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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 | Cait Flanders
46 posts | 74 read | 66 to read
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.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.
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Sills
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Quote: "One of the greatest lessons I learned during these years is that whenever you're thinking of binging, it's usually because some part of you or your life feels like it's lacking- and nothing you eat, drink, or but can fix it."

catiewithac I probably should read this. I've been super bad this year probably buying 2 books a week! 1w
Sills @catiewithac I hear you-I'm a book hoarder🤪 1w
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bookseller_cate
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Pickpick

As I‘m looking to start a massive declutter and/or a shopping ban for a few months. I really enjoyed hearing Cait‘s experiences doing the same. She makes the idea sound daunting but doable. #audiobook

LapReader I‘m doing a massive declutter as part of the #BookFitnessChallenge I am going well so far. 1mo
bookseller_cate @LapReader Glad to hear it‘s going well for you. I hope to start soon. Luckily, I volunteer at a charity shop once a week so I have a place to bring things that are still useful to others. 😊 1mo
39 likes2 comments
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Sills
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If you are looking for inspiration to create a new mindset about spending less, shopping less, adopting a healthier lifestyle with family, friends and relationships- then check this out for a quick summer read. You can also follow this young woman's blog🙂

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heidisreads
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this is what I want for SUMMER

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biblio.curator
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Pickpick

Whilst this book was not what I was expecting - less full of tips and more of a general memoir of the year of less - I still found it enjoyable to read, on the whole. Picked up a few new thoughts too about the necessity of stuff and making the most of what you already have!

16 likes3 comments
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biblio.curator
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My next read surrounding themes of low impact living, sustainability and finding contentment 🌿

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heidisreads
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my weekend read

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feminismandyoga
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Pickpick

I love books like this. It's good to see how much more you can do with less. It's not my favorite exercise while I practice it, but there are definite benefits.

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Kelican17
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed listening to this book. A lot of lightbulbs went off as I noticed similarities between the author and my thought processes and behaviors. The book is making me reconsider the way i live and think!

Wife Another book we disagree on🙄. What is it with us? 3mo
Kelican17 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
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AshleyC816
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Pickpick

I really like the idea of downsizing, the older I get the less stuff I need. The author spent a year not buying new things other than groceries and toiletries. It was interesting to follow her journey.

mreads ❤🐕❤ 3mo
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ErinC
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️. This is a good, pretty quick read. I liked hearing more about her why than her how. Giving up shopping is something I know I should do and maybe I‘ll try to implement some of these things in my own life. Almost more of a memoir than a how-to though.

Zelma I agree this was a memoir rather than a how-to book. The marketing or packaging does a disservice to what I thought was an excellent story. I loved this one. 6mo
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kstadt929
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Pickpick

This is one of my new favorite non-fiction reads! (And I don‘t normally choose non-fiction!) Cait decided to put a shopping ban in place for one year. There were certain rules in place like she was able to buy groceries/replace items she used up, but she wasn‘t allowed to impulse buy clothes, candles, etc. She sorted through her belongings and got rid of things she didn‘t use or love. It inspired me to want to do an early “spring cleaning” soon!

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kstadt929
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I like this ❤️

Coffeedaily I read this about a year ago and I think it really helped me save a bucket of money. I took the challenge to not buy anything for 2 months (except unprocessed food and gas). My purchase thought pattern is completely different now. Want vs. need is not depriving yourself but freeing yourself from future clutter, bills and care taking of stuff you probably don‘t want in the first place. 6mo
kstadt929 @Coffeedaily I‘m really liking it so far! It sure makes you think about what you are buying and why. It makes me want to go through and fill bags to donate with stuff I don‘t use 6mo
Coffeedaily I‘ve gotten rid of so much stuff over the past two years. I‘m experimenting with the capsule wardrobe now for work clothes. So far I‘m finding it so much easier to get ready when everything fits and coordinates. Enjoy! 6mo
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kstadt929
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This really speaks to me. Eventually I will get to all of them though!!! 😬

thebluestocking I just read this one too. I‘m okay with book buying, but I thought she had a lot of salient points about spending money on stuff we don‘t need. 6mo
31 likes1 comment
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kstadt929
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I don‘t read a lot of non-fiction, but this one caught my eye. And of course it is from the library, not bought from a store 😋 Starting now!

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thebluestocking
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this audio book. As I have mentioned before, I read books about minimalism often and therefore find some of them to be repetitive. This was not. Flanders combines decluttering with reducing consumerism in a brilliant way that made me reconsider why I buy and keep so much stuff.

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Meganbub
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Pickpick

This was everything I needed right now

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Redjewel_7734
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Pickpick

This book about a yearlong shopping is surprisingly readable. Of course, Cait goes way beyond the shopping ban, she lets you into the good, bad, & ugly of her life. As I am getting ready to start my own version of a ban to become a more mindful consumer, I really appreciate how she shares her struggles, the ups & downs, & why it was so important for her & how it helped her. It reinforces many of my own thoughts & gives me hope for my own success.

Tamra Growing children make this a challenge. I do thrift shop and that helps. 7mo
TheWordJar I‘m listening to this right now! I‘m enjoying it, as I did The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It certainly is inspirational, but I have to agree with @Tamra that it certainly seems more daunting when I take my family into consideration. Baby steps, I guess! 7mo
Redjewel_7734 @Tamra 100%. My kids are grown, so that def makes it easier to make some of these changes. Though I do wish I‘d done better at teaching them to mindful consumers as well. 7mo
Redjewel_7734 @TheWordJar one of the things I like about Cait‘s book is she never says she thinks everyone should do this or that they should do it like she did. She always stresses that this is what worked for her & maybe it can be starting point for others to customize to their situation. I appreciated that a lot because so many of these type of books present themselves as the only way of doing it right. 7mo
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Sherri
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Well. This is a new personal record. Ironically, book 100 was The Year of Less.

Graciouswarriorprincess Congratulations!! 7mo
sprainedbrain 😂 Congratulations 🎉 7mo
hes7 Yay! 🎉 7mo
18 likes4 comments
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jenn0889
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"One lesson I‘ve learned countless times over the years is that whenever you let go of something negative in your life, you make room for something positive."

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lisakoby
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Pickpick

A memoir rather than a self-help book. I admit I‘m not a fan of author narrated books, and this is no exception. She‘s privileged (most of us are) and seems young to me (I‘m middle aged) but despite the generation gap and some differences on values she has an iron will and her constant efforts for excellence made this a really good read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

#memoir #nonfiction

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Eggs
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#shoptilyoudrop #fallintoreading @vkois88 @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks This is where my mind is hovering now for reasons spiritual, economic, practical, and simple. A lifetime of accumulation in its many forms has overwhelmed me. If we remain grateful for what we have now, contentment and serenity are accessible and to me, preferable. To each his own. Enjoy your shopping today if that's where you'll be 💖❤️😊💙💛

jenniferajanes I‘m right there with you! I‘m at my mom‘s house this weekend, enjoying the fellowship and some reading time! 8mo
GlassAsDiamonds Me too - eyeing off the “stuff” with an eye to a pre-holiday purge. 😊😊😊 8mo
Julsmarshall We are doing less this year too but I don‘t usually shop today. I prefer to decorate, spend time with family, read, bake, and listen to Christmas music. It‘s the way I like to usher in the season. Blessings to all, no matter how you celebrate! 8mo
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I agree ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 8mo
CouronneDhiver Good for you! I‘m celebrating contentment today too. 8mo
Eggs @jenniferajanes @GlassAsDiamonds @Julsmarshall @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @CouronneDhiver Thank you for all your comments and inspiration❣️ Hoping you all are having a lovely thanksgiving weekend 8mo
vkois88 ❤❤❤ 8mo
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Alicia
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Pickpick

I‘ve read a lot of self help, memoir, minimalist, etc. books but for some reason this one really stuck with me. I hate admitting it but I have an unhealthy relationship with shopping, much like the author of this book. I‘ve recently realized that I have to drastically change my spending habits before it‘s too late and this book helped me think about some of the “why” that goes into my spending. I also loved hearing her narrate it!

JanuarieTimewalker13 I really enjoyed it too and it was a perfect complement to my debt free journey with Dave Ramsey. I no longer want much. I just want simplicity bc there‘s such beauty in it. 10mo
mdhughes72 Do books count? 10mo
Eggs Loved this 📚 10mo
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Alicia @JanuarieTimewalker13 Dave Ramsey is so tough! But I‘ve read some of books and found them helpful! 10mo
Alicia @mdhughes72 sadly they did! She thought she had too many at 100, she‘d be horrified at my library!! 10mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 He‘s def tough, but that‘s what I needed. 2 must see videos: You Control You and How Cash Changes The Way You Look At Money. 10mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 It‘s funny bc I think this is predominantly an American thing...this debt culture and FICO obsessed culture. I‘m reading a book by an English author and I noticed the character, Harold Fry, paid his hotel room with a debit card, had an American author written the book, I think he/she would have used credit card. I‘m noticing a lot now. 10mo
Avanders 🤔 but my relationship with books is so healthy! There's even a Japanese word for it! #Tsundoku 😬 (edited) 10mo
Alicia @JanuarieTimewalker13 thanks for the recs! I agree too. Such an emphasis on buying more “things” in our culture. Including things you can‘t afford! 10mo
Alicia @Avanders hahaha that is true! 🤔🤔 I don‘t think I‘ll ever be minimalist about my books, but I‘m OK with that. They are like decorations too, right? 10mo
Avanders @Alicia definitely! They're decorations, entertainment, talking pieces, and friends. 😁😘 10mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 With all that being said, I have yet to actually count how many books I have. What I‘ve been doing is passing on the ones I‘ve enjoyed, but won‘t read again.I‘ve put the brakes on buying, but I‘m not averse to buying a few a year, I just need to read more from my own inventory, first. Maybe I‘ll say, if I read and pass on 10, I‘m allowed 2. Or something like that. Lol 10mo
Alicia @Avanders totally!!! ❤️📚😁 10mo
Alicia @JanuarieTimewalker13 good for you! I am trying to do the same thing. I only keep books I really loved that are signed. And also trying not to buy anymore this year 🙅🏽‍♀️ I tried the “read 5, buy 1” but always buy more than one... 10mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 Yes, especially if you buy on Book Outlet. I play a game and fill up my cart and then empty it. I fantasy shop on BO lol. Maybe I‘ll buy a few on my birthday, I think that‘s fair. 10mo
Alicia @JanuarieTimewalker13 very fair! I love BO!! Easy to fill up the cart. Birthdays are special though! So I say do it. 😄📚🎂 10mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 I have to wait until January. Lol. That‘s ok😀 10mo
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BibliophileLibrarian
Pickpick

Inspiring. Insightful. Real.

Jess7 Welcome to Litsy! 📚📖🤗 10mo
julesG Welcome to Litsy! 10mo
a.bookish.byrd Welcome! 10mo
Lel2403 Welcome to Litsy 10mo
CarolynM Welcome to Litsy 🌼 10mo
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SkeletonKey
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Pickpick

For clarity, I have to say that this was a MEMOIR and not a guide on how to live this way. There‘s a section at the end on that topic, but this is mostly life stories and personal accounts.

It was interesting listening to someone with a very addictive personality deconstruct and redirect those habits.

#nonfiction #memoir

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SkeletonKey
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I got to meet my niece today!!! She‘s nearly 20 hours old and super tiny in my arms.

While driving to the hospital I listened to this and nearly finished it. I have a lot of mixed feelings about minimalists but it‘s a lot more inspiring than I thought it would be and has even got me thinking about a shopping ban.

#babies #nonfiction #audiobook #simpleliving

Lauram Congratulations on your niece. 10mo
Soubhiville Yay, congratulations! There‘s no other feeling like holding a newborn! 10mo
Jilly6183 Congrats! Being an auntie is awesome! 10mo
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Hoopiefoot
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Pickpick

Listened to this as I started the process of unpacking our new house. It made the time fly and also left me wanting to chuck the majority of things we just moved.

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BibliophileLibrarian
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I decided to try a Memoir Challenge so my first memoir is The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. I‘m enjoying Labor Day Weekend at the lake with some friends and some good books. I‘m about halfway through the book. So far, I‘m quite inspired by it.

CoffeeNBooks Beautiful reading spot! 11mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 👋🏻🤗🌸 11mo
See All 8 Comments
rather_be_reading welcome to litsy!! 📚🎉📚 @LitsyWelcomeWagon 10mo
LitsyWelcomeWagon Welcome to Litsy! Hope these #Litsytips by @RaimeyGallant http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU are helpful. There‘s so many fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! Check out @LitsyHappenings for details. #LitsyWelcomeWagon 10mo
RaimeyGallant Welcome! 10mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 10mo
Wife Welcome to Litsy!🌹 10mo
22 likes8 comments
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neet_reads
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#Space #AugustIsATrip
Lately I‘ve been borrowing books from the library about minimalism, decluttering, spending less & making space in your life for things other than things. This is my reading for this weekend. Earlier in the week I read ‘The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning‘ & went through old letters, etc. to see what I still really wanted to keep

Leftcoastzen I am sorting old paper now.It‘s hard .read one more time and let go or keep. Got to get rid of some. 11mo
neet_reads @Leftcoastzen So hard to do! A lot I threw away though because I realised I hadn‘t read them for 10-20 years and was only reading them again now to declutter 11mo
BibliophileLibrarian Now that I am reading The Year of Less, I‘m inspired to sell purses and handbags that I rarely use. My fiancé and I are moving into an apartment so I‘m trying to purge unnecessary items to make space for his things. 11mo
29 likes3 comments
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JanuarieTimewalker13
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Pickpick

Quick, Enjoyable read. “Advertisements and marketing campaigns had conditioned me to believe everything was now or never. It never occurred to me to wait until I actually needed something. The truth, I was learning, was that we couldn‘t actually discover what we needed until we lived without it.”

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BlueStockingReviews
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Pickpick

Could you ban yourself from shopping for a year, and get rid of seventy percent of your belongings? Would you do it if you knew it would make you happy and save you money? https://www.bluestockingreviews.com/blog/the-year-of-less

DGRachel Nope. Could not do it. I can‘t even do a book buying ban for a month. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 12mo
JanuarieTimewalker13 I think I could. Oops, edit...pretty sure the shopping wouldn‘t be awful...but getting rid of 70% of my things would be a problem. (edited) 12mo
RebL I could do one or the other, but probably not both. I like your review. Will you be curbing your retail therapy? 12mo
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rubyslippersreads Nope. It might save me money, but I don‘t think it would make me happy. (Especially giving up buying books! 😄) 12mo
BlueStockingReviews @DGRachel I know! Me either! 12mo
BlueStockingReviews @rubyslippersreads me either! I don‘t think I could even do it for a month! 12mo
BlueStockingReviews @RebL Curbing maybe. Not banning! But more than anything I will be cleaning out closets! 12mo
DGRachel @rubyslippersreads Exactly! Being surrounded by books makes me happy. I‘ve done my fair share of culls when moving and they were painful and I miss some of those books now. 😭 12mo
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Ashley_Nicoletto
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Pickpick

After finishing this book I'm completely hooked on this concept and I believe I'm going to attempt my own year of less.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes. The no buying books or take out coffee alone should save me about a gazillion dollars.

Flaneurette I‘ve been interested in this book too! Thanks for the review 12mo
2BR02B This is an audible daily deal today, so I picked it up. Looking forward to reading it! 12mo
MaGoose Will check this one out and get it. Or maybe not if I'm going to be doing with less. 12mo
MaGoose @Flaneurette @2BR02B @Ashley_Nicoletto You all may also want to try The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. 12mo
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Wife
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Panpan

I have to say that I don‘t think I‘ve read a more tedious snooze in a long time. I thought this would be inspiring and fun. I‘m interested being more frugal and consuming less. I‘m not a “shopper”, but could stand to pare down purchases to save $. The author basically gave a monthly synopsis of her year, and mentions that she is still on a “shopping ban”. She does an explanation of how to do it at the end, but it was too late. No ⭐️s from me.

HOTPock3tt 🤣 12mo
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Joy4Lit
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Mehso-so

This book reads more like an autobiography than a how-to, so I wasn‘t expecting the format. But, it was a nice surprise. Cait is a wonderful writer and has unique way of showing how to help us —through her experiences— in our future lives of less ... without having to bullet point it all. I was a bit depressed though with her baggage — and yet aren‘t we all going through stuff? This “baggage” makes her relatable. I get it. I recommend reading it.

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annalibris
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Pickpick

This is another book that just seemed to leap from the shelf into my hands one morning. It‘s a quick read, well told by an author who had more going on in her life than she expected to, but never wallows in self-pity. It‘s also inspirational without being heavy-handed or ridden with guilt trips.

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Jen2
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this!

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Zelma
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Pickpick

This is one of those books I needed and read at just the right time. It has a lot of negative reviews from people expecting a step-by-step self-help book like Marie Kondo‘s; I wish it was marketed as a memoir so it was more transparent to readers. This is an unflinchingly honest memoir about a woman discovering herself and her values after deciding to stop shopping for a year. But it‘s truly about addiction, grief, self-doubt, and mindfulness.

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Eggs
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Pickpick

"Advertising had conditioned me to believe everything was 'now or never'. It never occurred to me to wait until I actually needed something. The truth, I was learning, was that we couldn't actually discover what we needed until we lived without it."

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SusanLee
Pickpick

Of acknowledging own weaknesses, overcoming it and live with mindfulness

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BridgetteM
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Found this one on sale today. She bought only consumables for a year. What about things like haircuts and root canals? Did she cancel her cell phone service, internet, and cable? I guess I‘ll find out when I read it!

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CherryPie
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Mehso-so

More memoir than guide. While the highlighted text is an anti-shopping tool, I'll apply it to the book. If you bought it for the person you want to be (organized and frugal), you might be disappointed.

Best tip: online purchases can be canceled before shipping so cancel them!

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CherryPie
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I've been on a shopping diet lately. Library ebook loans are a blessing. #currentread

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I.readalot
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Pickpick

Great memoir on the author's journey toward being a more mindful consumer. Helpful step by step guide is also included. And she is Canadian! 🙂
#buyless #minimalism #consumeless #lessismore #declutter #memoirs

Bry I‘m already not much of a shopper but I‘m looking forward to reading this to help re-affirm my desire to consume less. 1y
I.readalot @Bry That's great. I hope you like the book. My parents were big shoppers and never got rid of anything. I hated it and luckily am not the same. 1y
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kerry
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The author talks about decluttering her bookshelf and she has 95 books and only kept 54 (and then cleared all but 6 of her 36 pens...). I can't decide if I should laugh or cry.

emilyhaldi I‘m not down with that life 🙅🏻‍♀️ 1y
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Blaire
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Pickpick

A good background audiobook. A 20-something woman finding herself in career, identity, and values. She gives up shopping for a year as part of a self-discovery journey which included paying off debt and giving up alcohol. not too much detail about the actual giving up of stuff and no great insights, but I‘m a sucker for an affirming story - esp one that affirms my choices of living in a small town and making less to live my values.

JoScho Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I have recently decided we are going to do something similar in the next two years. I have slowly started selling stuff and we plan on leaving the city for the country. This book sounds perfect for me right now. 🙏🏻 (edited) 1y
Blaire @JoScho I hope you enjoy it. It‘s always nice to hear from someone who is on the other side of a journey that you are starting. It‘s available on hoopla if you like audiobooks. 1y
JoScho Yeah because it is a very scary journey! I will certainly check it out. 1y
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KKimber
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Pickpick

Frank, honest, and easy to read. I stumbled across Cait Flanders‘ blog several months ago, and really enjoyed her writing style. Her book talks about her one-year spending ban, and all the reasons behind why she did it.

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