Cleaning & Organizing
18 Utterly Useful Things to Do When You’re Stuck Inside
When the weather is lousy and you just don’t want to leave the house, turn off your Netflix binge and banish boredom with these productive ideas.
Call a loved one
Catch up with a long-distance friend or family member with a phone call or Skype session. Your loved one will be touched that you thought to call, and the gab session will boost your spirits, especially if you’re feeling lonely. These are 24 little ways to be a true friend.
Write a letter
As meaningful as a phone call or “I miss you” email is, a handwritten letter is an even more special surprise. Take your time crafting a thoughtful about how much that person means to you, and slip it into the mailbox to make someone’s day. Check out these things your mail carrier won’t tell you.
Rearrange the furniture
Rethinking your room’s setup can give your home a fresh look without spending a dime. If large pieces of furniture are too much of a hassle, mix up your knick-knacks or organize your shelves. You’ll bust boredom for the day, and break out of a rut from your same old arrangement. Start with these interior designer tricks for styling bookshelves.
Organize one small space
When cleaning the house sounds too boring or overwhelming, pick one spot that could use some TLC and go to work. Focus on your junk drawer, workbag, or desk. It won’t take long, but you’ll feel so much less scattered—and might find yourself wanting to keep the momentum going with another organizing project. Here are other things organized people do on the weekend.
Have a private dance party
Make a playlist of your favorite songs—you know, the ones you can never resist dancing to—and get moving. It’s an equipment-free workout that’s way too fun to feel like exercise. Plus, you could have a boost in mental health—one Australian study found that a tango class could reduce depression and stress in people with depression.
Take a hard look in your closet and come up with new ways to pair pieces together. Come up with some creative combos, and you’ll be sure to score compliments. Plus, you’ll get more use out of the clothes you already own by coming up with new outfits. These tricks can help you revamp your wardrobe in just one weekend.
Cook a gourmet dinner
Takeout and 30-minute meals might be your go-to during the week when you’re too burnt out to spend time at the stove, but having a free day will give you the chance to take your time with a more involved recipe. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up fancy ingredients, dig around in your cupboard for shelf-stable foods you’ve had sitting around, and turn them into a swanky three-course meal. Go all out by setting the table with your good silverware and china.
Do meal prep
Maybe spending a long time on a certain meal isn’t your thing. In that case, cut down the cooking time for future meals by prepping ingredients now that you have some extra time on your hands. Wash and chop vegetables you’ll use throughout the week, or throw together entire recipes that you can freeze for later. Check out these other brilliant cooking shortcuts.
Bake a batch of cookies
Whipping together a batch of your favorite baked goods is fun, and you’ll get a chance to enjoy the tasty products of your creation. Save half for a friend, and you’ll score some major brownie points (pun intended).
Fill your tub with warm water and bubbles, and settle in for a relaxing soak. Make it even better by lighting candles and playing your favorite soft tunes, or smear your face with a homemade facial mask. Finish with one of these self-massage tricks.
Curl up with a book
Grab your coziest blanket and hunker down on the couch with a good read. Studies have shown that reading can keep memory strong, help you sleep, and increase your empathy. Find a page-turner that you can’t put down, and you’ll be occupied the rest of the day. Here’s what your reading habits say about your personality.
Learn a new skill
Whether you pick up juggling, dust off your piano, or perfect your merengue recipe, now is the time to learn a cool skill. You’ll have a brand new party trick to show off to all your friends.
Start a blog
A blog is a fun way to share your ideas, but the hardest part is getting started. Use some of your down time to set up a page using a free blogging service like WordPress or Blogger. You can even spend the day working ahead on posts if you’re worried you won’t have time later.
Create a time capsule
Gather household items that represent your current everyday life. Stash objects such as photos, an invitation, a to-do list, and a letter to your future self in a small box. Put a note with today’s date and a reminder not to open for 10 or 15 years. You’ll have fun putting the time capsule together, plus reflecting on its contents when you open it later.
Find your “om”
istock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Studies have found that meditation can help ease anxiety, improve reasoning, and maintain good relationships. Find a guided meditation program online, and reap the benefits for yourself. Find out more about meditation and other brain boosters you can do in the morning.
Research an interesting topic
Find a subject that interests you—whether it’s a diet trend, an invention’s history, or a wacky conspiracy theory—and let yourself get lost in the depths of the Internet. (But for the record, we do not support quoting Wikipedia as fact to everyone you know.)
Plan a trip
Even if you don’t have any vacation days ahead of you, spend some time daydreaming and researching the locations you’d most like to visit. You’ll give yourself a mental escape and have a good start once you do decide to plan some time away.
Bust out the board games
Gather your family for a tournament with your favorite board games. Let everyone pick a favorite game, then sit back for a fun competition.