closing containers searching for a particular item. Want to take it a step further? Make a list and maybe even a map of your storage items and containers and keep it on a clipboard at the attic entrance.
Storage Container Considerations
Okay. You have your list of storage items. You have your map of attic space. Now you can match the size and type of storage containers to the items and space available.
Bust clutter. Getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home. It can reduce asthma and allergy triggers, according to The American Cleaning Institute. “For many people the conundrum is: do they have too much stuff or not enough space?” said Dave Berliner, inventor of the SpaceLift attic lift. His invention solves the problem of using your attic for storage by creating easier and safer access. Even the famed clutter buster Marie Kondo says, “The aim of storage is to give every item a home – a designated spot for it to rest and recharge when not in use.”
“Many organization gurus tell you to purge, get rid of your stuff. I disagree. It’s your stuff. There’s likely a good reason you kept it in the first place. Busting clutter may simply be a matter of moving some of your stuff out of your living space and into a convenient storage space,” Berliner said, “This is especially true for seasonal items like decorations, patio furniture, tools and toys. These items ‘spark joy’ in their season. Meanwhile, you protect your investment by keeping them safely stored. Storing them in the attic, not your living space, makes more room for you. It helps you get, and stay, organized.”
Place for Stuff
WebMD suggests 8 common clutter “hot spots” you should address.
1 = There’s the entry hall dump. (Here in New England we have mud porches.)
2 = Next is the overstuffed pantry. Better organization helps. Install a back-of-the-door rack.
3 = Then there’s that mail pile. Usually in a public place. You plan to handle that paper. But don’t. And the paper pile seems to grow all on its own. A basket helps keep mail neat. Maybe try paperless bill pay?
4 = Refrigerator door clutter? Not sure we agree with this one WebMD. It’s is your personal choice. One person’s cluttered refrigerator door is another’s treasured collection.
5 = Certainly on the list is the bathroom counter. All those potions and lotions tend to spread. The Container Store has a variety of clever solutions. Organizers help you go from “sloppy to serene,” the article says.
6 = Garage clutter. Did you know one-in-four homeowners say they can’t fit their car in their own garage? If you have an attic, SpaceLift attic storage lifts offer an elegant solution. A beautiful garage starts with a good storage system.
7 = Junk drawer. Admittedly, some of us love our junk drawers. But it can take forever to find an AAA battery that you just know is in there! There are many excellent drawer organizers. The Spruce rates the 9 best ones.
8 = Kid clutter can be a challenge. Toy boxes help. But only if you use them. This is a great opportunity to teach your children clutter busting.
Bust Clutter with Storage
“Lack of space” was cited as the biggest challenge to improving organization by 32.9 percent of consumers surveyed by NPD Group for HomeWorld Forecast Consumer Survey. “Yet most homes have lots of available storage space in attics above the house and garage. Access is generally the limiting factor,” Berliner said. “Attic ladders or pull-down stairs can be tough to negotiate. They are downright dangerous when carrying storage bins, boxes or other items. There is a risk of falling, or hurting your back, or damaging your items,” he added, “Easy attic access is the key to attic storage solutions.” (Read our blog about Ladder Safety at Home.)
Control Clutter with a SpaceLift Attic Storage Lift
Berliner’s answer was to invent an attic lift. “It is like having your own mini freight elevator to carry storage into your attic in just minutes. It’s a dumbwaiter for your stuff,” he explained.
Designed to fit between attic floor joists, installation is easy requiring basic carpentry and electrical skills. Many are installed as do-it-yourself projects, Berliner said, or the company can help with local installers. It sells directly on its website, www.SpaceLiftProducts.com. A short video on the website shows how the lift works. Prices start at $1,895 with free shipping and a two-year factory warranty. SpaceLift™ Products are assembled in the USA, in Stratford, Conn., by Redco Home, a division of Redco Audio, a family-owned company.