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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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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

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  6,808 Ratings  ·  828 Reviews

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
Hardcover, 189 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Hay House, Inc.
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Melissa I didn't get much out of this book. I have already 'Marie Kondo'd' my home fairly well, and was hoping for some good hints on incorporating additional…moreI didn't get much out of this book. I have already 'Marie Kondo'd' my home fairly well, and was hoping for some good hints on incorporating additional good habits into my spending/purchasing to keep unnecessary items out of my home. While it was an easy read, good flow to the chapters, I felt like her process was her next addiction. She is a recovering alcoholic and it's like she replaced drinking with saving money and denying herself another thing she was doing too much of in her life - shopping. It just didn't seem like a healthy cycle.(less)

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Jan 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
The title leads one to believe that this is a book about living with less. It is, however, a memoir about a twenty-something who struggles with overindulging in a variety of areas in her life. We hear about her alcoholism, her weight loss journey, her career moves, her romantic relationships, and her family. The information about the shopping ban is minimal. There are 8 pages at the end which outline some practical steps to declutter and live with less.

Unfortunately, the title is misleading. I w
Non-fiction challenge

This was an interesting memoir about Cait Flander's year of less. For one year, Cait got rid of a lot of things she didn't wear, use, or want (over 50% of her belongings) and quit spending money. Not completely, she still ate out occasionally, traveled some, and bought toiletries and things on an approved list, but no more mindless shopping for clothes, daily lattes, and other things she didn't need.

I find this topic fascinating. I have so much stuff, sometimes I just want
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, memoirs
I got this audio on Hoopla and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Cait Flanders delivers more of a memoir than a how-to guide and the result is a very honest look at some self-assigned lifestyle changes that brought about deep introspection, which led to healing, self-acceptance and deliberate decision making. 3.5 stars
Feb 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was awful. You can start by not spending money on this book. 99 percent of it is self indulgent millennial whining.
I picked it up because I had read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and while parts of that book were kooky, it did help me declutter my house and think about what I wanted to keep. So I thought this book might help me tackle the front end of the problem. How do I learn to buy less stuff in the first place, such that I have less crud to tidy. For me it was less about savin
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: wanting to declutter *and* handle money better
This is not just a 'unclutter your stuff' kind of a book, but also about saving money and getting only things that matter, not just what you think others expect, or what you want to be in your 'ideal self' future. Yeah, it's a 'one-year of __' (doing something, living in another place/country etc.) book, but it's a good one of that kind, and you can trust that all information you can gather to apply on yourself will be there at the end of the book, and you don't have to pick anything as you read ...more
Jenny (adultishbooks)
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been a big fan of Cait Flanders for over two years now. Her story of debt repayment and subsequent shopping ban inspired me to pay off my own debt between 2015-2016. This book was the most anticipated release for 2017 for me. I rarely buy books anymore but I pre-ordered the Kindle version since I wanted to support Cait and give back a snippet of what she’s given me.

I am very familiar with the ins and outs of Cait’s shopping ban and I was worried that this book was be repetitive to her blo
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concept... a whole year of not buying unnecessary items and clearing your home so it's not cluttered with the things you don't use regularly. It must have had some impact on me as I cleaned the cupboard under the sink half way through reading it! It's made me think hard about all the "stuff" I buy or stockpile that is unnecessary. I don't think I could do a year of this, but it's a fascinating book. There's a lot of stuff in it about the author's own life and I'd question if it all w ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really needed to stop and take a moment before I said what I thought of this book. I listened to the audiobook (a first for me - never made it through an entire audiobook before).

I don't want to make negative comments about the author's personal life or what she went through. It's her journey. But I did not know this would be a memoir, like many readers I thought it would be more of a guide to, well, living with less.

Being that I do not have an addictive personality, though I have family membe
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
A personal memoir of a young woman’s struggle with various addictions and how she streamlined her life to find happiness.

Cain Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, repeat. After she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt her old habits took hold again. When she realize that nothing she was buying was making her happy—only making things worse—she decided to set a challenge for herself. She would not buy a
Julie Ehlers
I'd been reading Lauren Elkin's Flâneuse and was in the midst of a lengthy section about author Jean Rhys, who had a problem with alcohol and a tendency to get married a lot (although despite her chaotic life, she lived a surprisingly long time). It occurred to me that there were two basic types of self-destructive people: the ones who aren't entirely convinced that becoming less self-destructive will actually make their lives better (see, e.g., Cat Marnell), and the ones who really genuinely wa ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Didn't know this was 99% memoir and 1% how-to-minimize-and-declutter-your-life going into it. It was a super fast read but I wanted to know more about her initial process of getting rid of the majority of her belongings, which she simplified in just a few pages by basically saying she threw it all on the ground then threw it away without hesitation. The reader only gets to know one specific instance when the author almost bought something not approved on Black Friday... other than that, this who ...more
Ali Edwards
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super quick read on a topic I’m interested in - how less can mean more. This book is more memoir than how-to and I was interested in her story and all the ways in which she cake to having and wanting less. Glad I read it. It’s so much more than just a story of not shopping for a year.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars
I love reading these "do something for a period of time" memoirs. However, this one had very little focus on the actual project of spending less money. Instead, the narrative discussed the author's recovery from binge eating and drinking as well as her relationships with family, friends and ex-boyfriends. Given the synopsis for this book, I was disappointed that the narrative was not more focused on her spending habits.

Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lately, I have found myself drawn to the topic of less.

Less stuff. Spending less. Eating less crap.
The idea of less being more.

This book was very interesting to me. It first caught my attention with the word: less. And then I read the subtitle which immediately made me picture a person with no belongings, living off the land. I was way off. :)

I briefly glanced at the reviews and learned that this is a memoir, not a how-to book, so I added it. First, because I enjoy an occasional memoir and se
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: frugalism
This was a very simple book that didn’t try to go very deep into the issues of consumerism and addiction. It floated on the surface and told a beautifully written story of one woman’s attempt to be buy less, drink less, eat less and be more organized. I loved it. But at the same time, it highlighted all the things we aren’t really and truly mindful of. E.g. This big machine in which we are only a tiny cog. The death of workers’ rights, and the rise of the gig economy. The way in which our consum ...more
Denise Logeot
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a courageous and bold memoir. Cait shares honestly her experiences on a shopping ban, but it becomes an illustration of how people can be pulled into believing they are not enough. I can’t say enough good things!
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
An easy-to-read sort-of memoir about a young woman coming out of a number of years of alcoholism, overeating, and over-spending, and realizing that money and things don't buy happiness. Her point is not necessarily in writing a "how-to" book on simplifying life but more of becoming inspiration in getting to anyone wanting to get to that point. There is a short section at the end with practical advice. However, if a reader doesn't necessarily need the motivation to simplify their life and simply ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was one of the most poorly written, useless and superfluous books I’ve read in a long time. Not only is the author a whiny privileged millennial with some very first world problems, she also seems to have no credentials except for a blog and a healthy following? This woman is much too entitled and the mere fact that she wrote this book proves that no one has told her that not everyone is interested in her story and that she isn’t any more special than anyone else. I thought I could get some ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canlit
An inherently less indulgent Julie & Julia. 😉 Warning: this is NOT a self-help book! It is a memoir and should be reviewed as such. I had to check how Cait Flanders categorized her book after the first few chapters and was pleased to confirm that she was in fact writing a memoir. (Although she does include a perfect little “how to” at the end of her journey in the epilogue.)

I cringed when she started to say that she was a blogger – I have had a couple bad reads from bloggers-turned-book auth
Marcia Unrau
Feb 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
I never review books. I simply read then, rate them and move on. This book was so misleading that I found myself very upset and disappointed so I am writing a review to let others know before they purchase. **uncertain if there should be a spoiler alert as I don't review. I do not believe I gave any spoilers, but read with caution**

I was excited to come across this book and pre-ordered it based on the title and description. I figured it would be a great read to hear about how life would be like
Apr 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tedious and banal - especially if you are older than your early 20s. I was hoping for interesting anecdotes, practical strategies, or at least straight up weirdness, but nothing like that here. The most thought provoking part of the book was when she suddenly rewrote the rules of her strict spending ban to allow the purchase of supplies to make homemade candles - but then she never actually bought or made homemade candles!! I was waiting to hear about the candle making for the rest of the book a ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought this was a good memoir of a year cutting back and being intentional. It’s the process I’m going through currently (month 4) so I concur with the lessons learned and the process chosen. That said I listened to this on audio and there were more than a few times I felt like the author wrote 2 nearly identical sentences back to back to make a point. So while I won’t give it 4 or 5 stars for writing, I appreciated the honesty and openness of the story shared. I’d recommend it if you are con ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Good god this book was terrible. It has nothing to do with someone attempting to live with less. It's a memoir about a young woman dealing with intensive addiction issues. I found myself repeating over and over "You need professional help right now. Please, please go to therapy. You will feel so much better." If I wanted to read a book like this, I would have sought it out. Instead, I feel it's a bit (well more than a bit) of a bait and switch.
Hákon Gunnarsson
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
At the first glance the title seems to suggest that this is either a self help book, or a memoir. I think some who have reviewed it here were looking for a self help book, but it is actually a memoir with a tiny amount of self help ideas.

As a memoir I thought it was interesting. It is about a young woman, Cait Flanders, that is dealing with her over consumption. I think we can call it that, but perhaps it is even more about finding what is important in life. Is all this stuff around us really t
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm going to be a bit biased toward this book because I've been a huge fan of the author forever (and have followed her blog for years and years), but I loved getting this in-depth perspective of a particularly life-changing year for her. Sure, I followed her shopping ban on her blog and remembered her mentioning several of the other things she was working on throughout that year, but to see it all in perspective and get a lot of the background on it made me admire her tenacity and her resilienc ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was so well written, I felt she and I were talking and she was baring her soul. She does not make any excuses for her behavior (I still am shocked she drank her first drink at TWELVE!) and has come to realize if she had not gone through everything she would not have morphed into the beautiful soul she is now. This was a good read.
Olivia (Liv's Library)
Jul 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Why am I constantly picking up books that look so helpful, only to find out they’re a memoir? I came here looking for tips, and got an earful of childhood memories and sob stories. Very misleading. I’m not in any way trying to diminish what she has been through, but this book was ROUGH let me tell you. Cait is a blogger with a large follower, but that’s about it?

Basically she stopped spending money altogether and got rid of 50% of her belongings. Whoop-de-doo. When I found out there is a helpfu
❀ Susan G
As I strive to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I listened to 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. It is honest, straight forward and I give kudos to Cait Flanders who not only shared her shopping habits but bravely wrote about her struggles with alcoholism, a brief but destructive meeting with her birth father and the painful divorce of her parents.

After successfully paying off $30000 in debt,
Mar 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2018
This isn't the minimalism, living with less book it proclaims to be. It's mostly a memoir about a 20-something year old who deals with alcoholism, binge eating, and a shopping addiction. And it's not very interesting, either. I skimmed over her details about that and her parent's divorce, it was just your average person's inability to cope with things. It would have been more interesting if she dove into why she felt she was driven to do these things. She kind of gave some surface level reasons, ...more
Spencer Lebel
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
A disappointing read with a misleading title and description. The “book” is essentially 12 seperate blog posts stitched together into a personal timeline diary of Cait Flander’s life. And it’s not even a well-written diary at that. There are several repeat sentences and you will see content from chapter one come up again in chapter seven, nine, twelve and essentially the entire remainder of the book. The process of living a “year of less” should have been published as an infographic on Flander’s ...more
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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 in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Vogue,, and more. Her first book, The Year of Less, is a self-help memoir and a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
More about Cait Flanders
“More was never the answer. The answer, it turned out, was always less.” 4 likes
“I didn’t know how many habits I had that centered on drinking take-out coffee until I wasn’t allowed to buy it. Each time I craved it, I had to stand in the moment, pay attention to what had triggered the craving, and change my reaction.” 3 likes
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