When the town we live in told me I couldn't replace an old shed with a new, larger one because they had increased our property's setbacks to 20' along the sides and 50' from the water, I was forced to place a much smaller one, closer to our house (It's OK, since the old shed is still in place, outside the setbacks and "grandfathered" in... I'll make that bigger too... By going up... Revenge can be sweet:)
Still, I wish it had more room in the new shed. The kind of shed I purchased was the "lofted barn" type. It didn't take me long to change the "loft" part into a "floor" part, nearly doubling the inside storage space.
After I completed the new floor, and within an hour of struggling to get a heavy box up the ladder, I was busy designing and making an elevator... All the while nursing a sore back that lasted a week.
Step 1: Preparation:
After drawing up a number of ideas, I settled on one that took up the least amount of space. The ladder was already in place and I had left additional space in the overhead to fit bulky materials, so I decided that would be the best place to locate the elevator as well.
In order to keep the platform as level as possible, without having to handle multiple lifting lines, I settled on a rig that "ancient" drawing boards used. If you went to school before the 90s, chances are you've seen one. The drawing board rig keeps the platform perfectly level in one direction. I could have placed another just like it facing the opposite direction, but opted instead for a simple bridle that keeps things steady as long as the load is somewhat balanced.
I purchased all the parts I needed at our local hardware store. I chose 2 sizes of line, which is a bit of overkill. One for the hoist, (3/4") and a lighter line for the stabilizer (5/8"). Using 5/8" for everything may have made things a bit easier and less expensive.