Organizing the Barn
Efficiency is about making the most of what you have. In Maine we have more elbow space than many other places and sometimes we forget how valuable it can be. In Manhattan for example the mantra for grocery stores is to get twenty pounds of food into a ten pound bag. Barns, originally built for an agricultural based community, have since become repositories for storage of things that haven’t been used in years as the agricultural life goes by the wayside. But barns are a resource that are often overlooked for how they could add to your bottom line.
Not only can you store boats and other large toys for people for an annual fee but you could clean it up, partition it into storage lockers the way self-storage places do and charge monthly for the space. I know someone who invested about $1,000 to create secure compartment storage areas in her barn for which she earns about $800 a month in rent.
In Nova Scotia I visited a couple who had their old barn pressure washed and insulated inside to make it into a year-round living space. They kept the structural elements exposed so as not to hide the best parts that are no longer seen in common buildings-the posts and beams.
If earning money from your space is not so important there are other ways to enjoy a clean and organized barn. You may have an artist in the family who could use the cleaned and organized space to work during the summer months.
Finally if the barn is not in good enough condition to do any of the above, fear not. There are builders buying old barn boards to use in new structures. There are people who appreciate the look of wear in the wood and pay more for it as flooring.
There are many ways to take advantage of the grand old barns.