We are a family of five living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In many ways, we’re a typical middle class American family. Mauricio and I both work full-time. He’s an electrician. I’m a freelance copywriter. We have a mortgage on our nice four-bedroom home in the San Francisco Bay Area. We drive a minivan and a Honda Civic. We have a cat who barfs on the carpet.

We agree on modern design and homeschooling. We disagree on letting the kids play video games and letting the cat in the house. We’ve become overextended and stressed by obligations and bills and kids’ lives. And, except for when Survivor is on, we haven’t made nearly enough time for each other.

It’s that last part that started us on a path to living a more conscious life. We’re asking, “Is this how we want to spend our lives?” We agree on the answer.

And so, step by step, we are making a change to a life less dictated by getting and spending. Writing about it is my way of documenting our progress, keeping our family and friends informed of what we’re up to, sharing ideas with others, and keeping me true to our path. While we don’t know exactly where this will take us, this is our plan:

We will invest our time and our money in conscious ways that reflect our values.

We will waste less time, money, natural resources.

We will choose experiences over stuff.

We will get rid of clutter to make room for fresh air.

We will avoid factory, plastic, Made in China, cheap, ugly.

We will choose gently used, natural, made locally, worthy, beautiful.

We will stress less and live more—gratefully with and for each other.

We will not be perfect, but we will try really hard.

Update: We’ve since dumped the mortgage and the minivan. We haven’t dumped the cat. Our story starts getting a lot more interesting right about here: For Sale: Someone Else’s American Dream.