2 years ago, in a condo overlooking Lake Minnetonka, nestled west of the Twin Cities, in the state currently known as Minnesota, a young writer and his comedic wife made a choice that would shape their life and create a name that would circulate around the Midwest...
Working paycheck to paycheck for rent became monotonous with our passion to travel and perform at Renaissance Festivals. The success of our comedy show, Evengard Improv, provided enough to cover travel expenses, but not enough to quit our day jobs.
Following the budgeting advice of Dave Ramsey, we found the majority of our income going to living expenses with little remaining for savings, and rent was about to go up...again. A change was needed. A more minimal and mobile life where we could carry our home to create the scenes people had grown to love—where we could return that love and help our families and friends. God had an incredible journey for us which we followed each remarkable step!
We will go into that story in another article/video.
Fast forward to earlier in October 2017, that change became a reality when we purchased a fifth-wheel camper that fit in our small savings. This new life also made us rethink the name of Evengard and the limitations on where we performed. Thus Scenery Changes was born and we drove up to Minnesota to pick up our new tiny home:
The 4 day event started off without any problems while we drove to hook up the trailer to my father's truck (yes, we bought the cart before the horse... but did not have to take out a loan for it). We took it back to Iowa so we could get our mattress and move all of our pretty things inside. The wind and rain slowed us down but we made the 7 hour drive and slept one last time at the house in Iowa.
Once we finished loading, I realized we still had too many things even after all the attempted downsizing and minimalist-inspired videos. So on Sunday, my parents set off for Nebraska while we stayed to get the title and plates ready on Monday. But Sunday became one of the most stressful days...
My parents had just entered Des Moines when one of the tires decided it had gone far enough and committed seppuku. Thankfully, they were only minutes from an open tire shop that had one last tire that would fit the trailer. I dismissed it as a rogue nail or screw that could have been picked up between the jaunt. Until the second tire blew 15 minutes later down the road.
Once again, God provided a way around a tragedy by another nearby tire store open on a Sunday with one tire left of the size we needed. Although delayed, they were back on the road and made it another hour before the third tire blew out... I may have to write an article about those tires that were put on all sorts of trailers and campers about 10-12 years ago. My dad fixed cars for a living and imparted some of that wisdom to me which I hope to share with all of you. Basically, get new tires if they are 10 years old and not American made!
This time, they were near a Walmart that claimed to have at least two of the tires they needed. However, when they arrived the auto shop of the store had closed and no one else at the store had any idea about the tires we needed. Yet, right next to the store was a hotel and the sun had already faded over the horizon. They checked in and we prayed.
The next morning, we drove to get everything registered while my parents went back into the store—they didn't have the tires. But right up the road was another tire shop where they had the tires needed to replace the blown out one and even the last tire, about to expire as well. With new tires they continued the rest of the journey to their farm in Nebraska. We arrived only a couple hours behind them and set to work setting up our new home.
The cleaning and unpacking took us into the next weekend before we were finally able to move in. Although unused for quite some time, everything began to work with only a few restless nights:
With all that happened, we can only thank God and all of you who supported us in so many ways. We can't even begin to thank everyone who had a hand in getting us to where we are now. Each passing comment or tidbit of advice went a long way in our journey. And though it seems the hard part is mostly over, this is only the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.
We always have room in our small space for your thoughts and prayers in our endeavor. Please let us know how we can help you as well by messaging us or leaving us a comment below. I hope you continue to follow our journey and we can inspire you to follow yours, wherever that may take you.
In an effort to shrink our possessions to fit our tiny adventure, we have decided to start...
Day 1 - August 8, 2016 - "5 items"
The easiest and hardest of days... day 1. We decided to get rid of 5 "sets" of items. Our sleeping bags (that were over 10 years old and thinning to the point of a translucent lingerie of its former comfort), an outside table (that served its purpose on our screened in porch and will be replaced by the Wheel O' Improv modification), VHS tapes (now obsolete and to be converted to digital), some excess books (things started to sting a little at this point), and the record collection
(that had become part of my soul; now a gaping void of a memory). Such items we deemed unnecessary or unfit for our new lifestyle. Records get heavy to maintain and it has dwindled to the best of the best. Here rests the final ones that survived the many purges of my over 300 collection (I hope they are adopted to a new loving family).
Day 2 - August 9, 2016 - "Countertops"
The challenge today seemed odd as we try to keep our counters tidy. However, with the recent guests (love you mom and dad!) it had a stockpile of dishes and remnants of leftovers. We polished those off and fried the fish (caught from the purified waters of Minnetonka) from our upstairs neighbors/homeowners. Cleaning together is one of the most blissful things a couple can do together... trust me on this. We managed to slim down our stirring spoon and spatula collection. Tomorrow we meditate... or take a nap... which usually happens while trying to meditate.
Day 3 - August 10, 2016 - "Meditating"
We skipped over this one as we both believe in the power of prayer over meditation. We had Bible study last night as well so lots of praying!
Day 4 - August 11, 2016 - "Junk Drawer"
I must confess, we have junk in a trunk... not a drawer. Actually, it was spread out in a couple different boxes we had yet to unpack from our previous move. We used this time to sort through our tool box and emergency kit. After checking the batteries on a bad flashlight that leaked acid on me, we decided to upgrade our survival box a bit (don't worry, I used lots of water). We fit all of our tools and "junk" items into a heavy duty container that has easy access if we need it. Our survival kit is still in its own box so not to worry mom :)
Day 5 - August 12, 2016 - "Clothes"
This challenge came to us earlier as we began our downsizing. As it is, my wife and I share 1 dresser (I have 2 drawers, she has 3) and 1 small closet. I found a few stained shirts and extra white undershirts to cycle out. Our mantra has become "one in, one out."
Day 6 - August 13, 2016 - "Digital Cleanse"
I had to look this one up. Apparently you are supposed to abstain from any digital devices... which makes blogging about it awkward. We're going to say this means going through files and folders on our pc. Maybe organize my externals as well.
Day 7 - August 14, 2016 - "Accessories"
The accessories in my life have become minimal in my life previous to this challenge. However, I have noticed my writing accessories may have taken over more than one bag. Time to slim it into one!
Day 8 - August 15, 2016 - "Shoes"
We have already shrunk our shoe collection to the necessities. Lisa was able to get rid of one pair... I'm glad I married someone who wasn't a shoe hoarder ;)
Day 9 - August 16, 2016 - "Pamper Yourself"
Olympics, cheese, chocolate mile... podcast: www.twitch.tv/shad0fx
Day 10 - August 17, 2016 - "10 Items"
The 10 items we have away were hard for me but easier on my wife... It was our camping gear. I quickly learned that she is not a happy camper and my back/insomnia for not agree with sleeping in a tent. They did find a good home. We spent some time reorganizing and sorting items in boxes (we'll pamper more later). Those items we counted in the 10 as well which put us over. So far, so good.
Day 11 - August 18, 2016 - "Social Media"
We talked about getting rid of some of the sites we no longer use but have minimized as much as possible... Took a break from posting here. Does that count?
Day 12 - August 19, 2016 - "Use Up A Product"
"I ate the last of the salsa... And you drank the last of the spiced rum..." my wife commented while reading our challenge tonight. I have also used the last of the beard butter (found a better/natural one from Ren folk) and am hoping to use up the rest of the body wash stuff I don't use often.
Day 13 - August 20, 2016 - "Pantry"
Our "pantry" consists of a small bookshelf. We did manage to clear/condense most of it into the upper shelves. Lisa used some baskets to keep things organized. It was also Ren Fest day!
Day 14 - August 21, 2016 - "Pots & Pans"
Do we even have those things anymore? Our life is started to get stored away into boxes. We spent most of today packing for the move.
Day 15 - August 22, 2016 - "Wake Up 3o Minutes Early"
Failed. It's Monday.
Day 16 - August 23, 2016 - "Linens"
The first thing that came to mind was my renaissance shirts. I do have some left over material I should go through. Maybe that's what they mean. It's a good day to repair and reorganize my garb ;)
Day 17 - August 24, 2016 - "Cleaning Products"
A.k.a. dishes again and more packing...
Day 18 - August 25, 2016 - "Journal 15 min"
I try to journal/edit for more than 15 minutes a day but I suppose this counts. I should rephrase the title to say "updated sometimes" as we have started moving things. Since those who read this are probably already aware, we are moving to Iowa next month. Which means (on top of moving) we are job hunting. I have had a few nibbled but no good bites as of yet for a full time job. Hence why I am also strapping myself the the writing chair. Poetry book by winter or bust! So this is where we are again, jumping the fence between settled and moving. If you did not know we are moving yet... Tada!
Day 19 - August 26, 2016 - "Skin Care"
We had to rush home after work to get to the wedding rehearsal! No time to worry about minimizing this weekend... all about the happy couple. I did get rid of some facial wash and get better beard stuff.
Day 20 - August 27, 2016 - "Make Up"
Wedding day for friends in Rochester. We had too much fun to do this!
Day 21 - August 28, 2016 - "Go For A Walk"
We enjoyed wandering around Rochester and spent a lot of time getting things packed for the move
Day 22 - August 29, 2016 - "Medicine"
Still packing... (and Monday... bleh)
Day 23 - August 30, 2016 - "Mail/Paperwork"
It's in a box somewhere... Just kidding. Packing/moving brain is real now. I do have a few things to sort through and we worked on getting some bills/financial paperwork organized for the move!
Day 24-30 - Moving Days - "Things are in a box"
We managed to get everything down in 3 van loads. Still hoping to reorganize and minimize our lives. It's not about what you get rid of so much as what you do not horde. I guess that means we are for the Alliance now? For Azeroth! Sorry, sidetracked...
I hope this venture we embarked on helps you in your search for living a more simple life. What are some of the things you could not get rid of?