Photo: David Tsay
Designate a Timekeeper: Walsh explains that they'll spend exactly one hour at each person's apartment—or in Cynthia's case, storage unit—during which all phones must be turned off. (Unless, of course, they're being used to snap a picture of an item that's being donated, like the black cap embroidered with the letters UCB that Lorraine has been keeping as a reminder of her former job at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. "I had this idea in my head that people would see it and think, Cool!" she says. "But I've never worn it.")
Focus, Focus: Each friend designates one or two categories of clutter to concentrate on: for Cynthia, bedding, blankets, and towels; for Danielle, professional clothing; and for Lorraine, winter wear. "In other words, we're not here to clean out anyone's entire garage," Walsh clarifies.
Be Brutal: Walsh makes it clear that friends will encourage friends to get rid of anything they don't love, or own duplicates of, or haven't worn or used in the past six months, or find at the bottom of a pile, back of a drawer, or on the floor of a closet. Also: anything from a previous job, life, or relationship that doesn't suit their current one, and anything that is part of an incomplete set (of linens, for example). But he needn't have worried that they'd go easy on each other: Soon the friends are blurting out exactly what they think—and having a great time in the process.
Bring Fuel: "I don't know about you, but decluttering really makes me thirsty," says Walsh, who helpfully suggests Champagne. All business, Lorraine shows up with homemade brownies instead.