We didn't have an attic when I was growing up. Our house had a flat roof, hence, no space for an attic. We also didn't have a basement. No one does in Southern California. Earthquakes, you know. So "storage space" to me has always meant "the garage." So much so that, when we bought our house eight years ago, I never even thought about using the attic for storage. In eight years, I have never once looked in the attic. I know it's there; there is a tiny trapdoor in my yarn closet that leads up there. But the trapdoor is so small, a person can barely squeeze through, and that's only if you first drag a ladder upstairs, make space in the closet, and then climb the ladder, remove the trapdoor, and wiggle through into the unfinished attic above, being very careful to step only on the joists, since there is no floor.
So maybe it's not so surprising that it never occurred to me, in my never-ending quest for storage space, that we could actually use the enormous open area above our ceiling. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me, as I was climbing over the file boxes piled in our "storage room" in the garage and clambering up the elliptical trainer to reach the suitcases, that, if we just put in an actual access door to the attic and laid some plywood, we could have a HUGE storage space without adding onto the house.
This is an enormous realization, no matter how stupid I am for not considering it for eight years. We run a law practice and have boxes and boxes of files that we are required to keep for years and years. Our office does not have storage space, so they stay at our house. It doesn't take long for these files to overrun any available space in the house or garage. We have cleared space, installed shelving, and stacked boxes in several places, several times, to accommodate these files. Lately, we concluded that we needed to move the files to a rental space, just to reclaim our garage for our own things. But that was before I remembered the attic.
Today, we got a handyman out. And in just a few hours, we went from this:
And another lightbulb went off. All together now: STASH STORAGE!