Home & GardenStoring & Organizing Things

Garages Aren’t For Cars Anymore

You’ve read about my issues with parking on the street in neighborhoods before.

Same with kicking perfectly good stuff to the curb on garbage collection day.

Well, if you haven’t already noticed… there appears to be some sort of trend here.

Perhaps I’m building my case for wanting to move into a log home that’s in a slightly more remote setting than the subdivision we currently live in?

Alas, next on my list of “subdivision pet peeves” is this:

People don’t use their garages for parking cars in anymore!

I even found a few stats that support my claim…

In the UK:

While 53% of households have access to a garage, only 24% use them for parking cars. Source

In the U.S.:

82% of homes have two-car garages or larger, but only 15% use them to park the car inside. Source


What’s Wrong With This Picture?


It has always amazed me that so many people would rather get in and out of their cars in the rain, snow, sleet, and heat out in their driveways (or parked along the curb) than to enjoy the overhead protection, shade, and convenience of getting in and out of the car in the garage!

And lately, I’ve been noticing that it’s getting worse. More and more people (at least in the neighborhoods around me!) are choosing to not take advantage of their garages and use them for the purpose for which they were intended: to park cars in!



My guess is when people move into a new home (that’s equipped with a 1- or 2-car garage) their intentions are good… and practical… and normal:

“We’ll just use the garage as “extra storage space” until we get fully moved in. Then, we can look forward to parking inside the garage, rather than near it!”

The problem (in my opinion): Too much stuff!


Either it becomes easier and easier to keep adding to the “stuff” inside the garage every time they buy more stuff… Or, they simply have no other place inside the house itself to keep all this extra “stuff” that has accumulated in their lives.


You Better Check Yourself


Aside from the bikes and the lawn mowers, and the tools, and such (which most garages are large enough to accommodate (even with cars parked inside!)… if you don’t need to use something regularly (and inside your home), then it’s probably not worth keeping around anyway, right?

Besides, once you decide that the garage is the best place for an item (that’s not normally kept in the garage), then in your own mind you’re really just coming to grips with the fact that “the garage is actually the best place for that item before it makes its way to the trash or the donation center“. Don’t you think?

That’s my theory anyway.

If you have access to a garage, use it. Clear out all the junk and use your garage for the purpose it was intended. This would prevent a large number of offenses and also make it more comfortable on these icy mornings. — West Yorkshire Police


Have A Look Around…

a-neatly-packed-garage.jpgDrive around your neighborhood and have a look inside the garages whose doors happen to be open. More times than not, you’ll probably see lots of “stuff” taking up the entire garage area which is intended for cars.

I think it’s just a sign of the times.

We Americans keep buying more and more stuff. Especially families with kids, those with expendable incomes, and people like me who think they’ve just gotta try everything that’s “new”… just once!

It’s happening everywhere…

In Arizona:

No basements, indeed. Yuma, it seems, makes up for it by building huge garages. A lot of people have 2-car garages, yet park on the street because the garage is used for storage. Smart, I guess, but doesn’t do much for looks… LOL! Ya, people will lock all the junk they should have gotten rid of in their garage and then park their $25,000+ vehicle in the driveway. Smart indeed!

In Pennsylvania:

This is a younger, middle-aged neighborhood, so every family has three or four cars. No one uses their garage, so you have cars all over the place, some of them blocking parts of the driveways… Homes don’t have basements, which is why many residents end up using their garages for storage.


My Own Dirty Little Secret

Don’t get me wrong… I’m right there with ya, because I’m a pack-rat of sorts myself! And yes, we often buy more than we really need, as well. So I definitely know about keeping too much “stuff” around for silly reasons.

As one example, I keep every single cardboard box (neatly broken down and stored away in the attic inside our home) just so I have boxes when I need to mail or ship things and so I’ll have all the boxes I need if & when we move again. (Jim and I have moved a lot, so I do this more by habit than anything. Each time, I’ve saved a lot of time & energy though, and the fact of the matter is: those boxes will come in handy again one more time. Then, I’m vowing to throw them out!)

But on the flip side… I also love to “purge” stuff from my home on a regular basis — especially from closets, and junk drawers — and I make frequent trips to the local Goodwill store.

My “give” vs “buy” rates at that store are probably 5 to 1. I only shop for clothes & household stuff a couple of times each year. However, I donate stuff — either there or through Freecycle — quite regularly.

I used to subscribe to the “every time you buy something new, you should give one thing away” theory. But that’s easier said than done…

Check out this incredible list of fun facts and tips for getting the most out of your garage!