The Year of Less
by Cait Flanders
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 from July 2014 to June 2015, during which time 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.
What started as a simple challenge quickly became a lifeline, however, as Cait found herself in a number of 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, for so many years. By not being able to reach for any of her usual vices, Cait changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.
“More was never the answer. The answer, it turned out, was always less.”
“The Year of Less” is a personal memoir by twenty-something Cait Flanders. After finding herself at rock bottom, Cait made the decision to sort her life out, changing her habits in regards to alcohol, food, shopping and general consumerism.
Cait has been through a lot in recent years and her experiences with alcoholism, binge eating, and a shopping addiction have made her question the life she’s currently living. In an attempt to turn her life around, Cait committed herself to a whole year of not buying unnecessary items and clearing her home of everything she didn’t need or use regularly. Can you imagine not buying anything for a whole year? I’m not sure I can!
This isn’t really a self-help book so if you’re looking for advice on how to clear out your belongings, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. Instead, this is an honest look at one women’s journey at finding herself as a person, without the need for ‘stuff’.
I enjoyed Cait’s journey and found several chapters of her writing to be very relatable. I particularly enjoyed that the audiobook was self-narrated as I could feel the emotion in her Canadian accent when things got tough. The chatty writing style made this an easy read too, I sped through it in just a couple of days.
I can’t say that I’m inspired to do the same but this book definitely got me thinking. The idea of less in general is an interesting one and something I’ll probably consider the next time I’m mindlessly browsing online.
I’ve placed a hold on Cait’s next book, “Adventures in Opting Out”, at my library, but the wait is so long it might be a while till I eventually get to read it!
Overall rating: “The Year of Less” is an honest memoir by Canadian blogger Cait Flanders. The idea of living with less is a really interesting one that will certainly make me think about my own life. I really enjoyed the chatty style of this self-narrated audiobook, it’s 4 stars from me!
See my other reviews of books by Cait Flanders here: