54 Productive Things To Do When You’re Bored

Productive Things to Do When You're Bored

Our priority at MoneySmartFamily is to help readers improve their finances and we partner with companies that could help you. Some links on this page are from our partners. Read how we earn money here.

There are LOTS of blogs written about fun things to do when you’re bored.  So, we wanted to put a new twist on that, and offer you a list of productive things to accomplish in this season of staying home more than normal.

We’ve broken this list of productive activities into 9 categories:

1) Money Activities (5 ideas)

If you’re bored, why not do something that will help you reach your financial goals? These ideas may take some time to complete, but once they’re done, you’ll be in a much better place financially.

1. Family Emergency Binder: Purchase and fill out the Family Emergency Binder on your computer …. it costs less than $40.

It’s will help you create a place to keep all of your important information:

  • Insurance Policies
  • Family Medical Information
  • Medical Consent Form
  • Guardianship forms
  • Investments
  • Banking Info
  • Military info
  • Memorial Service plans
  • Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Properties and more.

It was created by Chelsea Brennan from Smart Money Mamas. This is a great thing to update every year when you’re bored. It will protect and provide for your family.

If you live in a place where three are hurricanes, tornados, floods, blizzards, earthquakes, or any other natural disasters this is a must-have. 

If you live in an area that experiences severe weather or if you have a complicated family situation, a dysfunctional family, lots of assets, lots of children or dependents, lots of animals, this will really help.

You’ll be able to maintain a more stable environment for everyone if there ever is a family emergency or natural disaster.

Get your copy of the Family Emergency Binder here

Why You Need a Family Emergency Binder
This shows a printed version of the family emergency binder. Get your downloadable .pdf and start building your binder.

2. Set up a Budget There is nothing more exciting than to be paying off debt and having a large balance in your bank account. Knowing that we have money set aside for groceries, utilities, clothes, auto insurance, Christmas presents and so much more gives us financial peace.

Learn about the steps to setting up a budget here.

3. Quote Your Auto Insurance This should only take a few minutes if you reach out to our friends at Gabi. All you have to do is upload a copy of your current insurance policy and they’ll get you competitive prices from several other insurance companies. If it saves you $10 each month, that would be like earning an additional $120 each year (without paying additional taxes). Who would have thought that boredom could be so profitable?

4. Learn to Sell Things Online – by taking a free webinar (right now) from Rob and Melissa Stevenson – The Fleamarket Flippers. They make more than $80,000 each year by selling things they’ve purchased at garage sales, flea markets, and other places. They’ll teach you how to do it.

Flea Market Flippers family picture making $84000

5. Insurance Photos – Take photos of each room of your home and store them on a backed-up computer, in the cloud, or thumb drive that you keep in a location other than your home.

If your home is ever vandalized or destroyed in a storm or other natural disaster, you would have good information for making an insurance claim

2) Outdoor Activities (6 ideas)

These outdoor activities are a great remedy for when you’re bored. And when you start harvesting some of the things you plant or have friends over you’ll feel accomplished and proud—not bored.

  1. Take up Gardening.  Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be SO rewarding and SO healthy!  If you live in a place where frequent rain happens, this should be high on your to-do list. Obviously, if there are water concerns, grow the garden produce that is easy to grow in your area with the least amount of water.  Join FaceBook gardening groups where you can read and learn what is best to grow in your climate!
  2. Planting fruit and nut trees can be such an awesome way to not only feed your family but also friends, neighbors, and relatives! 
  3. Touch up paint areas on the exterior of your home. If you don’t have the exact paint color, take a chip of paint the size of a quarter to Ace Hardware, Home Depot, or Lowes and they’ll be able to scan it and mix a color to match. A gallon of exterior paint will cost between $15 and $40.
  4. Add mulch to your plant beds.
  5. Start a compost pile and recycle yard and kitchen vegetable waste. Read our Gardening Tips page to learn how.
  1. Landscaping Is the perfect thing to work on when the weather allows it. Not only clean up your property front and back, but plant things that will flower to feed the birds, bees, and butterflies. 

    And, add shade trees to help with summer utilities.  Or large shrubs as windbreaks or to insulate your house in the winter.  We love edible landscaping, but we know not everyone has time to process what they grow.

3) Organizing Activities (13 ideas)

We know that boredom doesn’t usually lead to wanting to organize something. Organizing does take a bit of brainpower. Take a small task to accomplish when you’re bored and if you get that done, try another.

  1. Reorganize sports/ workout equipment. Sell what you no longer need or use! Consider purchasing a FitBit from Amazon, so you can walk around your neighborhood in the morning with your dog. (As long as it’s safe.)  Everyone in America needs more exercise unless of course you already have a regular workout routine in place.
  2. Clean out your filing cabinet, or various piles of unsorted paper around your home. Even if you dealt with sorting even one pile every 3-5 days not only would your house slowly begin to look and feel more put together, but it feels AMAZING! (And, a sense of accomplishment of course!)
  3. Purge DVDs or VHS or digital files of movies you no longer watch or need. Donate, sell online, or put aside in a garage sale pile to do this coming fall or spring.
  4. Reorganize your linen closet!  Make sure you have 2 sets of linens for every room in your house. On the rare occasion everyone in your household comes down with the flu or something, you DON’T want to have to do impromptu laundry. Having two sets of linens means you can change the bed in no time at all!  If you have more than you need, add it to your garage sale pile or donate.

    Read about and watch a video of Annette as she explains how she organizes our linen closets.
  5. Clean out and reorganize your garage.  Obviously, this is weather-related. If it’s too cold (winter) or too hot (summer in AZ) this may not be possible.

    This task could take a whole month of weekends. You may even need to recruit help to make this happen smoothly.

    If helpers come, donating some items should be on your list. And, if you have time, make a garage sale pile for when weather permits.  For more info on garage sales check out these blogs.
    1. Guide to Hosting Great Garage Sales
    2. 9 Garage Sale Shopping Tips
  6. Clean out bedroom closets!  If your kids are grown and gone, call them to come to get their stuff! 

    Our rule has been that we would store our kids’ stuff while they lived in apartments. 

    But, once they got settled in a house, they needed to come to get their boxed up stuff. 

    Bring it over to their house if you need to!  Offer to host a group/ family garage sale at your house where everyone can come and sell their stuff!
  7. Clean out the music you no longer listen to, whether it’s a physical CD or digital.
  8. Go through the books you have.  Arrange them by author, topic, or in alphabetical order. Pull any you would no longer read and donate them or bring them to a used book store to sell. We have several locally-owned in our area such as ‘Bookmans,’ but there’s also a nationwide chain called ‘Half Price Books.’
  9. Go through old vitamins and herbal supplements.  Dump very old ones in your compost pile if there are no oils in them.
  10. Clean out and dispose of old prescription medications that have expired. Learn how to do this from the FDA How to Dispose of Unused Medication Page. Or drop it off at your local Walgreens or CVS—they both have medicine disposal kiosks near their pharmacy prescription counter.
  11. Go through old magazines and newspapers if you have them. Some sets of vintage magazines could be worth money and are worth selling online.

    You can also use the magazines to make inspirational vision boards to help you focus on your goals in an organized fashion, or save them for a fun arts and craft project for the kids or grandkids on a rainy day! DiyCrafts.com has 30 Ideas for Upcycling old magazines
  12. Clean your computer. Wipe down the keyboard, and monitor. Straighten up your computer desk too.
  13. Organize under the bathroom sink.  Old toothpaste, brushes, hair ties, appliances, Q tips, the list is quite literally endless.  It might be the longest time you’ve ever wanted to spend in the bathroom, but it will also be the most accomplished you’ve ever felt coming out of the bathroom!  

4) Things to do with Your Computer (5 ideas)

Of all the things to do when you’re bored, organizing computer files is probably the least physically taxing.

  1. Go through your digital photos and delete bad shots and rename and organize the ones you want to keep.
  2. Create a slideshow of your favorite photos and use it as a screensaver on your computer or smart TV.
  3. Create a printable photo book from your favorite photos. Get details from  Walgreens PhotoBook Page. They regularly run coupons for their photo department.
  4. Go through your email and get rid of any old emails and drafts!– Even unsubscribe to various newsletters you no longer read, so your inbox doesn’t continue to fill up.

    That way you’ll minimize the number of things you need to constantly declutter.  Create more digital folders in your program and web browser to help you continue to be organized. Read this LifeHacker article with lots of tips.
  5. Facebook: Organize your photos into Albums by year, event, or by person.
  6. If you create a lot of videos, buy a compact USB External Hard Drive and move all of your video working files onto it. This will clear up space on your computer’s hard drive. Steve bought a Seagate 8 GigaByte hard drive to back up our computer and store videos.
  7. Take an online course – lots of places like Udemy and Teachable have courses. But did you know that Airbnb, your public library, and even Walmart.com are now selling courses with experts? Many are very inexpensive.
  8. Delete old Audio Files things like audiobooks, and podcasts that you’ve listened to, but will probably never listen to again could be deleted, freeing up hard drive space.

5) Cleaning Activities to do When Bored (7 ideas)

Cleaning your car or parts of your house is a great activity when you can’t think of something to do. And the peace you’ll have looking at the cleaned area is amazing.

  1. Take your car to the car wash.
  2. Wash and wax your car or truck or any other vehicle by hand – it’s very therapeutic.  Do a thorough “detail” job by even vacuuming the inside. Clean out EVERYTHING that doesn’t need to be inside your vehicle.
  3. Wash your car’s floor mats using a carpet cleaner and our inexpensive DIY Rug Doctor Solution.
  4. Spot Your Carpets. Use water and a rag or our DIY spot remover for carpets and laundry.
  5. Shampoo any of the carpets in your house.  For DIY ideas and a cheap spotting and carpet cleaning solution read our “DIY Rug Doctor” blog. The recipe for the DIY Rug Doctor Cleaning Solution (25 cents per gallon) is amazing. Your room will smell fresher and your carpets will look amazing.
  6. Disinfect your doorknobs, light switches, and toilets around your home. You’ll feel so much better afterward.
  1. Deep clean your house!  Move furniture away (ask for help if you need it) from the walls and clean underneath.  Declutter, clean and polish like never before!  Even wash your windows … outside AND inside!

6) Kitchen Activities (5 ideas)

If you’re really bored, working in your kitchen can result in something super-delicious.

  1. Clean out your Refrigerator. Throw away those moldy “science experiments”, use up leftovers, or freeze small amounts and make Garbage Soup. You’ll be amazed at how much space you free up.
  2. Organize under your kitchen sink. Use plastic or cardboard shoe boxes or other small boxes to store extra sponges, rubber gloves, and other small items. If space is tight, stack these smaller boxes on top of your dishwashing detergent bottles.
  3. Try new recipes!  This is a great way to use up inventory from your freezer! Get lots of ideas from:
    1. MoneySmartFamily.com Recipes Page
    2. Pinterest Best Recipes from MoneySmartFamily
    3. You’ve got to try this easy CrockPot Lava Cake recipe – a sure cure for boredom.
  4. Inventory your pantry and kitchen and wherever you have cabinets, or wherever you store food. Bake something with one or several items that you find. Try that dessert you’ve always been wanting to make. Or that old family recipe that you’ve been saying you will bake, but haven’t yet.
  5. Inventory your refrigerator or freezer (or both)!  Make a list of odd ingredients that have been in there for a while … that are still usable. Things like: left-over frosting, seeds to sprout, dressing packets, and pickled veggies. Plan a meal around some of the forgotten ingredients you find!

    Get the free Freezer Inventory sheet here.
Freezer Inventory Worksheet
This is what our Freezer Inventory sheet looks like, We just use tally marks to record what we have in stock.

7) Home Improvement Activities (5 ideas)

  1. Paint one or more rooms in your house. Get rid of your bold colors and replace them with white, off-white, ‘agreeable-gray,’ or light blues and greens.  At least these are the colors that Annette has been seeing a lot when she watches most of the HGTV shows.
  2. Buy some houseplants to set near a sunny window! There are gorgeous plant stands to get them up off the floor if you need to!  Each plant you add will help filter the air in your home. And some will actually release more oxygen into the air. Plus the greenery looks so pretty. Some of our favorites that are easy to grow are:
    1. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum
    2. Mother-in-Law Tongue – Dracaena trifasciata
    3. Philodendron – Philodendron bipinnatifidum
    4. Thanksgiving Cactus – Schlumbergera truncata
    5. Christmas cactus – Schlumbergera x buckleyi
    6. Elephant Ear – Colocasia
    7. Peace Plant – Spathiphyllum

Learn more about the benefits of house plants from Bioadvanced.com

  1. Search Pinterest for redecorating project ideas like your bedroom, bathroom or family room.
  2. Change your window coverings.
  1. Your Patio: Declutter, reorganize or refurnish your patio. Look for new items on OfferUp, CraigsList and Facebook Marketplace. You might also find some great quality patio furniture at a hotel liquidator.

8) Relaxing Ideas (5 ideas)

  1. Put together a puzzle with no more than 1,000 pieces. 
  2. Download some Free coloring pages for adults. We have links to hundreds of free downloadable coloring pages here.
  3. Maybe even read a book! We have hundreds of book reviews on this page.
    1. Top Marriage and Family books
    2. Best Personal Finance Books
    3. Favorite Biographies
  4. Take a bubble bath
  5. Go for a walk at a nearby park or nature preserve.

9) Things To Do for Others When Bored (6 ideas)

  1. Start prepping for Christmas, NOW by crafting!  Sew some things, make flavored vinegar, soups, candles, chapsticks—the sky’s the limit here, so be creative!  Start with a hobby (56 interesting hobbies blog) like woodworking, and make hot plates, hanging racks, and wooden boxes, you name it!
  2. Write letters to parents, grandparents, elderly aunts, uncles, or even widows/ widowers.  Many older folks absolutely love hearing from the younger generation– It’s a lost sentiment that would make anyone feel special.  A phone call from out of the blue would make their day too!
  3. Run errands for an elderly family member or take them on a long scenic car ride. Consider joining Visiting Angels to help with the practical needs of veterans. Visiting Angels is a franchised organization and may not be in every state. But there may be other organizations that aid veterans or shut-ins where you can volunteer.
  4. Volunteer to organize at your parents’ houses or your kids’ houses if they are open to it!
  5. Check-in with family or friends using Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet
  6. Bake some sweet goodies for your neighbors – Check out our Dessert Recipes here
  7. Research your Family Tree and create a photo book that could be given to family members as a gift.
A List of Productive Things to Do When You're Bored

Wrap Up: Things to Do When You’re Bored

As you can see, being bored doesn’t mean becoming a couch potato. You can be productive and accomplish worthwhile goals when you don’t have other things to do. We know that it takes some mental and physical energy to do these activities, but the rewards of being productive and accomplishing something worthwhile making the effort feel well spent.

Who knows, your boredom may lead to the creation of a business that changes the world.

Leave a Reply