According to the United States Department of Energy, twenty-five percent of houses that have two-car garages are not able to park their cars inside them. It’s a common sight in American homes: the garage is so full of tools, sports equipment, holiday decorations, and other seasonal items that there is no hope of actually getting the car in there.
Especially during times of severe weather, homeowners may wish that this were not the case. Scraping snow or ice off of the car before driving to work can be a frustrating start to a winter day. And in the summer, homeowners may feel safer during storms knowing that their cars are safely parked in their garage, away from hailstones or falling branches. Even on a mild spring day, cars parked outside are often covered with unsightly pollen.
If your garage is functioning as a catch-all for random things that don’t seem to belong anywhere else in your home, it’s probably a good time to take stock of your possessions and do some cleaning. If you’re finding junk and damaged or broken items, throw them away. Rent a dumpster if needed, or schedule special trash pickup with your city for large items such as old appliances. If you find items that are in good condition but that are no longer useful to you, or if there are items that only need very minor repairs but that you haven’t used in years, donate them to a local charity or thrift store. You can also sell items on Craigslist or eBay, or try using a service like FreeCycle. Discard anything that has been damaged by water or pests such as mice or moths.
For items that you want to keep but only use during a specific time frame each year — such as holiday decorations; skis, cornhole sets, or other bulky seasonal sports equipment; lawn and patio furniture; or seasonal clothing in airtight plastic bins — consider getting a storage unit at a self storage facility near your home. Storage units can be an economical way to free up space in the garage while also ensuring that your items are in a safe, climate-controlled place that is still easily accessible.
If you have a very messy garage, this may seem like an impossible task. But tackling the clutter can lead to greater peace of mind when there’s a storm outside and your car is parked in the garage, safe and sound.