The History of Garages and Garage Sales

Now that the weather is cooling, some families will start thinking about holding a garage sale. It ’s a ridiculous name since they aren’t selling the garage. The history of garage sales is a little story which explains elements of history, architecture, and the economy.


Garage sales started as branching out of ‘rommage,’, which was a discount sale of unclaimed cargo at the shipyards in the early 1800’s. As time progressed, similar sales became popular in social hubs such as churches. Finally, in the 50’s and 60’s, yard sales grew to be family and neighborhood events.


But, in the 70’s and 80’s, housing developments became popular. The architecture of homes changed, offering an attached garage which opened at the front of the home. Previously garages (and carriage houses before them) were located behind the house. The new design was necessary because housing developments needed streamlined traffic.


Whereas before that time, porches and social activities were in the front of the house, the garage pushed those things to the back of the home, creating much more family privacy and less social interaction between neighbors. Meanwhile, the front-facing garage became a significant part of the house front architecture and changed the social structure of our neighborhoods.When you drive around Phoenix and Gilbert, you can see many homes which have this arrangement.

The economy

As the economy spiraled upward, television became more influential in selling products. As people bought more and better stuff, they began to need a way to get rid of things they didn’t want anymore. No one wanted to throw away perfectly serviceable items, and if they had some extra money in their pocket, all the better.

But wait--the garage is now the dominant structure in the front of the home! A family could assemble their sale in the privacy of the garage and merely slide open the door to be ‘OPEN’ for business. The security of a garage door was a bonus. The fact is that a garage is something close to ideal when it comes to home sales, as long as one isn’t particular about where the intended occupant, a.k.a. the car is parked during this symphony of commerce.

Commerce day

The further away the car is from the business at hand, the better. If there is a lot of selling to be done, tables of merchandise can be set up to lead back to the garage and presumably the homeowner/merchants. The actual garage can be used in one of several ways in this situation. Either it can be used as the hive of commerce, for the display of the rarest of goods, or for the things the family couldn’t bear to part with but couldn’t have cluttering up the confines of their home.

So, what may seem like the humble garage sale is, to many families, the means to three tickets to a show during the Lady Gaga residency. Garage sales can be massively lucrative and very well worth the effort. The essential components of a good garage sale will be revealed in a future blog.

Before that big garage sale happens, a homeowner may want to have their garage door serviced or repaired by a top-tier garage door company. If you are that homeowner, we’d like to be the garage door company which services or repairs your garage door before the big event. Give us a call!

Quality Overhead Door, Inc. is a full-service garage door installation and repair company for both residential and commercial customers in the GIlbert area 480-838-8850.