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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
  • Written by: Cait Flanders
  • Narrated by: Cait Flanders
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (405 ratings)
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The Year of Less cover art

The Year of Less

Written by: Cait Flanders
Narrated by: Cait Flanders
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Publisher's Summary

In her late 20s, 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 12 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. 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.

©2018 Cait Flanders (P)2018 Tantor

What the critics say

"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)

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What listeners say about The Year of Less

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Not at all reflecting its title

I find it was just a story of her life and the « year of less » doesn’t seem to be in the center of the book. Very disappointed

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11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the Canadian contents :)

This title was on sale a while back, so I bought it, and I was pleasantly surprised that the author is from Victoria, BC, and lived in Port Moody, BC...possibly in the same high rise I now live in (there are not that many high rises in Port Moody)! The book reads like a biography, and I love that the author shared some of her weakest moments, which are very relatable...I wish I could read about what is in store for her future! The idea of living on less stuff is also one that should be more widespread in today's world...by no means is it an original idea, but koodos to the author for trying it! Overall, pretty nice and light read... I give this a 4/5 from me :)
#Audible1

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

This book is truly beautiful. An entire year narrated by the author of her experiences of living with less truly impacted my life and encouraged me and showed me that it is possible for me to do the same. Cait really sets the bar at an achievable level by not only helping you set goals but by also providing the transparency of how challenging living with less can actually be in a world where we are told to have so much. An absolute pleasure to read.

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7 people found this helpful

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So very inspiring

This book has literally stopped my habitual shopping in it’s tracks. Starting to mindfully make only necessary purchases and really ask those important questions when it comes to holding on to things.

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7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I have always been fascinated by the minimalist and simple life movements. It sounds like Cait Flanders benefitted from her year and it helped her become more who she really is. That is admirable. I was left mostly bored though and can’t quite put my finger on why. Her narration is decidedly lacklustre which likely contributed but there was so much in there abut her sobriety and her parents’ divorce and her career choices which seemed very self-indulgent. The amount of the book that was about the actual purging and shopping ban was quite minimal. Much of it came across as justification for her feelings or choices which I just didn’t get invested enough to be interested in.

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4 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

Like many of the other low reviews, I so badly wanted to like this book but it was impossible for me to enjoy. It screamed of privilege, it was repetitive, and the narrator’s tone was monotonous and unconvincing. Their inflection while reading this book could have the listener believing that it was the first time ever seeing the words when, in fact, the narrator is the author herself.

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2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Inspiring

loved her story, was slow in places, solutions felt like it was repetative. Overall m inspired to go on a shopping ban now, thank-you!

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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inspiring when you had that in mind for a while

The story is great but I found it a bit long at the end. definately motivating thoug

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable and insightful

Really enjoyed listening to this book. Provided an opportunity for self assessment as Cait tells her story, examines her behaviours and describes her journey. Thank you Cait for sharing your experiences so openly and frankly.

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I wanted to like it..

I was hoping that this book would inspire a regular person but unless you have at least $2000 in disposable income you will have NOTHING to relate to.

I was so disappointment - I don’t think that this author realizes that she was just simply spoiled and had to much to start with.

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  • Kate Terrell
  • 2018-06-23

Twenty-something coming of age

While I initially dove into this book with the hopes of being inspired to declutter, shop less, and simplify life all together, I soon realized this was actually a memoir of reflection and discovering how to become an adult. The author Cait has a special place in my heart now, as she put into words the challenges and blind spots living in your twenties throws at you. Being a mother and 15 years her senior, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the self-consuming thoughts and focus one has at that age. So while this book may not offer resounding help for an older adult with a family (with lots of shopping needs) I know it will help me think more about saving money and rethink some absent-minded shopping habits. This would be a good read for someone setting out on their own life so they can learn how to budget and think about their (retirement) future. She made a good point: that decluttering actually helps you learn more about who you are with the decisions you make of what to keep, and also what items you buy deliberately to last. Lastly, this story can help us remember to have more empathy for others, that some people put on a good face, but may actually suffer from depression or loneliness.

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143 people found this helpful

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  • Susan Varga
  • 2018-06-09

Trite message with horrendous Narration

If anyone had any sense, they would have stopped her within the first five minutes and gotten pretty much anyone else to read this book. This was the author?! The way she was reading this sounded like she didn't care about anything she was saying, which was painful to listen to and impossible to care about as a reader. What a horrible waste of a credit. I bet the book itself would have been more compelling because the message is a valid one but the tone of the writing along with the abysmal quality of the audio narration makes me want to steer clear.

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84 people found this helpful

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  • Yigosh
  • 2018-03-23

More of a memoir than an instruction book

This book revolves much around Flanders' year and it is more of a memoir than a self-help book. Honestly, the author's life is not that interesting. I got bored of her life's details and stopped listening in the middle. I really didn't need to know Flanders' long-distance boyfriend and how it ended. This hasn't much to do with minimalism.

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39 people found this helpful

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  • Chloe
  • 2018-01-26

A Personal Story, Not A Self Hell Book

I really wanted to like this, I really did. I can relate to being a young adult looking for fulfillment in having less, but this novel was JUST the author recounting her life. At least it was 1 hour in. So already, 1/5 of the book is the author talking about her life. I understand a certain level, being that this is autobiographical, but I really didn’t see how this much was necessary. So if you are looking for tips/guidance to living a minimalistic life, you won’t find it here unless you grind through the authors blog-style-writing.

The narration by the author is serviceable, but not THAT good either. I found myself not minding after awhile though.

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36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • StylishGal
  • 2018-02-07

Finished it

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Spoiler alert!
The premise is great; however, I could have done without the family drama details. I was looking for more of a motivational story and tips for decluttering & stopping impulse shopping. I listened to this story and finally had to increase the speed because the narrator's voice was grating.

Would you be willing to try another book from Cait Flanders? Why or why not?

Not really

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Year of Less?

The details regarding her mother & step-father's divorce and her reaction to it.

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35 people found this helpful

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  • Empress Karen
  • 2018-07-27

Your Epiphany

Great Daily Deal $1.95
This is about you, if you need a good therapy session for the price of the daily deal.
If you need a list of how to, then this may not do the trick. See Goodbye Things, author Fumio Sasaki which changed my life from a daily deal.
I do use the 1.25x speed to match the author’s intent. No,author is not an Audible narrator, but in the intro she tells you she is a person who can be or was out of control. BUT she is committed to making big changes in her life e.g. losing 30 lbs in 1 yr, getting rid of $30k debts in 2 yrs.
This book is about affirmations for you via a lady who was out of control, took action, but more importantly she wrote it down on a blog, hence the overflow notes are the results of this book.
If you are a recovering shop-aholic as I am, and need a boost to get back on tract of spending less, then this book is for you.
Spending should be considered a treatable disease, just like Alcoholism. If you are frustrated, and want a quick fix, think of AA steps because very few self help books nail it in one, just don’t give up.
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28 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Theglor
  • 2018-01-21

I could not put this down

Would you listen to The Year of Less again? Why?

I loved this book. It was not what I expected it was a such a good story one we can all learn from. I loved the honesty it was refreshing. I felt so proud of this young lady and I am so happy she wrote this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Year of Less?

Her honesty made me feel bot sad at times at at other times happy for her.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was when she Tod the story of how she morned her parents divorce. It really helped me look at letting go in a different way.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The part that moved me was what an amazing best friend she had and what she would do for her.

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27 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lindsay in California
  • 2018-07-12

Wish the author's personality shown through more

I liked the theme but wish the author's personality showed through more in her narration. I recommend finding her "author talk" about the book at Google and watching that video instead.

After a few chapters in, I started listening to just the first 3 minutes and the last 3 minutes of each chapter. I didn't understand how the personal stories, which made up the bulk of each chapter, related to the theme of the book.

I also found the writing style to be repetitive. The author literally said the same sentences 2-3 times throughout each chapter. Perhaps the style makes sense in a blog format, but it didn't work for me in this book.

I will be "spending less" by returning this and getting my money back. If you're looking for something in this vein I recommend "Frugalwoods" instead of this, or checking out the author's blog.

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12 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • murphygrove
  • 2018-03-31

Not what I expected!

What would have made The Year of Less better?

To keep to the subject of purchasing and disposing of belongings instead of going on about her life.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

How she was diligent in keeping track of her purchases, budget and stopped drinking. The personal story was interesting, but that's NOT why I bought the audio.

Did Cait Flanders do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

It wasn't a matter of characters, I thought this was going to be useful information on how to organize, pitch and having a leaner life in terms of purchasing.

What character would you cut from The Year of Less?

Her entire family.

Any additional comments?

I am disappointed. The audio started out great, and then it went into her whole family, her drinking, her parents divorce (yawn).

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martha Aspinwall
  • 2018-01-30

Loved this book!

Found this book to be honest, inspiring and bittersweet. I really related to it even though I haven't struggled with all the things the author/narrator has, or have had the same life experiences. It's a very down to earth self help book in the sense that doesn't rely on cheap gimmicks and instead reads more like a memoir. Great for anyone that wants to get better with money and is prepared to celebrate the small wins and take it as Cait says: "day by day".

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6 people found this helpful