a piece about the "economics" of sheds. I have not read it, indeed I do not think it has been published yet. However I immediately thought of a particular book and a particular shed.
The book is Mark Thomson's "Blokes and Sheds". If you need to know about the importance of sheds to the male psyche then this is a must read book - especially for Australians. It explains the absolute necessity of owning a shed if you are a male. It explains what is kept in them - everything from the essential household hammer to the even more essential bar size (or bigger) 'fridge and every conceivable object inbetween. It explains the solitariness to be found in sheds and the mateship.
The sheds themselves vary from four walls and a roof which barely stand upright to sturdy, insulated beauties that are lovingly painted inside and out by their owners. My late acquaintance Jens owned one which took up most of the backyard. I do not know how (or if) he got planning permission. He used to hold political meetings in it - Labor Party one night, Monarchist another and Independent another. Jens was a political junkie and his shed was as essential to life as the next bottle of home-brew - also kept in the shed.
I have seen many other sheds. They have varied from sterile neatness to total chaos. Those of sterile neatness have also proved to be of little use, their owners tend to turn to the owners of total chaos for help.
My father owns a shed. It is sometimes referred to as "the chapel" - the last priest but one at the Anglican church he attends actually referred to it as such. He understood the importance of a shed. It was his eventual aim to own one in retirement.
My father's shed is one of those which should be labelled "total chaos". He will tell you otherwise. He says he knows where things are. Perhaps he does. Perhaps it is merely chaos, rather than total chaos. He has more timber out there than he could use in a lifetime - even if he started out again at 17 rather than 87. Much of it has been given to him or rescued over the years. He has tools, power tools, machinery, screws, nails, 'biscuits' (not edible), clamps, glue, paint and sandpaper in every possible grade - or so it seems.
When our new oven had to be fitted into the available space the electrician was able to find all the necessary tools in the shed. He likes my father's shed almost as much as my father does and as much as many other people do. They come with chairs and tables and other whatnots, with conjuring apparatus and children's toys and more whatnots - all in need of repair. They watch my father saw and buzz and sand and joint and glue their precious belongings back together again.
I am not sure about the 'economics' of sheds. I do not think an economist could justify shed ownership in monetary terms. That however would not seem to matter. A shed can be everything else - including the capacity to create and mend, an aid to mental health, companionship and solitude, and a sense of being needed. As such, sheds come cheaply.