by Blake Herzog
The trend toward garages storing more “stuff” than vehicles has gotten noticed in recent years. Between our tendency to accumulate more belongings than we know what to do with and our trucks getting too big for our garages, more of us than ever are parking on the street and in the driveway.
Most research on the matter finds around a quarter of Americans can’t park their cars in the garage because it’s too full of tools, barbecues, freezer chests, cherished toys, books and magazines, chairs, footballs, survival kits purchased 10 years ago, and so on.
Other surveys and anecdotal statements put the number much higher — a lot of things can factor into the decision, from the size of the garage to the size of the house it’s attached to. But whatever the backstory, there aren’t many good reasons to store a vehicle worth tens of thousands of dollars outside.
In case you need a refresher, here are some of the reasons your vehicles have more of a right to your garage than your trophies, whatever form they may take:
- Shade — Most people don’t forget about this one, at least once summer arrives, but trying to enter and sit down in cars that have been sitting in the Arizona sun for a few hours is a miserable experience. It starts to get toasty when we’re still in the 80s, and by the time we hit the 110s we have to break out those fabled oven mitts, put up those windshield sunshades, and put up any other meager defense we can.
- Vehicle protection — Your car or truck is likely to be the second-largest purchase you’ll ever make, and you want to keep it presentable for as long as you can, either for your own use or for trade-in value. Keeping it out in the open leaves it much more vulnerable to vandalism, accidents, weather events and other forces that can damage it outside and within. Speaking of shade, the sun’s UV rays also damage your car’s paint.
- Self-protection — Shutting off your motor and closing the door behind you gives you cover from the elements, concealing you from anyone who might be casing the neighborhood and providing you a short, well-lighted path into the house.
- Property value protection — Even if you’re not looking to sell right now, keeping your neighborhood’s appearances up will pay off for you down the road. Few people set out to buy in an area that has streets with cars lining them and hanging out of driveways (or worse yet, blocking driveways).
Now we’re not saying you shouldn’t keep anything else in your garage, but that should be a secondary use for things that fit around your vehicles and don’t go anywhere else, like car-related items, home and garden tools, seasonal items like pool toys and Christmas lawn ornaments and outdoor recreational gear like bikes and camping gear.
That’s still a lot, so garage cabinets, shelves, hooks and benches often are critical to keeping your garage organized enough to fit your vehicles inside. You may never have thought of these before, but once you have them you may wonder why you didn’t all along!