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

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Hay House, Inc, Jan 16, 2018 - Self-Help - 280 pages
14 Reviews
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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 decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.

The challenge became a lifeline when, in the course of the year, Cait found herself in situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol, and food—and what it had cost her. Unable to reach for any of her usual vices, she changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life—and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thewestwing - LibraryThing

3.5 stars - this was an interesting book. It was a lot more memoir than I expected but I could relate to Cait in lots of ways and how she coped. More of an inspirational book than practical book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Felicity-Smith - LibraryThing

I started this book very optimistic as it had been recommended to me and I have enjoyed similar "recommended reads". This was however a collection of essays. It did have an overarching message but ... Read full review

Selected pages


Taking Inventory
Changing Daily Habits
Breaking Up with Retail Therapy
Growing Up and Apart
Blacking Out and Coming
Crafting New Traditions
Rewriting the Rules
Letting Go of the Future
Planning My Exit
Finding Myself in Unusual Places
Packing Up and Moving
Your Guide to Less

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About the author (2018)

Cait Flanders is a former binge consumer turned mindful consumer of everything. Through personal stories, she writes about what happens when money, minimalism, and mindfulness cross paths. Cait’s story has been shared on, Forbes, Yahoo!, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, and more. She inspires people to consume less and live more, on her blog Cait lives in Squamish, BC, Canada, with her three loves: the mountains, the forest, and the ocean. Website:

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