The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she...

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Title:The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
Author:Cait Flanders
Rating:

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store Reviews

  • Caitlin

    A beautifully written memoir and a very inspiring challenge--to clean out clutter and stop shopping for an entire year. Cait is unflinchingly honest and I am humbled by how much she shared about her struggles. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in minimalism and memoirs.

  • Denise Logeot

    This book is a courageous and bold memoir. Cait shares honestly her experiences on a shopping ban, but it becomes an illustration of how people can be pulled into believing they are not enough. I can’t say enough good things!

  • Ali Edwards

    Super quick read on a topic I’m interested in - how less can mean more. This book is more memoir than how-to and I was interested in her story and all the ways in which she cake to having and wanting less. Glad I read it. It’s so much more than just a story of not shopping for a year.

  • Kevin ⛅

    An inherently less indulgent link:

    . 😉 Warning: this is NOT a self-help book! It is a memoir and should be reviewed as such. I had to check how

    categorized her book after the first few chapters and was pleased to confirm that she was in fact writing a memoir. (Although she does include a perfect little “how to” at the end of her journey in the epilogue.)

    I cringed when she started to say that she was a blogger – I have had a couple bad reads from bloggers-turned-boo

    An inherently less indulgent link:

    . 😉 Warning: this is NOT a self-help book! It is a memoir and should be reviewed as such. I had to check how

    categorized her book after the first few chapters and was pleased to confirm that she was in fact writing a memoir. (Although she does include a perfect little “how to” at the end of her journey in the epilogue.)

    I cringed when she started to say that she was a blogger – I have had a couple bad reads from bloggers-turned-book authors – but quickly understood that Flanders was an exception to my experience. Her voice is honest and humble in true Canadian fashion. There is nothing flashy about her life or story, which makes it accessible to anyone endeavoring to read her book.

    The timeline is sometimes a little confusing – what job does she have now? Wait, is this during the challenge or before? What city is she living in? These chronological blips can be overlooked since we get the whole story by the end, but it made for a little extra puzzle-piecing throughout.

    Luckily, I grew up with a mom who instilled saving (or, more importantly and in line with this book, not spending) in me from my first allowances. Today, I don’t think not spending is an inherent trait – if you are living in North America, it’s easier to spend than not, especially when money is available that you don’t actually have (credit cards). I have my own strategies for battling the constant barrage of advertisements, temptations, and “needs,” and it was very cool to see Flanders express her journey so publicly.

    Ultimately,

    is a book about struggle, reconciliation with oneself, and adaptation. An easy read and one without too much drama so it was easy to flip, flip, flip… we get the idea pretty early on and toboggan along with Flanders through her year of less. I think one of her main points is to inspire others to do the same in a pursuit of happiness, and I have to believe that this book will do exactly that for more than a couple people.

  • 7jane

    This is not just a 'unclutter your stuff' kind of a book, but also about saving money and getting only things that matter, not just what you think others expect, or what you want to be in your 'ideal self' future. Yeah, it's a 'one-year of __' (doing something, living in another place/country etc.) book, but it's a good one of that kind, and you can trust that all information you can gather to apply on yourself will be there at the end of the book, and you don't have to pick anything as you read

    This is not just a 'unclutter your stuff' kind of a book, but also about saving money and getting only things that matter, not just what you think others expect, or what you want to be in your 'ideal self' future. Yeah, it's a 'one-year of __' (doing something, living in another place/country etc.) book, but it's a good one of that kind, and you can trust that all information you can gather to apply on yourself will be there at the end of the book, and you don't have to pick anything as you read. There is a also a small number of resources the personal guide.

    So: the author - who has already recently conquered her debts, alcoholism, bad eating habits, and ended one destructive relationship (with connection to the alcoholism point) - gets an idea of taking a year off her usual way of consumerism, with some rules on what is allowable to buy and what is not allowed (with some soon-to-be-needing-replacement items listed separately - which she can buy when the time comes). Seems a bit hard at first, but as she keeps going, it gets easier, and she discovers so much more, things that change her life for the better.

    A year of discoveries: how to fix things, watch less tv/Netflix, change habits, starting new traditions, finding good friends, dealing with things instead of relapse/hiding, realising what she wants to do for living.

    And a crisis or two: another broken relationship (but less toxic), losing some friends, parents' divorce, increasing frustration with current job... which leads her to find the type of job she likes eventually.

    She starts with decluttering most of what she owns, and experiences some shopping cravings, similar to what she had with some older habits. She realises she needs to break some behavior habits to become a better person, like speaking up, and what to do when you feel down. She does have one shopping relapse, but she now knows how to react to it, both in action and in how she talks about it to herself. She learns to appreciate her parents' skills (though she can't learn them all, fe. she has no green thumb skills with plants). She realises she needs to keep an emergency fund, not just save for good things like travel or a restaurant dinner. She decides to not just quit a bad job, but move to a smaller city as she prefers a slower pace place more.

    It's a really fruitful year for her, and she really deoes become a better person in a better place in life. The story flows really well, and I could tell it was a good book in how I wanted to keep reading it beyond the usual daily amount, and finished it quick. I might not do it in the same way, but it has got me thinking about my own use of money, and what I should do with things I have (I might use some decluttering-centred book for the latter, though, besides what is here...)

    A good book to add to your collection, and very nice to see this be: decluttering + saving book! One really enjoyable reading experience.

  • Maria

    I thought this was a good memoir of a year cutting back and being intentional. It’s the process I’m going through currently (month 4) so I concur with the lessons learned and the process chosen. That said I listened to this on audio and there were more than a few times I felt like the author wrote 2 nearly identical sentences back to back to make a point. So while I won’t give it 4 or 5 stars for writing, I appreciated the honesty and openness of the story shared. I’d recommend it if you are con

    I thought this was a good memoir of a year cutting back and being intentional. It’s the process I’m going through currently (month 4) so I concur with the lessons learned and the process chosen. That said I listened to this on audio and there were more than a few times I felt like the author wrote 2 nearly identical sentences back to back to make a point. So while I won’t give it 4 or 5 stars for writing, I appreciated the honesty and openness of the story shared. I’d recommend it if you are considering doing something similar or even flirting with the idea. I’d recommend Not buying it and also Zero Waste Home as other resources.

  • Kelli

    I got this audio on Hoopla and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Cait Flanders delivers more of a memoir than a how-to guide and the result is a very honest look at some self-assigned lifestyle changes that brought about deep introspection, which led to healing, self-acceptance and deliberate decision making. 3.5 stars

  • Rhonda

    The title leads one to believe that this is a book about living with less. It is, however, a memoir about a twenty-something who struggles with overindulging in a variety of areas in her life. We hear about her alcoholism, her weight loss journey, her career moves, her romantic relationships, and her family. The information about the shopping ban is minimal. There are 8 pages at the end which outline some practical steps to declutter and live with less.

    Unfortunately, the title is misleading. I w

    The title leads one to believe that this is a book about living with less. It is, however, a memoir about a twenty-something who struggles with overindulging in a variety of areas in her life. We hear about her alcoholism, her weight loss journey, her career moves, her romantic relationships, and her family. The information about the shopping ban is minimal. There are 8 pages at the end which outline some practical steps to declutter and live with less.

    Unfortunately, the title is misleading. I was disappointed in the book as I wanted to hear about living with less rather than the ups and downs of a millennial’s twenties.

  • Jenny (adultishbooks)

    I have been a big fan of Cait Flanders for over two years now. Her story of debt repayment and subsequent shopping ban inspired me to pay off my own debt between 2015-2016. This book was the most anticipated release for 2017 for me. I rarely buy books anymore but I pre-ordered the Kindle version since I wanted to support Cait and give back a snippet of what she’s given me.

    I am very familiar with the ins and outs of Cait’s shopping ban and I was worried that this book was be repetitive to her blo

    I have been a big fan of Cait Flanders for over two years now. Her story of debt repayment and subsequent shopping ban inspired me to pay off my own debt between 2015-2016. This book was the most anticipated release for 2017 for me. I rarely buy books anymore but I pre-ordered the Kindle version since I wanted to support Cait and give back a snippet of what she’s given me.

    I am very familiar with the ins and outs of Cait’s shopping ban and I was worried that this book was be repetitive to her blog or the stories she’s told on several podcasts. This goes deeper and provides new content which I am relieved by. I blew through this in two days so it’s definitely a fast read I will revisit in the future (hence why I purchased a digital copy). I wish it was longer and more fleshed out since I am so fascinated by her shopping ban. Still, this is one of the better minimalism books on the market and a good, gentle easing into stopping or curbing mindless consumption. I also appreciated the candor regarding her struggles with drinking and how that weaved into her story of simply not shopping. Her voice is strong and consistent with the Cait Flanders I know from her podcast and blog so it doesn’t feel edited or written by the editor.

    Overall, I highly recommend this and since her story overall means so much to me, I couldn’t give her any less than five stars.

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