THE YEAR OF LESS BY: CAIT FLANDERS

Slowly, very slowly, I am working my way through the backlog of books to review. So let get to it and tell you about my second book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. This book is exactly as its name implies, Cait challenges themself to getting rid of a good chunk of their possessions and have a shopping ban for 1 year.

For some people this might seem like an impossible challenge, but the way that Cait laid it out was very smart. I won’t spoil how they go about it but I think it was a good way.

I will say this book is very much about getting rid of stuff you no longer use but also Cait talks about life and how it was a similar challenge to quitting drinking and eating meat. Throughout the book they keep challenging themselves to new things and honestly it is amazing.

It was truly a walk through the year challenge that they where doing and how it helped them find what they truly wanted. Cait discovered things that truly brought joy into their life and saw things for what they were.

This book is kinda like a story/year memoir if that makes any sense. I have read a similar book, like almost the exact kind of story. Had to reduce their stuff for a year and also enjoyed it so I kinda knew what I was up for.

I enjoy reading things that are similar in my life. So this book appealed to me because of my more minimalist lifestyle. So naturally I felt inclined to read this and see how their year went and what they did. It was just a nice easy read (compared to the last book). I really didn’t have to think to hard and the concept didn’t seem impossible to me. I live a similar lifestyle so all in all it was good.

So I will say this book is a 4 star rating for me. It was good, easy read but it wasn’t a super exciting book. It is a different type of lifestyle that might intrigue others so I would definitely recommend this book.

I have 1 more book review to write up and then hopefully i will be back to a normal schedule? I have been focusing more of the current world climate so expect book review about being a better ally and anti-racism. There will also be blog posts about such things thrown in with some other stuff.

Untill next time!

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MY MINIMALIST STORY

As you can tell from the title of this blog, I am a minimalist. So what is a minimalist and why is it such a big thing right now? A minimalist is a person who owns very little. They are people who find freedom in owning less. Now, this does not mean you can only have under this many items or that you need to get rid of everything you own. Being a minimalist means that you look at everything in your life and make sure that it is useful to you or brings you joy.

photo of green leaf potted plants on window and stand
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

So how did I become a minimalist? I think we need to go back 11 years to when I was in high school. I had the amazing opportunity to go on a school trip to Italy, so my parents got me signed up on a credit card I could use while in Italy. Not a big deal, I had saved up plenty of money from working to be able to afford to go on the trip and to be able to buy stuff while abroad. Now fast forward a year, I got to go to the West Edmonton Mall for the first time since I was five years old. This was a big deal for me I was so excited. I was also in a phase of buying everything that I thought was cute. I would buy the best name brand stuff I could find. I had a shit ton of clothing and I redecorated my room quite frequently. I remember going to West Ed and every store that I went into, I purchased something. I was in heaven! I remember going back to the hotel and just admiring the amount of stuff that I had bought and playing with all the new things. All of the things that I bought were purchased on the beautiful credit card that my parents had given me. Fast forward to my university years. I now had $5000 dollars worth of debt on my credit card and was still purchasing every cute thing I saw. To fully understand how bad my spending was I need to tell you that I made $20, 000 within a 4-month span of working at a mine. I had nothing to show for it. I had literally spent it all on material possessions. I also still was swimming in my credit card debt.

Slowly I eventually did work off my credit card debt. It took a while but I did it! This did not really change how I thought about purchasing things though. I would still buy cute little things that would make me happy for about a week. Then in a month, when I would “re-organize” my room, I would discard many of the things I had purchased just a few weeks before. This was an endless cycle.  Then I started hearing about Marie Kondo’s “life-changing magic of tidying up”.

Now to be fair I never actually read the book. I just kept hearing about it and kinda got the feel of what it was about. It was about making sure everything you own brought you joy. So I did more and more research finding many different resources and stumbling upon two people called The Minimalists. I read all of their books and listened to their podcast. It finally clicked in my brain that I was spending so much money on things that really didn’t matter to me and not on things that do matter to me.

Over the past few years, I have been forming my definition of minimalism, which won’t be the same as anyone else’s, because I defined it to what I feel applies to me. I find that now after going through this process, that I am very conscious of how I spend my money (except on food, because I fucking love food). It can take me returning to a store three times to convince myself to purchase an item that I very well need.  For example, when I first moved out I knew that I wanted a blender to make smoothies and I had found one. It had everything that I wanted except it was probably 50 dollars more than what I was anticipating. I literally walked around the store thinking if I should buy this blender, I even called my partner ( who did not give a shit about what blender I bought) to see if I should get this blender. It was a solid hour later and I bought it and took it home. This blender is probably the most used appliance (aside from fridge and stove) in our kitchen.

The point of the story is because I consider myself a minimalist, I have completely changed my view on spending. I look for things that I really need and know that I will use, and then check again that I really need it and then probably again. Instead of putting money into something that will sit on a shelf in my condo, I spend that money going out for patio beers or going on a trip. Ultimately people in my life matter more to me than material things, so I want to focus my resources to make memories with the people that matter to me.