Whenever we talk to people about our experiences of building two homesteads from scratch, the question of what we would do differently always come up. The answer to that is simple: we would have built a shed before ever starting on the building.
The first time, we lived in a bus while we built the house. This worked great, but it was very hot in summer and cold in winter. Still, it was a good start. The second time, we thought we could build one room of the house quickly and so we just lived in a tent, with our things under a tarp. It was a mistake. We spent a lot of time fighting the damage that rain can cause and ended up losing sleep and energy. After having to dry our things out on several occasions, we bit the bullet and built a small shed. It ended up taking us only three days and cost $250, and we kicked ourselves for not doing it sooner.
The number one rule of building your own home is that it will take longer than you think. No matter how fast or experienced you think you are, things crop up and get in your way. Having somewhere dry and warm to live in while you build will make all the difference in your energy levels.
The shed we built was a simple wooden frame with OSB covering and metal roof. We started off putting black plastic on it, but later removed that and painted it instead.
It had a gutter and small tank attached to it for rain catchment, which helped provide a little water for our building project.
It’s not particularly pretty and won’t last forever, but so far, it’s been there for almost 8 years (as of 2015) and continues to be a waterproof area for tools and storage.
We won’t do step-by-step instructions as we usually do. For a start, we built it a long time ago and would not accurately remember measurements. Secondly, the photos show you a pretty good idea of how to put one together.
So, if you move to a place without any existing shelter, go ahead and make a shed. You can live in it while you start on your main building, and then use it as a shed for tools or materials. It’s cheap, quick and worth the effort.