The Year of Less

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

Book - 2018
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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 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"--
Publisher: Carlsbad, California : Hay House, Inc., ©2018.
ISBN: 9781401954871
Characteristics: xxi, 189 pages ;,23 cm.

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Shannongardner84
Jun 03, 2020

If you're looking for lots of tips on living with less, look elsewhere. However, this is a great memoir that inspires self-reflection about attitudes about consumption and the way one uses shopping to fill emotional voids.

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AConsolver
Mar 12, 2020

DNF @ 39% - I would not recommend this book.

A memoir about a year of decluttering and living with less.

I am interested in the general idea behind the project, but a lot of the mentality behind it just doesn’t work for me or my life. I know everyone is different, and goes about their days in ways that they need to to get through their life situations... but this book was written in a perspective where everything is black and white. I find that damaging as people, places, and things can fall into the grey. We live our lives in the grey areas, and we need to be comfortable with that. We need to give ourselves and our friends grace. I think people either love or dislike this one quite a bit. For me, it wasn't what I was expecting.. and the perspective just made it not my kind of book.

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BarbaraJ_1962
Nov 08, 2019

Much more than the title suggests. Addresses the question, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH, which I found personally thought-provoking. It goes beyond the ideas of organizing and weeding to examine this question, and its answers.

j
jkroselawn
Apr 18, 2019

I found the title of this book misleading. It isn't about how the author got by on less at all. Apparently she wrote about that in a blog and this is additional "background" for her fans. Mostly it's about her alcoholism and perception of herself as a fun drunk, and what a great writer she is (?!). A young woman's vague diary with no deep insights. I kept waiting for her to get to the point, or the program, but she never did. Plus, it's not like she owns a house or has a family or a regular job, so she gets by on black leggings and flannel shirts. Maybe her blog contains more information, if anyone really cares how many bottles of shampoo she used in a year...

t
Tony_Jeffers
Mar 10, 2019

Well my idea of a year with less would be found in "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau.
Poor Cait, she had a lot of problems with over spending and over consumption in this dystopian consumer oriented society in which we live today. This problem is getting worst and worst. In America the vast majority of adults can "Shop Tell they Drop" from anywhere with the smartphone or other device they always carry around in their pockets or purses.
SHOP ANYTIME ANYWHERE AMERICANS!
The description and The Library Journal review above do a great job of describing and reviewing this great book so I won't repeat what they say; just read them.
I can relate to some of what Cait says; the way she describes her dad's apparent obsession with trying to teach her economics when she was only a teen with newspaper stories and clippings strikes me as a bit fanatical. He clearly was concerned for her future financial well being; though he lacked the teaching skills to make it interesting and immediate for her.
My parents didn't understand much about the economy or high finance and never read or showed me newspaper articles about that stuff; but they sure knew how to pinch a penny until it screamed. I am grateful for the many lessons in Home Economics I received from them on a daily basis.
Of course I have greatly benefited from the over consumers I have often wondered why the thrifts stores are so full of such great bargains, tons of like new clothes available at amazingly low prices. All donated by over consumers needing to make room in their closets for their next round of binge shopping. The charities supported by the thrift stores that do so much good greatly benefit from this over consumerism as do our schools from Lottery ticket sales.
I was very pleased with the typesetting of this book; set at a comfortable type size with an easy to read attractive thick dark serif typeface.

LoganLib_JennyI Dec 30, 2018

If you are interested in making changes towards minimalism AND getting honest with yourself, you will enjoy this book. Cait Flanders posted a blog about a year long shopping ban and created this book to provide readers with a more in depth, soul bearing explanation of how and why she used shopping, alcohol, drugs and/or food as coping mechanisms to life's problems.
Many people use unhealthy coping strategies without realising what it costs them - financially, healthwise and personally. If you just want practical guidance on consuming less, speed read over the relationship breakdowns, stories of alcoholism and drugs and go to the tip sheets. If you also want to honestly examine yourself, relationships, happiness and coping strategies when life gives you lemons, read every word.
The best thing I got from this book is that failing is a part of the journey. We mostly don't get it right the first time when dealing with the complexities of life - and that is NORMAL. "The Year of Less" will leave you questioning what you’re really doing in your life. Will you take the challenge to fall down and get back up and fall down and get back up on your own path of less?

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stephadams
Nov 08, 2018

This book is actually quite depressing, mostly centering around the author's alcoholism. The personal crisis that's hinted at...isn't terribly traumatic (not that I'd hoped it'd be). There's really very little in this about the challenge or adventure of spending less, and is mostly a downer.

d
Dlbrownlow
Oct 22, 2018

I was hopeful for this book. It fell on my radar due to various recommendations from the FIRE community and the Minimalist community. However, this book fell way short of my expectations. It felt like the rambling of a woman who struggled with issues and then found that how she was living her life wasn't how she wanted to live. So she changed. It honestly not that great.

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ultimatebrenda
Oct 02, 2018

I don't understand how this even got published. Terrible. Unhelpful. Uninspiring. A huge yawn. She goes on and on about her life. I feel she simply made common foolish mistakes as a young woman: hardly worth writing about.

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Pansy
Jul 09, 2018

Quite autobiographical, and not so interesting or inspiring although I liked the comparison of clutter to debt, once they are out of control they are hard to reign in. Beyond being motivated by spending less and decluttering there is no greater discussion regarding the implications of consumerism and environmental impact of discarding belongings, which is disappointing. It is also too bad she wasn't motivated by not wasting time shopping. She spends ooodles of time buying the perfect sweatshirt because she can only buy one. Even window shopping can be a massive time waster.

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kjputch
Oct 23, 2019

kjputch thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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ultimatebrenda
Oct 02, 2018

ultimatebrenda thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and under

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