Mondays blur into Wednesdays, Thursday seems like Saturday. For many of us homebodies, it appears we have all the time in the world — yet are wasting it on too much TV.
Others, of course, don’t seem to have enough time for work, homeschooling and everything else that has turned their lives upside down while waiting out the coronavirus outbreak.
Still, almost anybody can use a few ideas to distract themselves from the crisis. So we’ve come up with a hefty list of projects and tasks, from quick and easy (mail a card) to sweat-inducing (create a compost bin). Some are productive, some are just for fun.
Keep this list handy and check off what you get done — while using social distancing and proper hygienic practices, of course.
We want you to stay productive and healthy, too
1. Be a good citizen and fill out your census form.
2. Learn how to create a sourdough “mother” and do it.
It will help produce baked treats for months or years to come. (savorthebest.com/wild-yeast-sourdough-starter/)
3. Use your makeup.
Use up your beauty samples: lotions, face masks, perfume swatches from magazines — or concoct some home beauty solutions.
4. Shave your legs.
And trim everything you’ve neglected over the winter.
5. Download a meme-making app.
Create useless memes, virus-related or not. Try Mematic, Meme Factory or Imgur meme generator. Check out some of our favorite quarantine memes.
6. Watch makeup tutorials.
Watch makeup tutorials to learn how to use white eyeliner, give yourself a glamorous look for takeout or scare your family with something ghoulish.
7. Order seed packets.
And start them inside with containers you have around the house, like egg cartons, cups made from old newspaper or virus-famous toilet paper rolls.
8. Learn new campfire songs.
Sing them around a backyard fire. Cook dinner or dessert out there, too.
9. Set a fancy table.
Set the fancy china or light candles for any meal or snack, even the ones that involve the last of the aerosol cheez.
10. Learn a new card game.
11. Brush up on a language or learn a new one.
Apps like Duolingo can help.
12. Make greeting cards.
Or find your stash and mail a note to a friend or relative, just because.
13. Research and practice a few good jokes to have on hand.
Save them for a corny moment or for trick-or-treating St. Louis-style.
14. Floss. Finally.
15. Apply sunless tanning lotion for a week.
See if you look like you’ve been to the beach.
16. Blow bubbles.
Tell your spouse or kid to to catch them on their tongue.
17. Find that random sauce or condiment in the back of your fridge.
And use it on a new dish.
18. Pick up trash.
When you’re out on a walk or hike, bring along a bag to pick up trash and recycle what you can. Wash your hands after!
19. Sort through your neglected T-shirt drawer and wear a new shirt every day.
Completed a 5K in 2017? Graduated from high school in 1993? Flaunt it! At least your dog might notice.
20. Download the Kindle app or the app from your local library and figure out how to check out movies and books digitally.
You don’t need a Kindle to read them — you can on your device or computer.
21. Check in.
Text or call single or widowed friends and see if they need to talk. Better yet, video chat.
22. Make a flower arrangement.
Prune a couple of flowering branches from a tree for indoor color or force a branch with buds by cutting and putting in a vase with water.
23. Cultivate a new habit: Make the bed!
24. Listen to a poem a day.
Go to poets.org.
25. Clean out your purse or wallet.
File old receipts, trash old makeup and take a disinfectant wipe and clean off the whole thing — credit cards included.
26. Make a playlist.
Post a link to your favorite upbeat song on social media and ask others to do the same. Make a playlist.
27. Give yourself a pedicure or manicure.
28. Give the dog a bath and trim its nails.
Heck, paint its nails.
Pick a new drawer every day and sort through it: your nightstand, kitchen drawers, dresser drawers. Do a porch exchange of unwanted items.
30. Train your pet.
Teach your dog to find hidden treats, either in the house or have it pick a closed fist.
31. Put together outfits from your wardrobe and take pictures of them to remember later.
Save the pictures in a special wardrobe file on your phone, or use a wardrobe planning app such as ClosetSpace or Stylebook.
32. Identify your plants.
Identify and take inventory of the plants, trees and flowers in your house or yard. Use an online guide or an app like Plantsnap.
33. Set up a family photo shoot, silly or not.
34. Listen to a podcast.
Choose one you can do while doing something soothing, like working a puzzle or folding laundry.
35. Mend your clothes, or darn a sock.
YouTube is your friend.
36. Have your kids teach you something.
Sit down with your child and have them walk you through Minecraft, Roblox, Google Hangouts, Tik Tok or whatever newfangled app or game they’re into at the moment.
37. Freshen up the paint job on your garden gnomes.
Or, for you southsiders, garden Mary.
38. Have the kids write letters or draw pictures to send.
Send them to friends or strangers at nursing homes (if allowed).
39. Clean the oven and soak stovetop grates.
40. Binge cartoons.
Binge on favorite cartoons from childhood, whether that be the "Backyardigans" for Generation Z or "Muppet Babies" for Gen X.
41. Give a cooking lesson via Skype to a young relative or friend.
42. Have tea and a treat every afternoon.
43. Keep a reading journal.
Or start a journal detailing your time and feelings during the crisis.
44. Use all the neglected appliances in your cabinets and basement.
Use the doughnut maker, the quesadilla press, the ice cream maker. Host a theme night or family competition for who can create the tastiest or worst-looking treat.
45. Write thank you notes.
Write to anyone who has touched your life in the past year. Tell them why they are special to you.
46. Take a bubble bath.
Add wine and Tori Amos/Adele/Norah Jones/Alicia Keys music.
47. Do a workout.
48. Start a holiday shopping list, and find local shops to support.
49. Plan a post-isolation dinner party.
It's like pretend play. But it will be useful once this is all over.
50. Pre-address birthday cards for the year.
It will save time (and forgetfulness) down the road.
51. Order a gift for someone in a nursing home or assisted living.
52. Make a list of fun things to do with your stimulus check.
Then use it to pay bills.
53. Gather your VHS tapes and convert them to digital.
Or send them to a service that will do it for you.
54. Practice Frisbee golf in backyard with empty laundry baskets.
Try the same during laundry time with dirty socks.
55. Take a virtual "field trip."
Both local (the zoo, the City Museum, the St. Louis Aquarium, etc.) and international museums are offering virtual visits on their websites.
56. Make hummingbird food.
Just use water and sugar (heat 4:1 ratio for 2 minutes). If you don’t have a feeder, there are several DIY ideas using plastic water bottles or old jelly jars at morningchores.com.
57. Shred old bills you no longer need.
58. Try meditation.
Or just tell your family you are and demand some quiet time alone.
59. Practice cartwheels (unless you fear injury).
60. Donate blood.
Donate blood. Blood donations are considerably down. No, this isn't something you can do at home, but it's something you can do to help.
61. Dye your hair a fun nonpermanent color.
62. Dig out coloring books.
Remember the craze a few years ago? Sharpen pencils and have at it.
63. "Shop" for houses.
64. Clean up your phone.
If you’ve cleaned the outside of your phone, do the inside: delete bad photos or videos and unused apps.
65. Talk to neighbors.
Organize a socially distant happy hour with neighbors, or sit on your front steps or driveway and say hello to whoever walks by.
66. Do your best Marie Kondo.
Marie Kondo a closet or room, and find out what really “sparks joy” in your house.
67. Organize a workbench or craft area.
68. Dust and clean.
Dust all the ignored nooks and crannies. Use a stepladder to make things even more physical.
69. Sort through family photos.
See which fashions you wore in the 1990s have made a comeback. Digitize the photos and use an app or website to make an album.
70. Grow a mustache, beard or mullet, or rediscover your true hair color.
71. See how long you can go without doing laundry.
Who knows which outfits will emerge from the back of your closet or drawers?
73. Soak beans.
74. Make dulce de leche with a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Remove label and simmer can covered in water by a good 2 inches (bring to boil first). Cook 2 to 3 hours.
75. Disinfect gardening tools.
Then paint handles a bright color to make them easier to see.
76. Destash your craft supplies.
What can you knit from the yarn you have on hand? Sew from your scraps? How long ago did you neglect scrapbooking?
77. Pick up a musical instrument and learn it.
If you don’t have one, borrow one from a friend or neighbor. Free guitar and ukulele lessons at try.fender.com/play/playthrough.
78. Visit a cemetery.
79. Assess medicine cabinets and first-aid kits.
Order refills if needed.
80. Create a compost bin.
Clean out garden beds of old leaves for its first layer.
81. Tackle a really fat book or series.
Some suggestions: Ron Chernow’s biographies “Grant” or “Hamilton” or reread every Harry Potter book. There are more big book suggestions at stltoday.com/books.
82. Add blackout liners to kids’ bedroom curtains.
Maybe they’ll sleep later.
83. Watch reruns.
Start watching reruns of an old favorite from the beginning. Calculate how long it will take to finish.
84. Detail your car (or just get the crusty parts).
85. Make a lap blanket or quilt from fabric or old clothes you have on hand.
If it’s your first, consider it practice for a larger project later.
86. Less ambitious? Make colorful cloth napkins from outgrown clothes.
Pink edges or sew simple hems.
87. Gather bag of old towels and cut some into pieces to use as rags.
Save on paper towels.
88. Start that ambitious vegetable garden.
By the time you've dug up rows or made simple boxes, the threat of frost will have passed (usually about April 15 in St. Louis. Tomato plants go in the ground after Mother's Day).
89. Scrub the grout on your kitchen floor.
A solution of vinegar and warm water with a stiff-bristled brush is a good way to start.
90. Learn how to make candles.
All you need is some wax, fragrance, a holder and some wicks. Or go on amazon and order a kit.
91. Read that pile of stuff.
Read all those magazines and newspapers you have piled up, saving for when you’ll have time.
92. Start your novel.
But don’t make it about a pandemic or an apocalypse or a dystopia. Those will be so overdone in a year.
93. Learn to bartend.
Many are drinking more, and it may be a skill you can use later for a job or a party.
94. Make freezer meals.
Sure, you've got time now, but some day your world will return to normal: work (not in your pajamas), running kids to and from practices, PTO meetings and nights out with friends. Why not use your time now to stuff your freezer with meals you can use later? Try our favorite recipes here.
95. Learn about a sport your best friend or spouse loves to watch.
Familiarize yourself with the rules, the signals and the players, then watch a few games on YouTube or one of the sports channels showing old games.
96. List things to sell.
Once you have gathered the things you don’t want anymore, take pictures of them and write descriptions to sell. List them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist with instructions on porch pickup. Or save items for later when we'll feel more comfortable buying and selling.
97. Read how-to manuals that came with your camera, computer or other gadget.
Put that new knowledge to use.
98. Rearrange your bedroom.
99. Have a book club meeting via video chat.
100. Make a long list of things to do.
Then put it in a drawer and take a nap.