A millennial blogger shares her story of radically simplifying—and redefining—what it means to have, and be, “enough” in a memoir that will help readers overcome their own tendencies to excess and become more mindful consumers of everything.
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, petrol 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.
"If you've ever felt there must be more to life than consumerism and its vicious cycle, you'll find inspiration to break free in The Year of Less. Cait's highly readable and personal story is encouraging, challenging, and unbelievably helpful."
-- Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less
"Cait Flanders is a brave woman. As I read, I cried. But my heart also brimmed with joy. For anyone who doesn't think they can, Cait's story shows that it doesn't matter where you start, only where you go from there."
-- Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of Til Debt Do Us Part and author of Debt-Free Forever
"Cait's audacious goal--a yearlong shopping ban--has sparked a deeply personal book full of lessons for all of us on finding more fulfillment and meaning in our lives (without all the stuff!). A game-changing read for anyone searching for simplicity in our consumer-focused world."
-- Rachel Jonat, author of The Joy of Doing Nothing
"The Year of Less is beautiful, vulnerable, and real. Cait's words inspired me to be braver in my writing and life, and I'm sure it will inspire you too."
-- Tammy Strobel, author of Everyday Adventures Journal and You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap)
"Minimizing belongings in my life cleared space for so much goodness to fill the space stuff once did. Cait's The Year of Less is inspiring . . . a powerful example of how transformative downsizing possessions can be, and how you can take it to the next level."
-- Katie Dalebout, author of Let It Out
"Cait comforted herself with alcohol, binge eating, and compulsive shopping, then finally said, 'Enough is enough.' This isn't another book about how to live with less, but instead a heartbreaking and then a heartwarming story that shows us if we are willing to let go of the things we think we need, we can have a life we really want."
-- Courtney Carver, author of Soulful Simplicity
"Creating meaningful change in your life takes significant time and effort, and in this book Cait shares a deeply intimate view into just how substantial that change can be. If you're looking for inspiration and practical examples of how to take steps toward a better future for yourself and the people you love, The Year of Less will give you that and so much more."
-- Anthony Ongaro, founder of breakthetwitch.com
"This book is such a gift. A gift for anyone who's ever wanted to change but has been afraid--afraid to fail, afraid of what we might discover about ourselves as we strip back the layers, and afraid of what will happen if we don't. Cait writes beautifully and honestly about the work of creating a life with less, and gives you permission to step off the ever-revolving carousel of compulsive and mindless consumption and into the goodness that lies on the other side."
-- Brooke McAlary, host of The Slow Home Podcast author of Destination Simple
"An inspiring story of how one woman overcame the obstacles of addiction--to shopping, alcohol, and food--to create a purpose-driven life. You will walk away ready to change your life and with an understanding of why embracing less will set you free."
-- Elizabeth Willard Thames, author of Meet the Frugalwoods