Gimme Shelter

“Hi. I am your neighbor. I thought you might like to know that there is someone living in your shed. Ok, bye.”

Um. WHAT?!

I always wondered what was in that shed located behind the apartment building. I’ve walked by it many mornings when I circle around the back to check the dumpsters on my way to my car. In six months, I have never actually looked inside. Maybe I should have? Or. . . maybe it’s good that I didn’t?

This is the shed ——–>

The Fella accompanied me to investigate because there was no way in hell I was going alone. It’s a small plastic shed with locked doors but the roof of it was loose and in two parts so someone could easily climb into it.

When we pulled back the top we saw this ——>

The contents include:

  • A makeshift bed
  • A large suitcase
  • Three liters of Mountain Dew
  • A cup full of cigarette butts
  • A mini-fire extinguisher
  • A small hand-held broom
  • A half-eaten candy cane
  • A discman

Cozy, right?

My first thought was something like, King Ick could be squatting here.” Because yes, I did once date a homeless guy, thanks for asking. And no, I don’t feel like talking about that asshole.

I stood there pondering what to do. Legally, I should call the authorities and have this person busted for trespassing BUT my sympathetic nature wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. So. . . I wrote a note that basically said: clear out by the morning or I will call the police. The next morning when I, with trepidation, pulled back the top all that was left was the suitcase, the sodas and the fire extinguisher. He took the important stuff like the bed and the cigarette cup.

Then I called the landlord so she could hire someone to haul it away because I have enough to deal with without adding illegal squatters to the list. Apparently this is not the first time someone has played house in the shed. But it will be the last.


91 thoughts on “Gimme Shelter

  1. You’ve got to admire the fact he had a mini fire extinguisher with him.

    Maybe your next shed could have proper fire-suppression installed.

  2. “…you sure that was Mtn Dew?…or the shed’s version of indoor plumbing?”

    i TOTALLY thought the same thing!


  3. Wow– ah-mazing. I almost can’t help but feel a tug of admiration for the person, clever enough to think of this! And so tidy, too! Wow.

    I think you did the right thing, leaving a little note for them to move on. It’s the end of summertime now, and they need to be thinking about proper housing anyhow…but still. Wow. I’d be freaked out, I think! Well done you!:-)

  4. That makes me really sad. I mean, I know he can’t live there and all, but I wonder where he went. I am pleased that you left a note to warn him before just calling someone to “take care of it” for you though. What a sad situation though!

  5. Okay, I thought the same thing about that Mountain Dew- clearly a few of us think this might be a lazy mans plan. Also, I do like that this guy had a discman. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get one until I was in grade 11. He’s got me beat there. But then, I have a home. Jesus. Now I feel like a jerk for bringing up that he’s homeless and I’m not.

  6. At least the person was in the shed and not the laundry room of the building. Yes, that happened the first winter I lived in my building. And then recently one of the guys (There were three of them that winter.) took up residence in a hallway. No one knew he was there for weeks because he had closed off the fire door.

  7. I know I should be appalled for you (and I am, really) but all I can think is “OMG! It’s like “The Boxcar Children”.

    All I wanted in life my entire 5th grade year was to go live in a boxcar in the forest, buy brown bread and cheese from the bakery, scavenge utensils at the dump and keep milk cold in a makeshift refrigerator in the stream.

    (Of course, it loses some of its appeal when I picture doing this at 33-years-old, but the 11-year-old in me is totally jiggy with it.)

  8. I’ve always been slightly leery of sheds ever since I was a little kid and snuck into my grandpa’s shed and a snake slithered over my feet. Now I have homeless people to wonder about. Good thing our shed’s packed to the brim. No room even for a ciggarette cup. I’m glad the squatter wasn’t there when you investigated. That could have been really scary.

  9. Smart cookie for bringing The Fella along the first time back there. And that’s kind hearted of you to give ample warning of what’s to come.

    Reminds me of the year I was an RA in school and had a bunch of athletes on my floor. If anything went wrong with them, their coaches were the first to be informed. So, when on back-up duty and smelling the not-so-faint smell of pot, I told them, the RA on duty would be by in 15 minutes. If said athletes weren’t gone by then, they’d be written up. Amazing how quickly they vacated the building.

  10. OMFG!! I halfway thought you were going to say there was a dead body in there…but either way..EW.But kudos to the homeless guy-you have to admit he was pretty resourceful in making a little home for himself.

  11. This may be a stupid question – but was he/she actually sleeping in that space or just using it to store belongings?

  12. We had a homeless guy who lived near (possibly in) our dumpster. I usually just felt bad and left him some cans of food sometimes.

    Though in retrospect, I don’t know that he had a can opener. Wow, I’m a bitch.

  13. Oh Sizzle, you handled that flawlessly. Good job, Super!
    The mini fire extinguisher kills me. Clearly your resident squatter was no idiot!

  14. As far as evictions go, I think that one went pretty well. Good one you for getting Fella do you with you. I am stupid in that I probably would have headed out there with just a tennis racket for protection. LOL.

    What happened to the stuff in the shed?

  15. You’re a good person for giving them time to move without any static. I’m amazed someone could squeeze into the plastic shelter. Not great on the air flow. I’m not sure if I want to add a tool shed to our backyard for this very reason. I’m half expecting to find someone living under our deck.

  16. Our shed has a lock…and um is in our locked backyard…over protection? I think not :o) Glad you got things taken care of…you rock as a building manager.

  17. How tall is that shed? Because it looks small. And how did he get in and out? So creepy. Did you see if the suitcase was empty? I’m suddenly thinking dead body in suitcase 😦

  18. Reminds me of an empty office in one of the buildings on my campus. It turned out that the two departments on that floor thought the other occupied it when really there was a woman living in there. They figured it out when they caught her bathing in the sink of the restroom. She was sitting in on classes and everything. Kinda creepy.

  19. Ugh, I used to have to deal with similar issues with that type of shed when I ran day camps and after school programs. Although I was lucky enough to only have to deal with simple stuff like vandalism and theft. I actually had to make a police report each time it happened though, which was really fun when I had to try to explain to the officer that I wasn’t exactly sure what, if anything, was stolen because the sheds were broken into so often and I had only inherited that particular site less than two weeks earlier. Good times!

  20. I have to agree, that this story was sad, creepy, and hilarious all at once.

    So sorry you had to deal with this, but nicely handled!!

  21. this is so sad, folks having to survive in unthinkable situations all around us. that shed, he or she made it a home and it must have given them some small solace in the dark night.

  22. OK, that’s just creepy and makes me want to check my shed…. I don’t know which I’m more afraid of – someone living out there, or some THING.

  23. ooh…yikes. We have a similar shed, only it’s even bigger…which means TWO beds could fit in it. Guess I’ll be telling hubby to check in out…I, of course, will be inside watching him from my kitchen window.

  24. Innerestin … Quite a little set up there! Glad you got it resolved, though I am left wondering – what was in the suitcase???

  25. I too am impressed by your tidy, literate, fire-safe squatter. As a kid, I also found The Boxcar Children’s lives incredibly romantic. Have you ever read Mole People? It’s a supposedly true account of the many people who live in the New York subway system. That shed is a resort by comparison.

  26. oh wow that is so freaking weird. glad they got out of there though. oy. reminds me of that story where the woman was living in a guy’s closet, bizzzarre.

  27. That was so a scene from a horror movie. And you’re the chick who everyone yells “NO, NO, don’t uncover the shed” at.

  28. It saddens me that a shed like that is where someone had to take shelter.

    But, Mountain Dew and a Candycane? All joking aside, that shows pretty good taste.

  29. I would find that a tough situation to handle… On one hand, he should not be living in your shed, but on the other, he wasn’t really bothering anyone – seemed less drama than some of your paying tenants… Glad you gave him warning though, police can be pretty cruel to someone just because they are homeless. But seriously, a candy cane??!!

  30. I like that he (she?) had a broom – at least they liked to keep their space tidy!

    I still think it’s weird that the Inhabitor vacated the premises but left the suitcase. What’s the point?

  31. Holy crap! That is kind of scary. But I would have been somewhat sympathetic just as you were. I love how the cigarette cup travels with him. LOL NIce.

  32. Dude, did you know Guns N Roses started out living in a place not much bigger than that?!?! It’s true. I read it in the new Playboy.

    You could have just evicted the Axl Rose of the 21st Century.

  33. That is so sad.Imagine having a shed as a home, I guess it is better than a cardboard box. I am very impressed with how neat he was. Of course how do we know it was a man? There are homeless women too.

  34. Oh, I’m usually the first to make a snarky comment over something like this, but this made me so sad. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t homeless people here in Oklahoma. I see them everyday on my way to work. But there’s something about the way the bed was made and everything was arranged that made me think of the longing the person must have had for home.

    Your solution as super was appropriate and humane, but I’m sad we don’t find more ways to shelter our homeless citizens in this country.

    Sorry to be all serious on you.

  35. 😦

    I don’t know what I would have done in your shoes. I’m not sure I could have kicked someone out, and yet… seriously? A shed?

  36. Oh my gosh! Holy creepy, creative little feller (guessing it’s a guy. Bad? No?). Oh let’s go check out all the neighbors sheds, I’ll live there. Oh this looks nice, I’ll move in!

    Truly I think you could have a separate blog just about your household!

  37. I also think it was nice that you gave him/her warning. Wonder why they didn’t take everything. And maybe you guys should get rid of the shed if it’s not being used for storage, to prevent future squatters.

  38. Ugh — good call on bringing The Fella. I’m on the first floor and right next to a green belt, and for a couple of weeks last Fall, there was a homeless guy cruising in the bushes about five feet from my door. We were going to have the brush cut back, but I think my little terrier barked him away. But what irritated me was how calm Ted was everytime we saw the guy walking by. One time we had guests over and they were like “Ted, tell the guy to get the hell out of there!”

  39. See, this is the kinda stuff that if I didn’t see actual proof via pics, I’d think you were making up.

    WHUAT!!! like this seriously happened in real life?? And you read about people living in malls all the time. Cozy? Umm..heck yeah!

    I felt kinda bad for the poor guy/girl, glad you at least gave him/her the opportunity to leave without being arrested.

    Now you done went an open a can of worms, you what?? once date a what guy?? Ok, that you HAVE to tell us about.

  40. HOLY CRAP.

    Also, I’m dying to know what the story behind this is. I mean, how does someone end up living in a shed?

    (I used to work down in Sodo and there was a totally normal looking business man that lived out of his car. I always figured maybe his wife kicked him out and he just didn’t know what to do…)

  41. wow, you encounter some interesting shit in your day to day life. I think I’d have been too scared to do much of anything.

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