We are selling our house, and I realized this evening that having an attic is about the worst thing you can have in a house. Sure, everyone wants storage space, the reality is, after ten years, it isn’t really storage. It’s clutter. It turns out over time you just put more and more and more stuff up in the attic that you should’ve gotten rid of. It gets there because you think either ‘oh, I might need this later’ or ‘this has value, I can’t just throw it away!’
Both things might seem true, but the reality is, ten years on, neither is true for us. I haven’t the energy to sell all this stuff, even at a yard sale, so I’m willing to give it away. It might have value to someone else, but to me it has so little value that I will give it to anyone who will take it. And, in turn, I realize that if I’m willing to give it away that I never was going to need it again. The attic is just a holding area for stuff that is headed either to the garbage or to someone else who can find value. If someone else can find value in these items, then I should have happily given them away 5 or 10 years ago, when I first put them up there.
The only difference is, instead of getting rid of it in a timely manner, I’ve made my own life difficult by delaying the choice to discard it. If you want to achieve a clean workspace, you’ve got to get rid of things when you no longer need them, not just store them away on the off chance you’ll need them again.
As an aside, I did want one thing from up in the attic some time ago, but of course I couldn’t find it because there was so much other ‘valuable’ stuff up there. Clutter makes life difficult not just getting rid of it, but also obscuring what is of value. In my next house, I’m going for less storage space, thus forcing myself to make those decisions right away.