By Lynette Rice
July 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

As reality shows go, Style Network’s Clean House is as predictable as they come: Family home needs a makeover? Family home gets a makeover! But I mean no disrespect to the delightful host Niecy Nash and her funky faction of fixer-uppers. They make this show a consummate must-see for my family – thanks, in no small part, to their extraordinary ability to collect hundreds of dollars by selling rummage like used air purifiers and antique auto parts. For the uninitiated, part of Clean House’s conceit is to hold a yard sale to help pay for the makeover of an astonishingly cluttered house – so when I saw about 857 signs in my Los Angeles neighborhood advertising the next Clean House clearance today, I about lost my mind. You mean I get a chance to dicker down the price of the lampshade with the show’s adorable builder-man, Matt Iseman? Where do I sign up?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t alone. About 250 other House hunters showed up at the exact time when the producers needed us to cheer for the official start of the sale. The harsh California sun made shopping miserable, but that didn’t stop a huge group of women from gathering around Iseman to get a price check and a chance to preen for the camera. I was satisfied browsing the bric-a-brac section – my, aren’t these mirror-ball ornaments precious? And who couldn’t use another gold sequined clutch? – when Ms. Nash  graced us with her presence while wearing a snug and strapless dress with big hoop earrings. Gee she’s petite! And those gorgeous lips! Woman, Fox did you wrong by canceling your comedy Do Not Disturb after, like, two seconds last season. Sadly, the audacious host came and went almost as quickly as the antique etched mirror I’d been eyeing, but the crowd didn’t seem to notice. Iseman was now posing for fan pictures and giving autographs, while his less popular co-designer, Mark Brunetz, was negotiating the price (of a coffee table? a Shabby Chic desk? A wall-mounted pinball machine?) with some grade school girl.

After about an hour, I left with two scarves, a couple of hats, a faux lava lamp, and a tiny container of glass beads for a grand total of $11 (an autographed receipt from co-designer Trish Suhr came free of charge). Overall, the inventory wasn’t that much better than what I could have snagged at the five other garage sales around my neighborhod, but then again, those sales weren’t scheduled to air on TV three months from now. So what do you think about Clean House? Is Niecy Nash your favorite host? And do you really believe all those houses on the show are as cluttered as they seem?