Title: The Year of Less
Author: Cait Flanders
Category: Compulsive Behaviour/Financial Planning
I found this book: Amazon’s ‘Customers Also Bought’ feature
If you follow my personal development blog, then you’ll know how important it is for me to challenge myself, learn, grow, and explore my mental and physical health as well as my environment. Finding books that help me to achieve these goals is essential for me.
When I saw the hook/subtitle on the front cover of The Year of Less, I knew I had to read this book. The message was this: how I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store.
I often find that non-fiction books, in particular, throw themselves in your path just when you need them. I was going through a transitional period where I wanted to wipe the slate clean in my life and have a do-over. That meant that everything in my environment grated on my nerves, and the thought of reading someone else’s journey to overcome my current problem was like receiving a message from the universe.
Cait Flanders describes herself as a former binge consumer turned mindful consumer of everything and The Year of Less documents her journey in an honest and sincere manner. This isn’t a ‘how-to’ book. It’s a deep and insightful memoir that not only takes you on an emotional journey but helps you to see where to make the necessary changes in your own life.
What I loved most about this book was the conversational tone. I felt a connection to Cait because we suffered the same self-doubts, addictions, and motivations. The first part of the book is an introduction to the author and the consumerism cycle she found herself on, it’s also brutally honest and in parts scarily familiar. She sets up the rules for her yearlong shopping ban (allowed to buy, not allowed to buy, approved items), and then launches into a monthly breakdown of how this challenge affected her emotionally, physically, and mentally. Each chapter begins with her stats – months sober/income saved/confidence she can complete this project.
Decluttering is something I blog about (and do) regularly as I find a clear home creates a clear mind. Cait sums it up perfectly from a year of less perspective.
Up until this point, the only two questions I’d been asking myself when I decluttered my belongings were Have I used this recently? and Do I plan to use this soon? If the answers were yes, I kept it. If I thought it had a purpose in my life, I kept it. My friends would ask how I’d been able to get rid of so much stuff, and the question always confused me. I literally didn’t use 56 percent of what I had once owned. Why would it be hard to get rid of it? But the stuff that remained for the ideal version of myself was different. I could now see what it was, and once you see the truth you can’t unsee it. I had to accept the fact that I was never going to be the type of person who read, wore, and did these things. But that still doesn’t mean it was easy to let go of.
If you like your books to have a more confessional feel to them, then The Year of Less is the ideal read. Although it’s written with a memoir-esq tone, I still took so much from this book that I can adopt in my own life. The author is inspiring, resilient, and honest, and shares all the data about her earnings, savings, and setbacks.
Since finishing this book, I’ve visited Cait’s blog several times and started reading her posts about mindful budgeting and taking her advice about unsubscribing from nearly everything! Wise words.
BUY your copy from a variety of sales platforms via Cait’s site HERE
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 realised that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy, 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, petrol for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her flat 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 realised 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.