A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this home-organization series revolves around people with messy, cluttered homes. They sometimes get emotional when parting with their belongings, such as kids' clothes or other sentimental items. There's some product placement, but otherwise the show is worry-free for kids (if they're even interested, that is).
What's the story?
In CLEAN SWEEP, homeowners ask for help restoring order to their cluttered homes and disorganized lives. In each episode, hostess Tava Smiley and a designer, carpenter, and organizer get two days to revamp two rooms in each house, getting rid of excess stuff and making the homes functional again. In the first task, the crew brings everything in the two rooms outside, where family members are instructed to separate things into \"keep,\" \"sell,\" and \"toss\" piles. The process of letting go is often surprisingly painful, and the crew member tasked with prying things out of homeowners' hands has to act as part-therapist, part-bully in order to get the task accomplished.
Is it any good?
While most folks admit to letting their organizational systems get out of control, Clean Sweep proves that few people realize -- at least initially -- how much emotions can come into play when it comes to handling accumulated stuff. One couple had accumulated piles of toys and baby clothes to give to their boys (currently ages 5 and 7) when they grew up. Smiley encouraged them to "live in today," and they agreed to keep only one "future" toy per child. Another couple let their spare bedroom get so packed with collectibles, keepsakes, craft projects, and more that they could climb up the mountain of stuff and actually touch the ceiling.
Some parts of the show can be pretty cheesy -- like when Smiley over-enthusiastically blows her whistle to get things started after corralling everyone into a group cheer. But the voyeuristic experience of watching Clean Sweep will either make you feel better about yourself and the state of your own home or inspire you to do some serious de-cluttering. Kids will likely find little to interest them (unless you have a budding neatnik on your hands), but other than the emotional moments people have when parting with their treasured belongings, the material is worry-free.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "stuff" and consumer culture. Why do people accumulate so much stuff? Why is it so hard to keep things organized? Why do people buy more when they already have so much? Why is it so hard to let go of certain things? Are there specific items you don't think you could part with? Families can also discuss why it's important to keep living spaces clean and clutter-free.