I read Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own, in which he builds a small building to use as a writing studio. The architect's design called for wall studs to be cut to 8ft 1in (out of 10ft sticks), resulting in a huge waste pile. Apparently the architect thought that if it was an inch lower Pollan would hit his head coming in; any higher it would have felt cavernous.
Whatever. That is not how I think. I want to use standard materials with minimal waste.
But it's not always obvious how to do this, at least to inexperienced builders. For example, an 8' x 12' shed can have a subfloor built of 3 sheets of 4' x 8' material (great!). However, the interior and exterior walls can't both be increments of 4' wide, if the wall has non-0 thickness. So, you pick one (presumably the exterior) to be at 4' increments, and cut to fit at the other face (presumably the interior).
Similarly, if a particular span is slightly too long for a 2x6, a 2x8 wouldn't be fully used. Either make the span shorter and use the 2x6, or longer and make full use of the strength of the 2x8.
It seems like there should be a list of such tips that experienced builders carry around in their noggins, and that I want to learn without spending 20 years in the field. :-)
I'm limiting the question to sheds because I assume the dynamics of larger buildings change what is worth optimizing for. Let's say we're building under 200 sq. ft.