Monday, December 29, 2008

How I Spent my Christmas Vacation...

What is it with Holiday vacations? Why can't I be content to sit on my butt and enjoy a cup of good cheer? Why is my idea of a "relaxing" vacation seem to entail tools and/or noxious chemicals? And WHY on earth do I have such a willing accomplice in my Beloved? Isn't it his job to keep me from going nuts with the cleaning and organizing as is inherent in my German/Japanese DNA?

So, what did I do? I helped my husband put shelves in our attic.
Well, they're not technically shelves, but large 4'x8' pieces of OSB (oriented strand board) we had the fine fellows at Lowe's cut in half to fit on the cross beams of the attic. I confess, this was definitely not one of my most favorite projects Being doubled over in the attic is never fun, and NEVER for hours at a time, but this project sure was one of the most practical, and the end result speaks for itself.

You see, before we just stacked things on the studs of the floor of the attic, which in turn flattened all the lovely insulation that is suppose to help keep the house warm/cool. This method of storage also made walking along the center aisle and trying to get to items while not hitting your head on the studs extremely frustrating.

My Beloved was the one who realized that all we needed to do was lay down a board where the crossbeams "crossed" so to speak, and voila, instant shelf! Though the project was relatively easy and could be done alone by a strong man or woman, it is much easier with two people given the size of the boards you end up using. As for tools, we could have done the whole thing with just a tape measure but we decided to increase the storage space by nailing a 2x4 across a couple studs to create another shelf on another part of the attic that didn't have the crossbeams that we could just set boards down upon.

See how we basically just laid down the piece of wood where the cross beams crossed? And because we had an extra small piece from somewhere in the garage, we did a double tier on one side, which although narrow, is perfect for the suitcases of which we have an enormous selection apparently!

Voila! I think what amazes me is that we spent about $25 and about 2 hours on this project (getting the boards, moving stuff, etc.) and just look at the final result. It's beautiful...sniff, sniff...who knew a clean attic would move me so?

Project Breakdown
Three 7/16" x 4' x 8' OSB Boards ($17), box of nails ($3), One 2' x 4' ($3).
Grand Total: $23 End Result: PRICELESS!

My husband said it would have actually cost less than $20 for the whole project if we hadn't needed to replace the floor boards going down the middle of the attic. They were started to give way and since neither one of us wanted to go through the second story dry wall ceiling, we decided to spend the extra $6 for another piece of OSB which pushed it over $20.

A few extra notes on this project. You don't have to use OSB, you can use any sort of plywood providing that it's sturdy enough to bear the weight you intend to load on to it. I'm sure the MDF (medium density fiberboard) would work but it's more expensive and it would weigh a TON.

Also, make sure you get the folks at Lowe's or Home Depot to cut the boards: it makes it easier to carry home (we have one of the smaller vans, an MPV and it was easy to bring home) and unless you have a table saw, it is a pain in the behind to cut yourself. And really why do it when there's no charge to have someone else do it for you?

What if you don't have the same cross beam set up we do because of the architectural style of your home? You can always do what we did for the Christmas tree area on the other side of the attic. This is where the extra 2'x4' we nailed to the vertical pieces studs in the attic and then used that to rest another piece of OSB upon. I think we added a nail here and there for extra stability.

Remember I told you we had two big Christmas trees now? Since we actually use our garage for the cars and we have no outside shed of any sort, into the attic they went. In addition to the tree shelf we pounded in a few long nails into the boards and it's the perfect place to hang all my wreaths for next year where they don't bend out of shape.

This is a VERY easy project that not only helps organizationally and spatially, but it also helps to improve resale value. First because it makes things look more organized, and second, lessens the appearance of cramming SO much stuff in the attic that the potential buyers think "There must not be enough storage in the house!" You laugh, but I hear it time and again on Designed to Sell a great show to watch because it will give you tons ideas of how to make your home look great for a fraction of the cost.

Now all we have to do is get some more insulation to fill up the mushed down insulation from my previous storage methods. I want to make it as nice & puffy and energy saving as possible. Luckily we have a neighbor who specializes in that kind of stuff so you know I will be savvy in that too!

It's such a simple thing, but making the most out of what you have is the savviest way to save. Thanks to my husband's ingenuity our attic is now a source of pride rather than frustration.

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