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 as the featured families compete to de-clutter, re-organize, and clean their houses, they toss years' worth of junk -- including some stuff the kids think they can't do without, which can cause some pouting. There are lots of plugs for Clorox cleaning products -- with the camera often zooming in on the products in action or giving the host the chance to explain why they're so useful -- but only adults will be bothered by this blatant, monotonous advertising. On the upside, the amazing transformations within the houses may inspire viewers to roll up their sleeves and give their own homes a thorough going-over.
What's the story?
In CLEAN THIS HOUSE!, two families compete for $1000 cash and a year's supply of cleaning products and Molly Maid services by de-cluttering, re-organizing, and polishing their homes until they shine. The teams consist of parents and their kids -- armed with garbage bags and huge Dumpsters in the driveway -- who dive into the dreaded task of sorting through years' worth of possessions and cleaning places only the dust bunnies know about, all within their 24-hour time limit. The teams start by hauling most of their stuff outside to decide what they'll be keeping -- and they're often amazed to see how little they really need -- before bringing the necessities back inside. Then they turn to the dirty job of scrubbing floors, washing windows, and dusting lampshades, all of which will be inspected when host Molly Pesce weighs in on which team made the biggest overall transformation and gets to take home the grand prize.
Is it any good?
Clean This House! may very well inspire viewers to roll up their sleeves and start sorting through the piles of stuff they've been avoiding. While the 30-minute episodes offer only a simplified look at the time-consuming process -- and some fairly "duh" organizational tips ("Put things you don't use every day in clear, plastic containers," for instance) -- tuning in will encourage you to reassess what you need and where to put it. Just be prepared for plenty of blatant plugs for Clorox, the show's cleaning brand of choice. In addition to lots of shots of the products' packaging, Pesce uses her one-on-one time with the camera for additional advertising ("What I love about this is not only does it clean really well, but it also disinfects"). Kids won't be bothered by it (thank goodness the show isn't sponsored by Mattel...), but the brand reminders quickly become tiresome for adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's important to keep living spaces clean and clutter-free. Kids, how does it feel when your room is a mess? Does it interrupt the way you live and play? Is it easier when things are organized? How would you re-organize your room if you could? What tools (boxes, shelves, furniture) would you need? Why is it important to keep your home free of dirt and germs? Parents can give kids daily chores and use a checklist or responsibility chart for monitoring the tasks.