At this time of year, the weather across the country can be crazy: springlike temperatures one day, snow the next, rain after that. While you might not be a fan of a stay-indoors day, it’s a good opportunity to take care of some inside business. Of course, you can always curl up in front of a fireplace with a good book, but you could also use the time to be a bit more productive. Here are some suggestions for making the most of bad weather.
1. Clean out closets and drawers. To avoid overwhelm, start with one closet. Pull out anything that doesn’t fit (and never will), that you haven’t worn in the last couple of years, is a godawful color on you, or was just a mistake. (Did you really think you could rock biker chic?) Be ruthless. Make a pile and donate it to friends or charity. Now, doesn’t that feel good?
2. Clean the oven, the inside of the windows, or the fan blades. Even if you are fortunate enough to have someone clean your house on a regular basis, cleaning can be cathartic. Look around to see if they might have missed something and do it yourself.
3. Make a big pot of soup. On a cold, wet day, nothing beats soup—especially when it’s made from scratch. Dig out grandma’s recipe, venture out to buy the fresh ingredients, and start chopping. While you’re at it, buy some yeast so you can also bake bread. And be sure to put on some cooking music.
4. Bake bread. If you’ve never done it before before, this Quick Yeast Bread recipe is a great way to start. Nothing (with the possible exception of freshly brewed coffee) beats the aroma of fresh bread.
5. Check out The Great Courses online, where you’ll find courses on just about every topic. At this moment, best sellers on their home page include: Fundamentals of Photography, The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking, How to Draw, Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, and Optimizing Brain Fitness. You have time, so why not expand your horizons?
6. Organize your photos. When was the last time you looked at all of the photos you have scattered on your phone, tablet, and laptop? Wouldn’t it be great to have them all in one place on your computer, organized by date or topic?
7. Call an old friend and talk for a long time. If no one is home when you call, leave a message. Ask her to call you back when she can. Think how nice it will be to hear her voice.
8. Write that letter or thank-you note. My friend Ruth and I write letters because it’s fun to get something in the mail besides bills and ads. Sometimes, I write letters I never intend to send as a way of clearing the air or getting something off my chest.
9. Make that call you’ve been putting off for the appointment you dread. Your doctor or dentist. A divorce attorney. To prepare your will or trust.
10. Inventory the valuables in your house. Go room by room, starting with your jewelry and art. Take photos. Make notes. When you’re done, make sure this documentation is part of your will or trust. Should some of these items be insured? If so, take care of it.
Don’t let bad weather get you down. Spend the time doing something useful or fun.
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.