Attics can be just like garages - the home of lost and forgotten things. One of the main differences is that the temperature in attics can get quite a bit higher, especially in Texas. So when storing items you must always think about the hot and cold changes, potential for bugs/dust to get in your items, and the cramped space.
Since you want to spend the least amount of time possible up there, you need to streamline the process of getting what you need and getting in and out quickly. One good way to do this is by color coding. You can either purchase bins in different colors (red for Christmas, orange for Halloween, etc.) or you can use your existing storage bins and add colored labels or post it notes to them. You want the label and color to be able to be seen from a distance so you can immediately grab and go. Labeling several sides of the bin is good, too in case they are stacked in a tight space and only one side is viewable.
Another good way to expedite your attic trip is to use a great storage system. Stacking bins is normally the way people deal with attic space, but it often seems the bin you want is at the bottom of the stack. Take a look at our Pinterest board for some ideas that you might be able to purchase, like an attic storage system, or even something you can build yourself. In the past I have pulled up the attic stairs some still boxed up Lowes shelves and built them while up in the attic. It's actually easier to build them this way rather than struggle to force an already put together storage unit up the tiny drop down stairs. All you need is a rubber mallet and you've got a shelving unit in less than 10 minutes. Plus it's easy to disassemble should you ever move - no need to use a drill to take apart screws or bolts - just get out your trusty mallet and start whacking it apart again!
Zones are very important in an attic as well, just like a garage. Instead of getting up the stairs and placing everything willy nilly, set up certain corners for different holidays, memorabilia, and anything else you are storing. Label the shelves of the storage units you are using and the bins so you know where to return them to once the holiday is over. Plus, you'll never again leave a single box of Christmas decor behind in a dark corner somewhere to only be remembered after the holiday is over.
Make sure to check the quality of your bins each time you bring them down as well. Cardboard boxes are great for moving, but tend to fall apart after a few years in the attic. Plastic storage bins are much safer as they are air tight and keep any little critters out along with dust. If you are in the market to buy a few new ones, make sure you measure so that they fit in the space you have. There are so many choices these days and you don't want to have your bins not fit because they were an inch too tall to slide into your space.
So next time you open up those attic stairs, don't be afraid of what's lurking in there. Take a little time now to organize it better and you'll thank yourself when the next holiday rolls around!