I don’t have a shed.
There, I’ve said it.
Before you start shaking your head and crying out ‘why not?’ – or are turning back to page two to get my email address so you can write and tell me all the reasons why I should have one – let me say that it is not by choice. There is simply no room for a shed on this block of land I live on!
I believe that every single one of us should aim to have a shed. They have so many uses – from storing potting mix to lawn mowers, from buckets to building materials, from folding chairs to ladders, from golf clubs to bicycles … and so the list could go on. And a shed can be so much more with the right fit-out, like an office, a workroom, a music room or a playhouse.
I’m not sure if the popularity of sheds has been on a sharp incline over the years or it is just that they are talked about more. It’s like they have become a status statement or an achievement, and cause for envy.
I am a bit over hearing about man-caves. However, I love what the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) represents.
This group supports men and their activities. Through AMSA, a shed serves as a place for men to socialise and build trust and respect. The organisation advances men’s healthcare. It helps men battle depression and mental illnesses. It assists men who are moving from full-time work to after-retirement activities. It rehabilitates disabled men through confidence building and skills development and helps them re-enter employment.
That is really saying something important about the humble shed – far more than a place to store tools or watch the footy.
Australian men have had sheds for as long as there has been a need to cut the grass, mend the furniture, or just store stuff.
I accept that sheds have morphed from a simple backyard structure to something far more meaningful, and I know men who really do love their sheds. Some of their reasons are: ‘It’s a place to hide out and recover – a cathartic space.’ ‘It’s a place where I can be creative.’ ‘I use it to socialise.’ ‘It gives a place to escape, to have time out or to tune out.’ ‘It serves as an extra space in retirement.’ ‘It has become my personal gym.’
It has been said that sheds bring back the nostalgia of the working men’s club, which was founded in the 1800s and was used for training and activities like drinking, raffles and billiards.
All valid and justifiable, but why are sheds almost exclusively linked with men?
I’ll bet there are as many women who have an affinity with their shed – as a potter, a writer, an artist, a gardener, a builder, a tinkerer… or for any of the same reasons given by men. A shed is a place where we can be ourselves and do whatever we choose.
Both men and women need/love sheds. Obviously. Sheds for everyone. That’s equality.
A colleague on this magazine pointed out that you don’t need a lifestyle block to have a shed – or is it that you still need a shed without a lifestyle block? She’s right, and I’d love to say there is a shed for every sized block. Except… I am shed-less!
I have never been without a shed before. As a self-confessed hoarder, when it comes to sheds, the bigger the better is what works for me. So, I am truly envious of you shed-owning homeowners and renters.
Be it ever so humble, there is no place like a shed.