Man In The Shed
Just Outside The Shed Is OK Too

How do you spot a man who is happy? Simple really – he is at peace with himself in the shed. Locked away from the world of madness, many happy hours can be spent tinkering away, without anyone looking over our shoulder.

The shed is indeed a precious space, and inner sanctuary, free from women, free from kids and free from anyone telling the cave man inside all of us what to do, why we should do it and most importantly HOW to do it. In our shed we can do whatever the **** we like.

It is a place for our stuff and please note I said OUR stuff. We will all have our favourite tools, our own projects to work on, our own organisation methods and best of all it is all our own work, ideas and the only things allowed in there, are the things that WE want.

Welcome to the Man In The Shed Website. Come on in guys and enjoy the information that I have provided. My mission is to provide as much useful information as I can, for those of us who know and love the peace and quiet, that can only be found in our shed, workshop or garage. This is known as the “Man Cave,” and is certainly very well named.

This my friends is the last bastion that can keep us sane from the real world and the constant interference in our lives. I believe that as men we were born to do many things and yes in many ways we have never changed since our days in the cave. The reality is that we have also no real wish to grow up and I certainly hope that I never do.

I have heard it said and in many ways it is true, “the only difference between a baby boy and a man is the type of bottle he has in his mouth.

I know when I was young there were certain special things that I wanted to keep and that I wanted no-one else to get their hands on. I once found a pen knife and I can tell you that it was a real beauty with a light brown handle, and a few gadgets on it. It wasn’t quite a Swiss Army knife but it was close enough for me. I used to hide that, along with my special marbles under an old floorboard in my room.

No Place Like Home

Now if you are a family man, then you do have to face up to certain facts in life whether you like them or not. You have no say as to what is in the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room or the kitchen. For a time I was deluded and thought I had, but the reality is that, you may have tiny little spots in your house, that is all they are. I call them my “token spaces.”

You might have one shelf in the bathroom, a small space in a drawer in the kitchen, maybe even half of your own bedside locker, and yes you may indeed have your own seat or special chair in the living room, but that is about as far as it goes.

Your shed on the other hand belongs to you. If you feel that ever comes under any type of threat, just whisper these magic words, “I think I saw a rat in the shed,” and just like magic you will have it all to yourself once again.  I have lost count of the number of rats there have been in my shed 🙂 and I have never had to catch one yet.

Never Weaken

If you falter and allow anything into your shed, like a box of useless coat hangers, old curtains, or biscuit tins, then my friend you have lost. One item leads to an invasion of the crap she doesn’t want in the house. A shed is a place for YOUR stuff, for old nails that you will never use, for things that might come in handy, but probably never will, but you know what…that is YOUR choice.

Forget about that principle just once and the “others” will invade. Locks, and plenty of them are a great idea. If it isn’t bolted down, then lock it. I am not talking about burglars here, I am talking about MISSING screwdrivers, hammers that walk away on their own, and things left where you didn’t leave them.


So welcome to the website, a site for those of us who enjoy spending time in the solitude of our shed. It doesn’t matter if that is to do a bit of gardening, work on a car or bike, do a bit of woodworking or anything else that you like to do. (Home Brew is a great idea)

On this site I will talk about some great things for your shed, how to secure and maintain it, and how to keep it a cave man shed, free from any intrusion or annoyance.

Looking back, I guess no-one else would have wanted my treasures, but I was just not going to take that chance. Well I am still like that today and the only difference is that over the years I have gathered up many tools and other bits and pieces. Those are my modern day treasures and I love them.

Setting Up Your Man Cave

Right guys, there is no need to get all fancy about this, though of course you can. Let’s start though with the basics of a Man Cave. It needs as mandatory requirements to have the following:

  • A place for you ALONE – a place of solitude and where you can never be interrupted
  • Lighting – all kinds of lighting – yes even lighting that you don’t really need.
  • Heating
  • Drink – alcoholic or otherwise – that includes a small beer fridge or wine cooler or even BOTH!!
  • Plenty of ashtrays – (I smoke)
  • Varied selection of tools – we will all have different sets of these
  • Things that you have saved and will probably never use – but let’s face it they are yours
  • Locks – you will need locks for sure
  • A radio – old and battered works but with Wifi is better
  • A TV – as big as you can get
  • A dartboard is good
  • Workbenches, storage, hooks, nails in the wall
  • Some type of manly sign that hangs up
  • Seats – old cars have super cool seating

If you can think of any other “mandatory items” let me know and I will consider them all carefully and include them if they are indeed mandatory. On this website, I will get into all of these in a lot more detail but you might already find that you have many of these in place. There are plenty of great Man Cave ideas but we want to be careful not to try and go with what I call the “Irish Pub Theme.”

Irish pubs popped up all over the place and as someone from Belfast most of these themed pubs are crap. Our man caves need to represent us so they should be unique and be about YOU. I will give you a ton of ideas but then put your own twist on them and make your man cave your own special place. I have read in many different places that you should have this or that, but it isn’t always true.

To be comfortable you need to surround yourself with things that represent you. In my opinion no two man shed should ever be the same.

How To Transition To Your Man Cave?

Do not be under the illusion that you can just set up a man cave and then go there when you want. Many’s a good man has tried and failed. There are certain steps that need to be taken to achieve that problematical step towards inner sanctuary. Trust me on this as it takes both time and a great deal of patience.

Your wife or partner will instantly think that you are hiding out there or lazing about (which is of course true). However I have a foolproof method for lulling them into a false sense that you are in fact very busy and highly productive.

Create Initial Value

no trespassing signIf you can create initial value for your partner or wife, then my friend you have sewn the seeds of a successful venture. There are always jobs that need done around the home. Make sure that they get done and when doing them make sure that you constantly move between the home/garden and your shed. Please note a shed can also be a garage or a workshop. These early days set the scene for where you do your best work.

Here is an example of what I mean. Your partner needs a single socket made into a double socket. That sounds like an easy task and it is. However, you are not an electrician, and neither is she. It will however allow you to go to B&Q and buy a wall box and a double socket, and you may even need some tools to do the job 🙂

You should also create a cost. Inform them that if they hired an electrician that this task would cost a fortune. Never go any cheaper than £100 is my advice. You however as the hero, and jack of all trades, are going to complete this job for under £10, but it will take a bit of time.

Do not set up anything where the job needs to be done. Get to your man cave and do as much as you can there – yes – even opening up the boxes or bags, and setting things out. You will need a screwdriver to open up the socket. Then you need to turn off the electric and disconnect the wires.

You will need a hammer and chisel to widen out the hole so bring them to the work area and do that. Then you will need a drill and masonry bit to attach the new wall box to the wall. So get back in and out to your man cave and mumble and moan as much as you can. Then when you get it connected up, all you need to do is test it and screw the new double socket on.

You have created value and your partner then associates man cave time as valuable. Hopefully you are getting my drift here. The good news is that you don’t have to keep doing jobs, but initially you do. You are in what I call transition mode. It takes about 6 months before she no longer questions where you are or what you are actually doing.

Extending The Time In Your Man Cave

So it is important to build up this sense of value. You are not out there swinging the lead, playing with car engines, watching TV or throwing darts. You are in fact doing a whole range of jobs that your partner can’t do or simply do not want to do.

Every now and then throw in the element of surprise. Make something useful that your partner can use and then you can just extend how long you want to stay out there. if you are a grandfather like me, then take the kids out with you the odd time and your partner will think you are bonding. More likely than not you will both be watching TV but they do not need to know that.

Always Have A Project

shed projectsMany guys get this bit wrong. You always need to have something on the go. Ideally a big project such as making a gate, building a fence, fixing a clothes line or something of that nature. You just never know when you will need to escape to the shed, so make sure that your partner believes that you are working on some big and difficult project.

I like to have 2-3 projects going at any one time. To give you an example at the moment I am working on “fixing” some solar lights for the garden (replacing a couple of batteries). I am also working on making a doll’s house for my grand daughter (One with lights of course) and I am also painting a couple of gates.

Now if I really went to work on these they could all be done in a week. However the solar lights will be out and working next week. The doll’s house does not need to be finished until the end of May and this is now the beginning of April. The gates just need a lick of paint but I can stretch that one out to the middle of May.


Enda McLarnon