The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

As those of you who follow this blog know, I love the start of a new year. The hope it brings for change and the chance to move my life further in the direction I want it to go. But I have to remind myself that I can make a change at any time.

In The Year of Less, Cait Flanders takes us through her yearlong shopping ban which she started in July 2014 on her 29th birthday. During that time she also decluttered 70% of her belongings.

I appreciated and respected how open Cait was in the book, about her feelings, insecurities, and struggles. Reading about Cait’s resilience in the face of setbacks, could help you believe that change is possible. The Year of Less is an easy read. I found myself having to ration it, a few chapters a night because it had the compulsive readability of a page-turning thriller. If you are time-poor and too tired at the end of a long day to read, this book is perfect for you. It’s like checking in with a friend.

I read this book when it first came out earlier this year but as I’m writing this post and flicking through the pages of the book I’m eager to read it again. I bought the hardcover edition–a slim volume with thick pages. There was something about holding this book in my hands which reinforced the ideas contained within. It made me want to choose my purchases with more care and have all of my possessions be as special and purposeful as this book.

There is plenty to inspire you in Cait’s book but not everyone (myself included) is ready for sweeping change. Sometimes you just need a reset or a kickstart. So I have decided to undertake a shopping ban, for the month of June. I am allowed to buy consumable groceries but no new things. The main items for me to resist will be books and clothing. With my favourite retailers I always have a few wishlist items, and when there’s a sale I’m always tempted to get them. I find this type of shopping the hardest to control because I reason with myself that it’s not entirely impulsive. But in June there will be none of that.

I have tried this sort of thing before with varying degrees of success. I want to take this attempt seriously but also focus on awareness rather than deprivation. I will ask myself what is behind my need to buy this thing–am I reacting to an emotion? If I wait a day will the desire be as intense? I will let you know how it goes in my next post.

Remember, whether it’s shopping, your self-esteem, or your purpose–every day, every hour, every choice, is a chance to make a change.

xx Michelle

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