Saturday, September 15, 2007

Organizing on TV: Illusion vs. Reality

Have you watched Clean Sweep, Mission: Organization, or Clean House?

I haven't seen Clean House, but I've seen the others, thanks to my neighbor who taped a few shows for me. And while I've found the shows amusing and even informative, they certainly don't give a realistic view of what the organizing (and interior design) process looks like with an extremely cluttered house - if you don't have a TV crew to do the work!

Ann Saunders of Simple Organizing Solutions in Baltimore was interviewed for a story in The Christian Science Monitor. The article says, "She knows one organizer who spent more than 200 hours on a house for a TV makeover. That translated into 22 minutes on air."

And organizer Joan Kosmachuk of Simple Effects in Boston reports that on an episode of Clean House Comes Clean, the team stated that they spend on average 6 days of up to 18 hours/day as a whole team to declutter, clean and redecorate each home on each of their shows. And that's a team of four people!

So watch the shows for fun and inspiration - but don't expect to solve clutter issues that have been building up for years as quickly as it seems to happen on TV.


Paula said...

Jeri, I love these damn shows, even though I know they're leaving a LOT out.

I am always amazed, for example, that there aren't more tearful, angry theatrics from the homeowners when those "priceless" possessions stashed in 50 moldy trash bags come up for sorting and/or disposal.

Peter Walsh on Clean Sweep handles this part most often (and extremely well) but Mission Organization just shows family members nodding in agreement as the designer makes waving gestures at the mess. Hey, if they were "in agreement" with organized living, they wouldn't have flea market bargains stacked 8 feet deep in the garage...and viewers know it.

That's a minor quibble, however. And I have another.

I notice that Mission Organization has moved around a lot on the HGTV schedule, and TLC seems to have deep-sixed Clean Sweep.

I wonder if sponsors, who after all live by urging consumers to buy MORE stuff, have said "no" to purging and simplifying shows.

Too bad--I love them for the reinforcement.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

This is so true! However, although it's a team of four people that you see on screen when the show airs, there are also support people on the show's staff as well as outside contractors that may be hired for each job. A massive clean-up requires enormous efforts. If you're doing it yourself, it's a long-term commitment, but the pay-off will be terrific!