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.


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

I remember my mom going down on her knees and scrubbing the floor of every room in the house with damp cloths by herself. Having five kids to look after, she had a lot of housework to do from morning ’til night. And as cleaning was the last chore of the day, she always looked tired and got nervous. Although mom is a very cheerful person and the anchor of my family, so much household work often frustrated her physically and emotionally. One day at night, she sang a Korean popular song to cheer herself up while cleaning. But her cheerful voice tone changed slowly into a depressed one and she finally stopped singing and burst into crying. Though I was a young boy, I felt guilty and sorry for her agony. But she thought housekeeping was just for women and never let me help her. Korea had a strong tradition of preferring sons to daughters at that time.

Seoul, Korea