It’s well-documented that men “need” their own sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of a busy family home… but what, women don’t?! The modern gal is somehow expected to be all things at once: income earner, household manager, mother, wife, lover and friend – and yet we don’t “need” our own space to unwind after a long week of relentless life? Rubbish.
I’m sure plenty of people will argue that the entire house is a woman’s kingdom, and that most homes are decorated and run to the specifications of Mum. While this may be true, the fact remains that a household is still a place of constant demands, whether that be from chores, partners, children or pets. It’s simply not the same as having our own, private space to unwind, recuperate and regain our sense of self.
Forget a man-cave, you need a mum-cave, or she-shed. Sound good? Here’s how you make it happen.
Step 1: Claim your domain
In a busy family home, it’s highly likely that all of the spots which used to be “yours”, now belong to someone else. The second bedroom became a nursery; your favourite reading nook now houses the dog bed; even the kitchen and bathroom have been overrun with toys, washing and mess.
While it’s not mandatory for you to move out to the garden shed, it’s essential that your mum-cave is in a part of your home that isn’t frequently used by other people. Converting a garage or loft is a popular choice, but may need a little more planning than taking over the shed.
Step 2: Purge it
It doesn’t get much more satisfying than emptying out junk that has accumulated over the years. Take an afternoon to clear out gardening tools, old paint tins, broken patio chairs… absolutely everything. You don’t need this stuff infringing on your mum-cave, so sell, donate or bin anything that doesn’t even get used anymore, and relocate everything else to your garage, or a garden storage chest.
Once it’s empty, bust out the rubber gloves and give your shed a thorough clean. Show no mercy to dust, mud or spiders.
Step 3: Make it cosy
To use your she-shed all year round, you’re going to need ways to keep it a comfortable temperature. The simplest way to do this is to lay insulation boards in the roof and walls, before sealing them behind MDF. If you’re feeling fancy, put an insulating underlay down on the floor too, and top it with linoleum or carpet.
Next, you’re probably going to want a power supply. If your shed already has an outlet then make sure it can handle everything you might want to plug into it (sound system, heater, TV etc.). If there isn’t an existing plug, or if it isn’t powerful enough, you’ll need to spend a day connecting one from the main house. Don’t forget to check the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, and purchase a booster if it’s sluggish.
Step 4: Live your interior design dreams
Remember that cream living room you used to dream about? Or the fantastic shade of turquoise paint that your hubby refused to use in the bedroom? Now’s your chance to make it happen, in a space that nobody else can have an opinion about. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic. There is heaps of inspiration available on the web, you just need to know where to look!
If you don’t have much spare furniture at home, try looking in local charity shops and flea markets for second-hand desks, unique storage units and squashy armchairs to help you realise your vision at bargain prices.
Step 5: Add the necessities
Once you’ve decided what role your den is going to play (craft station, yoga studio, reading nook etc.), and have put the main bits of furniture in their place, it’s time to accessorise. Anything that has taken a backseat in the main home can find a haven in your she-cave, whether that’s strings of fairy lights, a zillion scatter cushions or your prized collection of tchotchkes.
Step 6: Protect your kingdom
The final step is to make sure that your mum-cave is safe from unwelcome visitors – yes, that can include your family, but we also mean opportunist thieves who might spot that your shed is no longer simply a shed.
Firstly, avoid drawing unnecessary curiosity by closing curtains, turning off standby lights and removing any valuables overnight. Secondly, visit a security hardware specialist like Signet Locks for tips about improving the locks and latches on your shed and garden gates, to make accessing your garden more difficult.
Once your she-shed is safely under lock and key, you’re done! All that’s left is to grab yourself a glass of wine and some cosy slippers, then slink off to finally enjoy an hour of peace.
Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.