Reclaimed Materials Form Family’s Debt-Free Home

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Photo by LeRoy Mead
LeRoy Mead, the author, scouted items from torn-down houses to construct his home. The Meads have ample privacy and an all-year spring.

I have a debt-free shelter. I spent most of the money for the land. Part of it has a south-facing slope. It also has an all-year spring and is a bit remote. But I am only 11 miles to the center of town. Our nearest neighbor is 2 1/2 miles away by road.

I spent about $300 for materials for our shelter. Most of the items were salvaged. I got nails, screws and insulation from houses that were torn down. The roof is made up of van tops that were originally removed so they could be made into an ambulance. The front is made out of 8-foot doors that were rejects. The floor is mostly dirt, but there is stone in the food prep area as well as the bathroom area.

At present we live as the Amish do. The other four hours we crank up the generator to power the fridge, freezer and other electronics. We use the woodstove for heat and cooking in winter.

As you will see from the photo, it’s nothing fancy, but it keeps us dry and out of the weather. Visitors must leave behind their cellphones and any other devices that require a signal. You can’t get signal here unless you want to hike uphill a quarter of a mile.

Our only drawback is that it’s nearly a mile to the mailbox on the county road. We stopped going to it because they will not deliver mail out here.

Read other debt-free home reports like this one by perusing Debt-Free Living in Your Dream Home or visiting our Debt-Free Home Reports collection page.