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.


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

Mike uses his vacuum cleaner almost every day...and we always have a fight about it. In Germany, the rule is that you have to be quiet during lunch time, from 12-3pm, when you live in an apartment, and again for night time, after 7pm. On Sundays you are not really supposed to be too loud. I don't think you should vacuum before 10 or 10:30 am on Saturdays, then there is lunch time again, and we have to go out with the kid and the dog...and we seem to miss those times that it is ok to make the noise and for Mike to feel better about the apartment. We are lucky that we live on the ground floor, no one underneath us that might get mad...but we have an older lady that lives on top of us and she complains about everything! I worry about it too much; Mike does not worry about it at all.

Ulrike Armstrong
Hamburg, Germany