'Clean House Comes Clean' About Mayhem and Foolishness
They then pry the accumulated stuff from the homeowners' arms, sell it at a yard sale and then use the proceeds (with matching funds from the show and help from sponsor donations) to transform the residence into a model of order, cleanliness and beauty.
On the show, this all happens in an hour. In real life, not so much.
On Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 11 p.m. (ET/PT), Style premieres "Clean House Comes Clean," a half-hour show that showcases episode bloopers, behind-the-scenes footage and new commentary by the cast and show participants. It's kind of like DVD extras, but not on DVD (at least, not yet).
"We get to look back," Brunetz says "watching, knowing what it turned out like, knowing the homeowners, knowing the experience and get to comment on it. I think that's a very interesting perspective.
"You marry all that footage with our perspective, and you have a new show."
Along with all the tough love required to get the homeowners to ditch those old Beanie Babies, unused surfboards, lava lamps and prom dresses, Brunetz must whip up room designs with little time and less money.
"I've got signature questions that I ask homeowners," he says. "I've got little tips and signs that give me an overall look and picture of who these people really are stylistically. We haven't revealed that. We haven't had the time to show that on our show."
Along the way, Brunetz has learned a few thing about human nature.
"First and foremost," he says, "people's environments are definitely an expression of what's going on, on the inside.
"The second thing I've learned is that most people are on the other side of the clutter to the extent that they're resigned. They just feel paralyzed by their spaces.
"The third thing about human nature that I've noticed is that people are deeply impacted by their environment, whether they know or not. When you have a homeowner or a family open their eyes on revel day, you can witness firsthand, right there with the cameras on them, the experience of what that space is doing to them, how it's moving them, what possibilities are opening up for them."
So the lesson is, you are not your accumulated junk.
"Very, very good," Brunetz says. "People do live as if who they are is their clutter. When they can draw a line between the two and realize that you're not cutting off a memory or your arm when you let go of something, there's a definite distinction between the two. That will really free people up."
Brunetz and his cohorts can't do much now about the past bloopers that may show up on "Clean House Comes Clean."
"It's eye-opening," he says. "They were really fresh, honest, behind-the-scenes comments. That's about as real as it gets, captured on tape."
Asked if the crew may mind their behavior in the future, Brunetz says, "That's a really good point. I just think we're real. We're human beings, along with the people whose houses we do. At the end of the day, everybody's going to have their feelings and their opinions about certain things."
Of course, those feelings and opinions could lose Brunetz some invitations.
"I can't tell you how many people stop me on the street," he says, "and talk to me, saying, 'I love your show, but I could never have you over at my house.'"