My Cleaning Style? Unapologetically Ruthless

toy bin in middle of floor

As the holidays get closer, our household typically goes through some sort of deep clean/purge situation. Aside from just needed a well-overdue scrubbing, we take the time to sort through toys and clothes, and figure out what needs to stay, and what might have been outgrown, broken, or just shoved into the bottom of the toy box and forgotten about. Donate, sell, trash, repeat.

This year was a little extra due to a few compounding factors. Mainly that we decided to redecorate our daughter’s room as a Christmas present, while simultaneously rearranging two of the other rooms in our house.

It was … a lot.

In previous years, the task of clearing out and reorganizing the playroom has mostly fallen to me, for a variety of reasons: timing, division of labor, I know how I like things done. But due to the breadth of the 2020 edition, and the sheer number of rooms involved, it became a team effort between my husband and myself … and we quickly learned that we tackle this sort of project very differently.

I’m a “grab a trash bag and a few bins and sort as you clean” kind of person. I may start a few piles that need to be relocated later, but generally once I pick something up, the next place it goes is its home, whether that’s a shelf, a toy box, or the trash bag.

My husband, on the other hand, takes a “clear the space” approach to cleaning. You need the area under the window cleared out? He’ll make that happen. Put everything under the window into a new location, and we’ll deal with finding it a permanent spot later.

Both approaches work (although mine is obviously correct), and after a few snags, we figured out how to clean harmoniously. Until he realized another trait I have while cleaning.

I’m ruthless. Unapologetically so. I can’t let myself spend more than about 15 seconds making a decision about whether something stays or goes, because if I overthink it, it always stays.

I can’t let myself get too attached to who she got it from, that one time nine months ago that she said it was her favorite, or how I feel about it (good or bad). Gotta be ruthless. You can always justify keeping things that will ultimately end up as clutter.

A few years ago, I cleaned out a third of my closet in less than 20 minutes with this approach. Do I like it? Does it fit? Did I wear it in the last six months? If the answer to any of those questions was “no,” out it went. My wardrobe was instantly easier to manage, brighter, and I truly loved what I was left with.

Make the decisions quickly, and 99% of the time, you won’t regret it. You know what your kid really loves. You know what gets played with. Trust your gut, Momma.

Caitlin Jacob
Caitlin made her way to Lafayette more than a decade ago, after growing up in North Carolina and then graduating from the University of Georgia. Since then, she married the man who introduced her to Cajun country, and they welcomed their now 5 year old daughter into the world. She spends her days working in marketing, telling stories using her bag of digital tricks. When she’s not working or wrangling her tiny human, she can be found running (slowly), testing new baking recipes (ask about her almond poppyseed bread), or wielding a glue gun for her latest craft project.


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