Tiny Navajo Reads: The Year of Less

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January 31, 2020 by TinyNavajo

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 by Cait Flanders

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*Published January 16, 2018*

the year of lessThis was…a book. It was not what I was expecting, but it had good points in it. But it was not what I was expecting, so that didn’t have quite as much impact as other books would have had of a somewhat similar nature.


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.

I will say that the premise for this book sounded like it would right up my alley about bettering myself, working on not spending a lot of money, trying to get rid of things that I don’t wear or use anymore. I was looking forward to reading it. What I got instead though was more of a memoir of Cait Flander’s one year of no spending, rather than a guide of how not to spend money as her year moved along. Granted, this is not a bad thing; in fact, this can be an interesting read, if that is what you’re looking for. I was not looking for a memoir. So, I’ll say that the book kind of tricked me, but I’m not quite mad at the book, just more mad at the title of the book.

I do wish that there had been a bit more guidance in the book itself on how to spend less and work on having less stuff in your life. It always seems that I have way too much and I have no idea how I end up getting so much. It seems like my biggest problems are t-shirts. I love t-shirts, especially graphic ones, but I can’t seem to find a time to where to them, seeing as I work full time and my “uniform” is business casual. Maybe I just need to stop wearing t-shirts…but I don’t want to do that! Oh well, I’ll figure it out eventually.

When have books tricked you with what their content? Did you continue to read them or did you put it down in favour for another book? Comment below and let me know!

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