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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 from July 2014 to June 2015, during which time she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, petrol 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.What started as a simple challenge quickly became a lifeline, however, as Cait found herself in a number of 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, for so many years. By not being able to reach for any of her usual vices, Cait changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.
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