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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

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  40,639 ratings  ·  4,683 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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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  40,639 ratings  ·  4,683 reviews

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Start your review of 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
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
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
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kirsty ❤️
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of people who have given reviews of this book that seem really angry that it's not a self help book with all the answers but is in fact a memoir of one person's journey. If you read it expecting the answers you will be disappointed. If you read it as a memoir that you can pick up hints and tips from then it's great.

For me, I found that we share a few of the past issues in life and also the emotional spending and eating really resonated. I found that as I went on reading the book th
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
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
MissBecka Gee
"But there were really only two categories I could see: the stuff I used, and the stuff I wanted the ideal version of myself to use."

This is a memoir masquerading itself as a financial journey in spending less.
There was more than enough information on her recovering alcoholism, her weight loss, her parents divorce, what she ate on her travel trips, her career changes and her past relationships.
Sadly that stuff took up more than 80% of the pages.
The quote at the top was the most helpful part in
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. ...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.

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 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
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
Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin)
I wish I had known this book would be more of a memoir than an advice manual before I went into it since I had been looking for the latter. I've been decluttering for the past few weeks and I've been wanting to change my spending habits so I'm purchasing less of what eventually tends to get donated. With that being said, I did love the epilogue which included the actionable advice I was searching for. Before impulsively picking this up during a kindle sale, I hadn't known that the author is a bl ...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
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
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 authors
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
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
Rachel Aranda
2.5-3 stars

This book was a struggle for me to get into. I started with the print version but kept losing focus on what I was reading. Switching to the audiobook didn’t prove to be a solution. What ended up working best for me was reading AND listening together. The author narrates the audio version so that is always neat. I can’t say I was wowed by anything. It’s a 6 hour listen so you can get it done during a day.

Those who may get the most from this memoir are fans of the blog the author writes
#mystrangereading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This felt like a personal attack...but in the best way possible. This book brought to light so many things that I struggle with personally: consumerism, impulse buying, needless spending and just not being a mindful buyer. Her stories were relevant, raw and honest. I loved that she gives a guide on how to practice her experiment yourself, and I’m thankful I have a friend who wants to try the experiment with me.

If you feel like you sha
Another book club pick for work that I did not enjoy. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why I bounced so hard off of this memoir about the author's story of quitting her habit of over indulging in shopping, after having similar issues with alcohol and food. She also gives away most of her belongings and saves a bunch of money.

Sadly I found the book quite dull. I never felt emotionally engaged; I just didn't care. It's the kind of life story I would empathize with if the person were my friend, but as
104th book for 2019.

While I found the writing only so-so, I found Flanders story fascinating.

In what turns out to be a very frank memoir she details how over a series of years she first overcame alcohol and drug problems, then obesity and other health issues, and finally crippling financial debt—paying off 30000 dollars in CC debt in two years.

In her late twenties, despite having a good salary and now being debt free, she was frustrated being unable to save significant amounts of money. In att
If you go into this expecting a how to, you'll be disappointed. If you go in knowing it's a book about a middle class, late-20s white girl learning how to get her shit together, you'll be as pleased as I was. Because the thing is, I identify with a lot of Cait's experiences, and though I haven't had what she has had (dealing with alcoholism, for starters), I found what she dug out of this year of purging and not spending was what I needed to hear. It's okay to step out of what's expected of you ...more
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Cait Flanders is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller, THE YEAR OF LESS. Described by Vogue as “a fascinating look into a living experiment that we can all learn from,” it has been translated into 10 languages, and sold more than 190,000 copies.

Her new book, ADVENTURES IN OPTING OUT, is a field guide to opting out of expectations, changing paths, and leading a more intentional life. Powell

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