I Tried the “Junebugging” Cleaning Method on My Dusty Living Room
I’m fairly tidy, which often fools me into thinking my house is clean. When I do finally decide to wipe baseboards, or whatever it is people are doing for fun on TikTok these days, I often get distracted by clutter.
What Is the “Junebugging” Cleaning Method?
Junebugging is a term based on the behavior of its namesake, in which you always return back to the same location. When applied to cleaning, this means that you keep coming back to your anchor task no matter the amount of distractions.
Here’s how it happens: I mean to dust. I do. It’s just that when I walk into the living room, I see the pile of laundry on the couch, an unsigned permission slip on the coffee table, and a stack of novels on the chair. Those tasks feel more urgent, and by the time I’ve tackled the clutter, a child asks what’s for dinner, and I can’t even remember what my initial goal was.
I do want a clean — not just tidy — home, so I’m trying something new: Junebugging.
What is the Junebugging Cleaning Method?
Junebugging, a term first shared by a Tumblr user, is based on the behavior of its namesake. Junebugs (or June beetles) practice “site fidelity.” No matter where they wander off to in their little junebug adventures, they tend to return to the same location.
In the Junebugging cleaning method, “site fidelity” becomes loyalty not to a location, but to one micro-task, such as cleaning the bathtub or changing the bedding. That’s your “anchor point,” according to TikToker Nikki Pebbles, M.S., whose video on the Junebugging method has over 703,400 likes. You keep coming back to the anchor task, no matter how many times you get distracted. It’s expected that you’ll wander to other jobs, but the session isn’t over until that anchor point task is complete. Consider it the Ross to your Rachel. You’re going to end there, eventually.
It’s important to note that the anchor point needs to be one task, not many. Rather than a vague goal of “cleaning the kitchen,” choose something specific, such as mopping the floors, or wiping down all of the appliances.
How I Tried Junebugging at Home
Here’s how I applied the Junebugging cleaning method to my own home.
Step 1: Choose an anchor.
I decided to start my Junebugging experiment in our living room because it was just cluttered enough to be distracting, but not enough to doom me to failure. I’m a beginner, so I wasn’t ready for the overwhelm of, say, a teenager’s bedroom. I didn’t even allow myself an audiobook. I gave all my attention to my only task: dusting the living room.
Step 2: Begin the task.
Armed with a microfiber cloth, I began to dust the upright piano. So far, so good. I almost pulled up Facebook Marketplace to look for art to hang in that empty space above my fireplace, but I resisted.
Step 3: Manage distractions.
When I moved to the bookshelf, I realized I needed a stepstool, which required a trip to the kitchen. An empty milk jug caught my eye and set off an entire cycle of kitchen tasks, but I regrouped.
Step 4: Return to your anchor.
Returning to the bookshelf, I dusted my family photo albums and couldn’t resist a peek. I mean why have them, if we’re not going to look at them, right?
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4, as needed.
After reliving 2020 in photos, I got back to work. The next dusting stretch was full of brief interruptions to deal with clutter, but I always returned to my one true task. I thought Junebugging would teach me to ignore distractions, but it didn’t. Instead, it helped me complete the cycle on the one task I prioritized from the beginning, despite the distractions.
I’m not sorry I watered crunchy plants, folded the pile of laundry, and even velcroed my rug to the floor because, at the end of the cleaning spree, the living room was dusted, just as I intended.
Well, except for the baseboards. I started to wipe them but decided they didn’t count. Maybe I’ll make them the focus of my next Junebugging sesh.