The Ditch List

Recently I have been writing about the things I have “ditched” in my minimalist lifestyle.  The list of things I have ditched includes:

  • Chemical cleaning supplies
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Wearing a bra
  • Shaving my legs
  • Makeup
  • Hair products
  • Medication/pharmaceuticals
  • The microwave oven
  • Processed food (not 100% ditched but very close)
  • Toothpaste
  • Teflon (phasing out my remaining two pots)
  • Tampons and disposable pads

My question for you all is: what have YOU ditched?  What’s easy to ditch, and what’s hard?  I have not written about all the things on this list, is there one you would like to read about?

29 thoughts on “The Ditch List

  1. rebekkastarfish says:

    Nice list, and cool idea to list the “ditches”! Lot’s of ideas on there. Sadly I haven’t ditched a lot of big things yet … it’s mostly “transitions in progress”.
    No more shampoos and bodylotions containing petrochemical substances.
    No more nailpolish on my hands (and on the feet only very seldom – prettiness vs. toxins is a tough dilemma in this point).
    No more store bought smoothies in non-deposit plastic bottles … most of the time at least, if I have a long day at university and didn’t have time to prepare a healthy snack I cave in.
    No more buying pre-packed green salat, at least not while there is still some growing on my window sill.
    No more liquid makeup … never really used it anyway, so it’s more a decision not to buy any anytime soon just because of social pressure. And trying only to use more natural make-up solutions, if any at all.
    No more buying knick-knacks for decorative purposes without really thinking first, and not without either having a really good reason to add them to our household – really really making me happy counts as a reason -, or replacing something else with them as an upgrade.
    No more buying icky deodorant containing aluminiumsalt. Using up supplies on special occasions to keep expose to a minimum, otherwise simply re-applying nice homemade powder a few times during the day.
    I’ve halfway transitioned to more organic cleaning supplies (but it never was that bad from the beginning except for two or three very special and rarely used cleaners) and try to cook a proper meal at least once a week.
    Emotional transition: trying to ditch giving in to social pressure concerning beauty, must-haves, etc.
    Wish I could ditch the medication, but I’d be a wreck in a matter of days, at least without the supplemental hormones. And I don’t know how to fight really severe headache without pain killers. How on earth do you manage without any medication? Now I’m really, really curious.

    • Caitlin says:

      I guess I will have to write about medication! That’s a great ditch list you are working on🙂 The social pressures are very very hard to ditch! I am still self-conscious about hairy legs sometimes, and I want desperately not to care. Keep ditchin’!

  2. Nicola B says:

    I can’t think of anything that I have ditched that is not on your list…(how unoriginal!!)
    So, the things on your list:

    Chemical cleaning supplies- pretty much gone- I do have Ecover washing up liquid (bought but supposedly ok, and Method lavender spray…other than that it’s vinegar etc..oh and Method laundry liquid, will be using soapnuts when liquid gone)

    Deodrant- homemade stuff- although this smarts a bit on freshly shaved skin, so on non-sweaty days I go without.

    Shampoo and conditioner- currently alternating between herbal shampoo without nasties and bicarb as shampoo, followed by vinegar rinse. So semi- ditched!

    Wearing a bra- mostly not ditched, but a non-underwired one…so bra may go totally eventually!

    Legs- still shaved! (Well, epilated)..no plans to ditch this!

    Makeup- wear this rarely, trying to find less bad products

    Hair products- never really used them anyway!

    Medication- other than the pill, I avoid these as much as possible- never been one for painkillers etc

    Microwave- not had one for years🙂

    Processed food- trying, but I slip up on this more than I’d like…pizza, you tempt me… On the plus side, I do make all our bread from scratch.

    Toothpaste- I have homemade tooth powder

    Teflon- just need Teflon free frying pan…and baking trays…

    Sanitary products- ditched!

    Oh, we did ditch a LARGE car load of crap from the spare room today…and looking at my books in a culling mood…

    I would quite like to ditch thinking mean/uncharitable thoughts about people!

    • Caitlin says:

      Ooooh a mental ditch!! I LOVE that idea. I’m in a culling mood too, but I start working and then lose all my steam. Gotta get back on my purging wagon.

      • Nicola B says:

        That’d be interesting… I am sure the pill hormones are not doing me that much good, but not sure that I prefer any of the alternatives..

        Realised that I have also ditched the suncream this summer, in favour of wearing a hat/covering up. Only one small sunburn incident- which may well have happened if I was wearing suncream anyway, as I have always been rubbish at applying it!

      • Caitlin says:

        Medication post, including the pill, will publish on Friday!🙂

        I also switched to a natural sunscreen, and the only sunburn I got was when my friend did my back, so I’m blaming her haha.

  3. Nicola B says:

    Just to add (as if my massive comment was not enough!) that I’ve just read a post on zenhabits about giving up sitting for more than 30 mins at a time…thinking that I should try this, as ditching sitting on my bum would probably be good for me! Perhaps a challenge to try tomorrow…

  4. Eimear says:

    Ditching processed foods is a major one for me that I am still struggling quite a bit with. I’m not much of a cook, and it’s always so much easier just to go to the press for a bowl of cereal – a habit I truly want to break. I’d like to give paleo a try but I love pasta way too much so I may have to make allowances for that as a special treat some time. Also cheese.

    I got rid of shop bought deodorant ages ago. Tried a powder first of all but didn’t smell quite fresh. Now I use a recipe of coconut oil, cornflour, tea tree and eucalyptus oil and we’re golden! I really love it. Even after an intense workout I still smell fairly decent.

    Unfortunately the shampoo and conditioner haven’t worked for me. I tried baking soda and then Dr.Bronners over about 6 months together and both left my hair feeling disgusting so I gave up and went back to Alberto Balsam – the most important thing to me about beauty products is that they don’t test on animals so I don’t feel too bad about this. Still on conventional toothpaste though – trying to find something good for sensitivity.

    And finally I also only recently gave up on disposable sanitary pads which I commented about in your previous post. I’m hoping that works out well for me.

    I’d be interested to see how you’re coping without medication and the microwave. I only take medication when absolutely necessary but I will take antibiotics if I have an infection. The microwave is a big thing in our house, used quite regularly so I’d like to see how you work around that.🙂

    • Caitlin says:

      I will write more about the microwave for sure, and medication seems to be a very popular one people want to hear more about. I would take medication if necessary but I always treat naturally first. I don’t like defaulting to taking a pill if it’s something I can handle with a natural alternative. I believe that doctors have a place in my self-care, but they are way down the list for me. When medicine is an industry I question it, because I have doubts about whether I am more important to them than their bottom line.

      • Eimear says:

        Unfortunately I don’t think things like that are even available in Ireland, and I’m not a cook, so I’d probably burn the house down if I even attempted to try making it! It’s on the list for someday🙂

  5. livingsimplyfree says:

    I have given up a lot of things over the years, including the fridge🙂 but I can’t seem to find a substitute for my deodorant (Tom’s of Maine) that works for me. I would love to see you write a post on the microwave. They are in nearly every household around here, very few people believe the dangers they pose or the health risks involved. I only know one other person who understands and won’t use them. Pretty sad.

  6. Sara says:

    Your ‘ditch’ posts have been an interesting read, Caitlin.🙂 I’ve always considered
    myself a ‘simple’ girl when it comes to using various products etc., but your list is pretty impressive!

    My own ditch list includes: tampons (I’ve never used sanitary pads, yuck), the pill, toxic cleaning products, hair products (I’ve never used any, other than shampoo and conditioner, and I nowadays use a shampoo bar and apple vinegar), teflon and I’ve never had a microwave. But, I occasionally use deodorant, pain medication, I shave my legs in the summer (and my armpits even in the winter), I use natural toothpaste and some makeup, and I mostly wear a bra. And I do eat some processed foods. I guess I’ve always been one of those who like the golden middle path or something like that and I tend to feel better when I don’t make too many absolute rules for myself. Still, I think it’s important to think about these things when it comes to our impact on the environment and our own – and other living beings’ – health and well-being.

    • Caitlin says:

      Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to see others who have ditched things, gives a sense of community even if it’s on the internet🙂 I am thinking about trying a shampoo bar instead of the honey I am currently using. Does it seem to work well?

      • Sara says:

        I like the idea of community; the ones online can be as important as those offline.🙂 Actually, I don’t know that many simplifiers or minimalists offline…

        In my opinion shampoo bars can be great if they’re without chemicals. How does honey work for you? I’ve never tried that and don’t remember reading about it here or elsewhere.

      • Caitlin says:

        I really like it. I should write about it to update on my no-poo adventure. I was using a mix of raw honey + warm water as a shampoo, but now I just grab some honey, work it into my scalp, and rinse. Hair has great volume and moisture. I like it better than the baking soda!

  7. Drop that Debt says:

    Wow! That’s awesome. I have not ditched like, any of those things but I have cut back and leaned toward more natural products. ie coconut oil in my hair. I will need to try the natural deodorant! I’ve used crystal deodorant before, is that as healthy as people claim?

    • Caitlin says:

      It’s got aluminum salts so many are leery of it. I use lime or lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar in water. TMI WARNING – I had some weird yeast rash or something on my armpits and the vinegar took care of it really quick and easy, and as a bonus I discovered it worked as deodorant!

  8. Leah says:

    The Ditch List. Mine is long.
    I ditched:
    Contraceptives – That was 18 years ago, and never looked back. Natural Birth Control has never let me down, so I think I can say it works. You just have to be really diligent with it and make sure you monitor and interpret the signs correctly.
    Deodorant – Can’t remember when, but it was ages ago. And then I noticed I didn’t even need it, as i hardly sweat anyway.
    Makeup and skin care products – never liked them anyway.
    Chemical cleaning supplies – My home has been completely free of chemical cleaners for a little over a year now, I think.
    Shampoo and conditioner – Tried that, but in the end I didn’t really like it, so I’m back to using organic shampoo (Urtekram). No conditioner. It’s not needed. Also, I only wash my hair once a week. More often is not necessary.
    Wearing a bra – I hate, hate, HATE the things. I’ve been bra free for, dunno, maybe a decade or so? (I do have one real bra and one bra-like top to wear when I feel I really have to, which is hardly ever.)
    Shaving my legs – Actually, I didn’t ditch that. I never started doing that in the first place. I don’t shave my armpits either. Why should I?
    Medication/pharmaceuticals – Oh, how I hate those! I will (grudgingly) use them if I really need them, but quite honestly I cannot remember when last I had to take regular meds.
    The microwave oven – Always hated the thing, and finally got rid of it about half a year ago. The hubby was not too pleased, but that’s his problem.
    Processed food – I wish! I’m doing a good job on making most things from scratch, but I do still buy some processed food sometimes.
    Toothpaste – I’ve been making my own for a little over a year now.
    Teflon – Got rid of all my teflon covered cookware several years ago. I don’t want that stuff in my kitchen.
    Tampons and disposable pads – About a decade ago.
    I probably got rid of more than that, but there you have it. Does that make me crunchy? LOL!

    • Caitlin says:

      Sounds pretty crunchy to me🙂 what a great list!! I just replaced another Teflon pot with a stainless steel copper-bottom saucepan I got from an estate sale for $1.50. CANNOT BEAT THAT!

      One more pot to go before I am Teflon free. I hate the stuff. But I figure if I don’t scratch it, I’m at least doing better than average. I never ever use metal utensils on them.

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