Americans are caricatured as voracious consumers. Yet, wouldn’t life be simpler if all the things we acquired were actually consumed?

Of course, consumption just as often creates as consumes. Objects enter into our homes and stay there, creating a powerful psychological double bind. Whether it’s a gym machine that was forgotten after a few weeks, a cedar chest made by your great-grandfather, or a stack of magazines, its burden remains even when it’s forgotten. We may not use it. We may not like it. We may not have room for it. Yet we can’t bear to throw it away.

Houses fill up until one spouse can no longer stand it, only for a few things to get banished to the garage.

In neighborhoods up and down the income spectrum, cars are parked in the driveways or on the street, because the garages are occupied by storage.

For thirty years, in good times and bad, growth in the rental storage industry has been the highest of any in commercial real estate.

Psychologists researching the mental states of people who hold garage sales have identified several distinct scripts that sellers adopt, to help themselves to part with things, depending on what each possession “means” to its owners.

Why do we have such a hard time parting with stuff? In “American Garage” we explore the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of people in relation to the stuff that’s in their garages. The people in this video installation take us on a tour of their garages, explaining for the camera what they have, whether they ever use it, and why they may never get rid of it.