How Your Garage Became So Cluttered
To understand how the garage came to play such a significant role in the average American acquisition, it’s easier if you have a bit of background on how architecture and the building industry affected the placement and use of the garage.
The first carriage houses and later, garages, were built behind the home. When housing developments became popular in the seventies and eighties, the architecture of homes changed to streamline traffic. The family garage was relocated to the front of the home and attached to the house. The average family now uses the automatic garage door as a primary means of entering their home rather than the front or back door.
Ebb and flow
Today, the garage door is also often the most significant architectural element in the front of many homes. For this reason, a new garage door can transform the look of a home. At the same time, the ease with which we enter and depart from our homes via the garage has given us the opportunity to use the garage as a holding area of sorts. Most of our purchases enter through the garage via the family car.
Much of our garbage exits through the garage door when we take out the trash cans. If items are too good to throw away but not good enough to keep in the home, they often become stuck in a holding pattern. After all, a garage isn’t a room in the house where cleanliness and comfort are required. As a result, we often allow the space to become so cluttered it becomes a safety hazard. We’ve all managed to trip over a bicycle or carelessly placed box at some point. Also, the automatic garage door can break, or its function is threatened if overstacked boxes or other items fall on the mechanisms.
As the middle class expanded, advertising told people to buy more stuff. Even if you already had a coat, for example, advertising reminded us that the styles had changed and for a relatively reasonable price, you could own a brand-new stylish one. Since the old coat wasn’t worn out, you kept that one, too. Soon, we all had a mountain of old outerwear, dishes, knick-knacks, and kitchen appliances. It seemed reasonable to store the old stuff in the garage until the next garage sale, drop-off at the thrift store, until someone needed it, or until some mishap befell the new one.
Municipalities and HOA’s have added to the temptation to store items in the garage because many of these governing entities stopped issuing permits for sheds and other structures, or banned them altogether.
Hobbies and sports
Since the middle class is no longer required to work long hours to keep families from starving, there are new opportunities for leisure activities such as hobbies and sports activities. The tools and equipment from these activities are often stored in the garage as a matter of convenience.
In light of our new understanding of how the garage came to be a kind of private loading dock, we no longer have to be victims of an architectural decision from years ago. By rethinking the garage as a living space specifically for the car will help us become more respectful of the area.
Just as warehouses use floor tape to designate areas which are to remain clear at all times, a family can create a mental ‘safe zone’ in their garage, one in which walkways are clear, and boxes or other items aren’t abandoned: they ’re either appropriately stored or hauled away. If the project is overwhelming, asking for help is reasonable. Garage storage units can also be helpful.
Guest Contributor, Danny Cappello
About the author: Danny Cappello is a co-founder of Quick Response Garage Doors and Quick Response Garage Cabinets. When not busy with work Danny enjoys playing tennis, and spending time with his family.