by Blake Herzog
Most of us have one in our home, whether we’re aware of it or not. It may be a shallow attic tucked under your roof or a crawl space under your floor where wiring, ductwork and a little bit of extra storage space may hide.
Arizona homes usually don’t have basements because of the rocky soil and other factors but still have low-slung, unfinished spaces most people don’t know what to do with other than stuff some holiday decorations and beloved childhood toys inside and dread seeing the condition they’re in once they’re taken out.
Yet there are ways to protect these cavities against the pests, moisture, dust and other contaminants and
turn them from a hall of horrors into an asset.
Find the floor
If you have an unfinished shallow attic, you first need to figure out whether it has an actual floor beyond the drywall and plaster that sits over the garage or another part of the house.
It needs floorboards supported by floor joists to be able to reliably support any kind of weight. Talk to a local contractor about adding one if you want to use that space.
Banish cardboard boxes
They’ll deteriorate anyway, and the process could be hastened by any moisture or rodents who manage to get inside your crawl space or attic. Put everything in labeled plastic tubs with secure lids or other solid containers. You may even have room to add shelves for better organization.
Candles, food and other temperature-sensitive items are nonstarters unless yours is the rare climate-controlled space. Delicate fabrics, wood or upholstered furniture, important papers or photos, electronics, paints and solvents also are poor candidates.
Ceramic and glass plates and cookware, sports equipment and luggage are among the best candidates for attic or crawl-space storage.
Keep up on pest control
Both types of spaces should regularly be treated by a pest control professional. An unfinished crawl space can be encapsulated with concrete to make it much less of a breeding ground for plant and animal threats.