Million Dollar Neighborhood
Episode 2: The Great Purge
Posted: Sat 06/16/2012 09:00 PM
I am a reformed pack rat. As a kid I had lots of "collections." Everything from hockey cards and hot wheels to Smurfs and soccer T-shirts. I moved around a lot when I left home after high school, so I had to trim my stash. And my mom asked (or rather demanded) that I stop using her basement as a free, heated storage locker. So I had to purge even more stuff.
It was a brutal task – in large part because I get very sentimental when I go through my things. Somehow the ceramic mug that I'm holding in my hands – the hideous, malformed, multi-colored mug that I made at an art class when I was 12 years old – is worth more than Josh Groban's autographed high school yearbook.
The families of the Million Dollar Neighborhood had to deal with their own sentimentality – but at warp speed. We challenged them to throw a massive garage sale and that meant sorting through their stuff for things to sell, but also finding a location, organizing entertainment, food, advertising and setting everything up in under a week.
As you can see on the show – they outdid themselves. And I had a great time shopping the sale. I bought some great denim pants for my 2 year old – denim lasts forever. I also bought a puzzle that had real meaning for Thelma Kennedy, the seller. I said off-handedly that it would be a great puzzle to do with my daughter, Abby. Her eyes misted over and she said that she and her dad used to do puzzles together. I was able to hold myself together, until she told me that the particular "Happy Trails" puzzle I had chosen was the very last one that she had done with him before he died.
Sometimes stuff isn't just stuff. This was yet another example that working on Million Dollar Neighborhood was going to be more than I bargained for!
We were really happy some reinforcements for The Great Purge. Cari Cusksey is an estate sale guru and host of HGTV's Cash & Cari. She flew in to give the neighborhood some objective advice on what some of their treasures would bring in if they decided to sell them. Wow. What an eye opener. It was amazing to see her in action – she is like a human version of the Google search engine. And in addition to her experience and smarts, she was so empathetic and empowering, listening to people's stories about their items and honoring whatever choice they made to keep their stuff or sell it. It was a true privilege to meet her.
Coming up next week: The community gets to work, getting every BACK to work. You'll be amazed at the lengths they go to help increase the income of the unemployed and underemployed community members. And there are lots of tips for how you can do the same in your neighborhood.