About this project

This is a place for people to share stories, memories, and images of cleaning house. Please follow us, participate and connect:

Share a cleaning story

Pick one or more of the prompts below. Submit text or photos in response.

Click on a prompt to see responses posted by others.

1. What’s your favorite cleaning task? Why?

2. What's your least favorite cleaning task? Why?

3. When you think of your mother (or grandmother) cleaning, what do you see her doing?

4. When you think of your father (or grandfather) cleaning, what do you see him doing?

5. When you think of cleaning, what image comes to mind? Take a photograph that approximates this mental image.

6. Pull out the cleaning supplies, tools, and products under your sink (or wherever you keep them). Take a group portrait of them.

7. Do you have any unique or unusual cleaning tools? Take a photograph and write a short caption describing what it is.

8. Think of the last time you cleaned house. Take a moment to remember the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations associated with that experience. Describe what you did and how you felt.

9. Take “before” and “after” photographs of a room, or part of a room, that you clean.

10. What does cleaning represent in your life?

11. How would/do you feel about hiring someone to clean your house?

12. How would/do you feel about being employed to clean other people’s houses?

13. Take a photograph of what’s in your kitchen sink right now.

14. Is there something culturally specific about the way you clean or your relationship to cleaning? Explain.

15. Do you have any recurring arguments with family members or housemates about cleaning? Describe.

16. Describe a memory about cleaning when you were a child.

17. Take a series of photographs of an area in your house, such as a table, your dish rack, your bed or bedroom floor, one a day, for nine days. Take the photographs from the same angle, so that the space doesn’t change, just the objects in it. You don’t have to do it on consecutive days, just whenever you think of it.


10. What does cleaning represent in your life?

Cleaning for me represents taking action in my life. It's about finding order, caring for my self, my family and friends. The journey has been long and healing. Always have questioned the importance of it. Life being so full of stuff, responsibility and accountability. An empty tidy room, an altar or a pig sty? What do I want for my life? How do I feel when I let things go? How do I feel when things are clean and in order? When I rarely have a clean house a moment when the possibilities are endless, the bills are paid the bath tub is ready for a quiet bath with bubbles, the bed is made with clean sheets? The kitchen is ready for being able to cook something beautiful for my family? There is a clearing for me to be the best that I can be. It's like a meditation to start the day fresh and anew. An opportunity to give myself a chance to do the things that bring meaning to my life.

Molly de Vries
Mill Valley, CA, USA