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 by Cait Flanders

I always enjoy reading books about people decluttering and getting rid of their stuff. Then books like this usually inspire to take a look at areas in my home and life where I could declutter. I get a bit of a high when it’s time to declutter! This book has been on my TBR list for only a few months, and I saw it on display at my library and decided to read it now. And, bonus, I was surprised to find out that the author is Canadian so I can use it for the Canadian Book Challenge for this year! Yay!

“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.” (Goodreads)

I was impressed with the author keeping track of everything that she got rid of in her house, and at how little she ended up keeping, including her wardrobe. But, as the book shows us, it takes us through her entire year and her thought processes behind why she keeps certain items and why she lets go of others.

The book isn’t just about decluttering though (although that’s my favourite part about it). It’s really about her changing her spending habits to actually saving money…which seems rare in this consumerism world that we live in. It makes me stop and think about my spending habits and where I could improve on those…and why I purchase what I do. Very thought-provoking!

*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 11/13!!


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