Two Burning Questions About Minimalism: Cleaners and Colors

Over the last five years I’ve received a lot of questions about minimalism. Before I close shop here I thought I’d cover two common questions about minimalism that I might not have discussed in any depth in the Hip Diggs archives. Here they are:

  1. What kinds of cleaners and supplies should I use?
  2. What colors are best for my clothes/belongings?

I don’t know, some minimalists might have some real specific answers for you on these topics, but mine might not be anything more than simple common sense.

What Products Should I Use for Minimalist Cleaning?

First of all, if you’re a true minimalist you should not have to clean very often because you will constantly be keeping things perfectly neat. However, there might be an occasional deep cleaning. So here’s my list of minimalist cleaning supplies:

Really, this all you need to clean. Most anything can be cleaned with water and a cloth. I often clean floors, counters, sinks and toilets with nothing more than water. But I know, you want more. Funny, for a minimalist. So yes, if you look at my cleaning supplies, under my kitchen sink, you’ll find a few more things. So here’s another list for you:

  1. Bathrooms and kitchens: 409 or Lysol
  2. Windows and mirrors and a whole bunch of other shit: Windex
  3. Dishes: whatever dish soap you choose, depending on whether you’re washing by hand or by dishwasher. For dishwashers, rinse aid can be nice, but not needed.
  4. Floors: A broom and a dustpan and/or a vacuum; for washing, water, with just a touch of vinegar, bleach or ammonia-based cleaner and a rag, or a bucket and mop for larger floors. I went without a vacuum for five years, but my new apartment has some rugs. Insert sad face.
  5. Laundry: Tide powder. I used liquids for years but recently discovered that good-old powder is much more friendly to my skin.

That’s about it. But sometimes you might have some even deeper cleaning needs: You may or may not want these things: pumice, a hard-bristle brush, comet, baking soda, vinegar, a toothbrush, etc.

Here’s the deal. When it comes to cleaners I just buy what I need when I need it. No more. No less. I don’t have a crapload of special products that set me apart from the average American. I don’t use all-natural products. Sorry eco-friendly people. I don’t mix my own cleaners. How would that be minimalist? It requires extra effort. And I go through cleaning supplies rather slowly. Why? Go back to item one. All you really need is water.

Water is the basic building block of life. Baptisms are done with water. Water is your minimalist cleaner. Pure, plain, simple water.

What Are the Best Colors for My Clothes and Stuff?

My first thought for clothes is this: wear whatever damn colors you want. However, there’s one color I rarely wear: white.

For clothes and shoes white is stupid. White gets dirty faster. You need to buy extra products and take special efforts to keep white clothing clean. Not very minimalist.

If you look in my closet you’ll find three basic colors:

If you study my closet more closely, you’d find a couple splashes of brown, yellow, orange, and red. That’s about it.

What about my stuff? Should I paint my walls all white and get all light-colored furniture like I see in the minimalist pictures?

Okay, I’ll admit, I like minimalist porn as much as the next guy. However, it’s really not very reasonable or practical. I’ve often turned to used and antique furnishings. Think about it. If you paint your walls white and buy a bunch of slick minimalist furnishings for $20,000. How is that minimalist? You just spent a shitload of money and did another crapton of work to get everything set up. I suppose if you’re rich or want to go into debt, you could do that. Maybe Ikea would give you a more affordable minimalist look. In any case, again, white is kind of stupid. It gets dirty faster and needs to be cleaned more often.

Here’s my current simple setup:

  1. Walls: Off-white (came with apartment). If I owned again, I would probably go with light grays and very light blues. Light blue is scientifically proven to be very relaxing. But I wouldn’t paint unless it was needed.
  2. Living room: I have mostly beige, grey, and black furnishings.
  3. Dining room: The table and chairs are off-white with some light-green accents.
  4. Bedrooms: Off-whites and grays.
  5. Cars: I like black on black. However, I recently changed it up. My new/used 2012 VW Passat TDI (35-45mpg) is dark blue with beige interior. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to black interior. The beige is so much cooler in the summer.

Bottom line is simple. Unless you’re looking for the look you see in the modern-minimalist photos, get whatever colors you want. Oh, but try to keep them somewhat coordinated (or not).

So there you go. I hope I answered your questions about cleaners and colors.

Remember, I’ll be posting all of my writing over at my danerickson site soon. I’ve got five posts and a month left to go here. Why? Because I’m not really a minimalist. I just use common sense.

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Dan Erickson

Dan Erikson is the passionate voice behind Hip Diggs, where he explores the art of living simply and intentionally. With a keen eye for minimalism and its profound impact on our lives, Dan delves into topics ranging from decluttering spaces to decluttering the mind. Drawing from personal experiences and a deep appreciation for the minimalist ethos, he offers readers practical insights and actionable steps to embrace a more meaningful, clutter-free life. When he's not penning down his thoughts on Hip Diggs, Dan enjoys the serenity of nature, reading, and exploring the nuances of simple living in a complex world.

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