The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

In spite of the fact that we live in a culture of over-consumption, the minimalism and simple living movement has been gaining traction. Many individuals are consciously steering away from over-consumption and finding more meaning in wellness and relationships. Cait Flanders is one of those people striving for a better life. For one year, she challenged herself not to buy anything that wasn’t on her “approved shopping list” (which was mostly consumables) and also to de-clutter anything that wasn’t necessary or bringing value to her life. She documented this in her book, The Year of Less.

                However, The Year of Less dove deeper than just Cait’s shopping ban. Throughout this memoir, she discusses difficulties she’s had throughout her life; one of biggest being her alcohol addiction. She starts the memoir with over a year of sobriety and she finds a lot of similarities in her alcoholism and tendencies to shop and over consume. Both are “easy” escapes for her. As time goes on with her sobriety and shopping ban she sees even more ways she subconsciously tries to escape: one being with junk food, and even during the shopping ban she realized she was binging on television to the extreme. After she made this connection, she decided to remove it for a time so she could emotionally make it through a difficult family situation that arose. Cait realizes time and time again that she uses many different ways to escape difficult situations or changes in her life and it’s up to her to curb those tendencies in order to deal with emotions in a healthy way.

All in all, this memoir was not only an interesting look at over-consumption with regards to shopping, but a look at over-consumption in many forms. It certainly made me evaluate my own habits and make some adjustments. Any book that can do that is certainly  valuable in my eyes!

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