Stuck at home?
Staying indoors because of the weather, a global pandemic, or you’re not feeling well?
These productive things to do at home will help you make the most of your day at home and feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of it besides sitting around in your pajamas and eating cookie dough ice cream.
For the record, I don’t have any problem with sitting in pajamas and eating cookie dough ice cream – in fact, it’s one of my finer things in life.
But you shouldn’t be doing that every day, so here are some other ideas.
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1. Do Some Landscaping or Gardening in the Yard
Get outside and do some work in the backyard or front yard that you’ve been meaning to do.
It really makes a difference to how you feel about your environment when you’re able to either go relax in the backyard or at least come home to the front of your house looking nice – a great way to cure cabin fever and calm yourself down when stressed.
Whether it’s just some basic weed pulling and mowing the grass or more intricate garden planning or hedge cutting, get some fresh air and make the outside of your house look good to help you feel good.
2. Organize All Paperwork Throughout the House
Paperwork is the bane of all of our existances.
It comes in droves and you can never seem to get on top of it.
When you do need something, you can never find it.
Come up with a filing system for all of the paperwork in the entire house.
Bills, certificates, newsletters from the school.
Whatever you don’t need, get rid of, and things that you may need but you don’t necessarily need on paper, scan into your computer or phone so you have it safe online and on harddrives and not cluttering up your life.
Because of the need to go through every single bit of paper, this can actually take longer than you realize, so make sure you have a system in place before starting.
3. Clean Out the Refrigerator
For a healthy life, you need a healthy fridge and that includes getting rid of things that have gone bad, that weird mold growing in the second drawer down and making sure that you’re organizing it in a way that makes sense.
Not only will this help with meal prep and choosing what to eat, but you don’t want bacteria growing in the fridge that shouldn’t be there.
First, take all of the food out and put it on the counter or kitchen table.
Then, take out as many parts of the fridge as possible and clean them.
Put the fridge back together, then slowly start putting the food back in an organized way, paying close attention to the dates of expiration.
4. Do a Deep Declutter of Every Room
It doesn’t have to be spring to do a massive spring clean throughout every room.
If you’ve got lots of time inside or are looking for something to do when bored, you can go room by room, otherwise you can just do one room at a time when you can.
My favorite way to declutter is basically to tear the room apart, piling anything I want to get rid of outside the door, and then putting the room back together.
I find that this “all or nothing” exercise helps me to really make sure I’ve gone through the entire room, and then later on you can deal with the things you’re getting rid of that are no longer in the room.
This works the same if you’re not getting rid of stuff but it needs to go in other rooms in the house.
Put it outside the door so it’s no longer in the room, and then as your final step, put the excommunicated things back where they belong.
5. Go Through Your E-mail Inbox
The amount of e-mails we get per day can be staggering, and it can start to clog up your mind and life as you wade through newsletters from fruit and vegetable delivery boxes that you used once, memos from your kid’s school relating to last year’s fitness day, and a million other things that you don’t need.
Sit yourself down at any and all e-mail inboxes you have and first make sure everything that you need to reply to has been replied to.
You can also do this as a productive thing to do on your phone if you have e-mail on your phone.
Then, go through as many e-mails as you can stand and either delete them or unsubscribe from the mailing list if it’s something you no longer need.
Inevitably, there will still be marketing e-mails you receive in the future, but it makes it easier to unsubscribe to those individually as and when they come up.
6. Learn a New Language
You can learn a new language from home, including immersive experiences if you’re up for it!
Firstly, software like DuoLingo or Rosetta Stone or one of these best online courses allow you to sit down at your computer and start to learn vocabulary, grammar, and context in the new language.
You can then watch and read content in the language you’re trying to learn, and even join Skype or other video chatting groups where you can actually chat with someone in the new language to try and have that real life experience.
Sure, you won’t get the same benefit as if you had actually traveled to a foreign country and been immersed in it all around you, but if you’re stuck at home, it’s totally possible to start the process and expand your mind and cultural understanding.
7. List Things to Sell on E-Bay or Other Sites
You know all of those things you’re getting rid of from your declutter session?
You don’t have to just donate them all.
Some of them may be high value that you can sell on to someone else.
Whether you list it on EBay or somewhere like Facebook marketplace, why not try and get some money back for it?
Make sure to keep in mind the cost to mail things out, as you may want to make things “pick up” only, particularly if it is large furniture.
8. Collect all Change and Coins to Take to the Bank
This is a small task, but can be a great productive thing to do at home for kids if you want to keep them busy.
Have them collect all of the change in the house and put them in the right piles and rolls to be able to take them to the bank in the future and deposit them.
For most of us, having a lot of change lying around isn’t useful and doesn’t help our budget as we never think to use it.
Get that in your bank account or changed into larger bills that you can put in your wallet and spend.
9. Completely Reorganize Your Closet
Your closet is something you go into every day when looking for something to wear, but for many of us, it’s one of the most disorganized spaces in the house.
How many times do you go into your closet and pick out the same exact things to wear because you can’t be bothered to dig through and find more?
Take everything out of your closet and throw it on the bed or floor, and then piece by piece, decide if you really do wear it and should keep it and then put them back in the closet in an organized way.
If you need to buy more hangers, do it!
Storage cubes? Yes, please.
Don’t just let it become a complete disaster again.
10. Plan Your Next Vacation or Trip
Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you necessarily need to think about being home.
In fact, this is a great time to plan your next vacation or trip from home while you have the time to research on the internet, read books about the destination, and look into your booking options.
If you’re not entirely sure when your next vacation will be, you can still spend some fun time with the family coming up with ideas of potential destinations and doing basic level research.
This is particularly a great idea if you’re cooped up in the house for a long time and just want to get out, as opposed to being happy to be home.
11. Skype or Call Family and Friends
We live such busy lives that sometimes it’s difficult to keep in touch with family and friends and have sufficient time to talk to them.
Often, we’re texting them as we’re running from activity to activity and trying to fit them in where we can.
If you’re at home, you’ve got some more time to give them your full attention and have a proper catch up.
You can even multitask while you talk to a friend over Skype and fold laundry together or something like that.
It’s really nice to not be able to have to rush off to the next event and hang up on them, so spend some time reconnecting.
12. Deep Clean Your Bathroom and all of the Vents
Most of us clean our bathrooms regularly (well, you should be, at least) and think that we’ve got it all covered.
However, when is the last time you truly deep cleaned your bathroom and not just surface cleaned?
You would be incredibly surprised to see what gunk is getting in the drains and in the vents, and you can spend time doing a full deep clean and making sure to spend time cleaning out the drains and taking out the vents to clean them out.
Not the most intriguing thing to do, but something to do when you have nothing else to do!
13. Finish Any and All DIY Projects
We all have that one DIY project around the house that is always outstanding.
Maybe it’s a wall that needs to be painted, a chair that needs to be screwed back together, or some tiles that need to be replaced.
Living in this constant state of things being unfinished is a surefire way to negative feelings and not being as productive in your life as possible.
You owe it to yourself to follow through and just take an entire day to get it all done.
14. Take an Online Class
There are so many things you can learn online these days, from website coding to languages to history to economics to…it goes on.
Sign up for an online class from Udemy that is delivered entirely remotely, or just spend some time browsing through YouTube seeing what you can learn.
A good place to start if you want bite-sized information are Ted Talks, and that may help you branch out into figuring out what you would like to take a full class in.
15. Exercise to a YouTube Workout Video
Just becase you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.
There are plenty of workout videos on Youtube that make it so easy to put it on on your computer or television and get your body moving.
You can choose from something intense like a cardio workout or you can do something more low impact like yoga.
If you have extra workout materials like mats or weights, then you can search specifically for ones that take these into account, but otherwise look up “bodyweight workout” and you’ll find examples of what you can do just by using what you have already – you!
16. Meal Prep for the Week
One of the most productive things to do at home for your health has to do with what you eat during the week.
“Meal prep” is the idea that you spend one day or afternoon cooking for the entire week, and then you preportion out your meals so they are all ready to go and you don’t have to cook each night.
This helps people try and avoid the junk food or going out to eat when they can’t be bothered to cook, and it also means that your kitchen isn’t constantly getting messy throughout the week.
You can get specific meal prep containers to help separate the portions, or you can do a less intense version and just make the meals in advance and then freeze them and portion them out onto your plate throughout the week.
17. Organize the Garage or Attic
When’s the last time you really organized the garage or attic?
For msot of us, it’s been a long time, and over the years we’ve continued to add more stuff to them, from Christmas lights to suitcases to gifts that you hope to regift one day.
Organizing the garage or attic can feel like a huge responsibility and timesuck, but you would be surprised how much better you feel when you know that even these unseen places in the house are free of clutter.
It will also save you time in the future because you won’t have to wonder where that box of screws are or your favorite Christmas ornament is.
18. Create Scrapbooks or Memento Boxes with Special Items
There’s a chain of thought in house organizing that states that you should display the things that are meaningful to you.
If we keep a bunch of things because they have sentimental value, but they just get tossed in corners and dark boxes, are we really getting the most “use” and emotional connection out of them?
Spend some time connecting with old memories by making scrapbooks that you can display on your bookshelves of past pictures and vacation memories, or create photo or memento box displays with some of your more important memories.
19. Get Rid of the Junk Drawer
We all have the junk drawer or junk space.
It’s usually got some keys that we have never used before, broken pens, some screws, and who knows what else.
I would challenge you to spend your productive time at home getting rid of this junk drawer once and for all.
You could be using that storage space for better things, and if you really took the time to go through it, you would probably find that you don’t use most of it anyway.
Put things where they belong or create new spaces for them rather than just shoving everything you don’t know what to do with in one drawer.