Our first phase in our homesteading plan is to build a cabin that we can use on weekends and holidays and will serve as temporary living quarters once we start building a house. Because funds are limited we want to spend as little money as possible so I have a crazy scheme to build that cabin for free....or close to it. (Check out an article I wrote on this at Suite 101.)
Building with recycled materials
Using recycled or "repurposed" building materials is nothing new. We've just gotten used to going to Home Depot or Lowe's and buying everything brand new. But there is a huge "market" of free stuff out there just waiting to be used. All it costs is time and elbow grease. Ever seen those rickety old out buildings in the country? Do you know anyone doing a remodel? Opportunities abound for someone willing to haul away other people's junk! (Remember the old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? That's exactly what we're talking about. Using recycled materials is a win for everybody - and the environment.
This morning's Craigslist finds
When it comes to finding free materials Craigslist is your best friend. This morning, a brief search in my area's "free" section yielded the following: wood paneling, an entire porch someone needs dismantled (which means lots of 2x4's, 2x6's and plywood), a moving company that is offering free furniture moving containers made out of 2x4's and 1/2 and 3/4 inch plywood (the plywood can be used for floor and roof decking possibly) - and they've got alot of them free for the taking! In recent days I've also seen free cinder blocks (great for your cabin foundation), bricks (for a chimney possibly?), and a lot of other useful stuff. The "inventory" is constantly changing so check Craigslist often.
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
I have a brother who's a contractor. He'll be helping me with the construction of my cabin (though he doesn't know that yet!) and, as you can imagine, he is a rich source of recycled materials. So far he has already supplied me with a door and some windows. Had I told him about my free cabin plan a week earlier he would've been able to get all the tin roofing I would need! But he comes across material all the time so i'm not too worried. On just about every remodel he does he has to pull out old stuff and haul it too the dump. Now he just gives me a call whenever he's pulling out materials that could be used for the cabin project. If you're looking to build a cabin on the cheap then get to be friends with a contractor.
More to come
I'm in the very early phases of gathering up as much material as I can. My goal is to be able to start building the cabin in July or August. I'll keep you posted throughout the process.