Frugal Ways to Stay Sane Indoors

by heather

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a season then you know I’m not a fan of January, February or March. I’m an outdoorsy, open-window kind of gal, and being shut up indoors for months on end is really just a slow form of torture.

And I know I’m not the only one to feel this way. If you live in the snow-battered Northeast, then you have my heartfelt sympathies. The weather forecasters are calling for 8-12+ inches for Detroit on Tuesday too, so we’re all in the same boat.

Chances are you’re feeling like I am right now…you’ve got a serious case of cabin fever. You’ve watched all your movies, you’ve knitted your scarves, and you’ve organized your closets twice.

And we’ve still got two more months to go.

I started brainstorming some fun activities for myself today, and thought I’d share them with you.

1. Have an Indoor Campout

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, why not have an indoor campout? Set up a tent, drag all the plants into the living room, and start a fire. Turn out the lights. You can roast weenies, make S’Mores, and tell ghost stories.

You could also play this great YouTube video of owls to make your campout sound more realistic.

2. Workout

I’ve got a treadmill, a jump rope and a yoga mat. Who needs a gym?

There are plenty of great indoor workouts you can try, plenty that don’t even require equipment. Getting your heart pumping also releases endorphins, which will make you feel better about being stuck inside.

3. Try a Fun Activity

Go bowling, visit a rock climbing wall, set up an indoor obstacle course for your dog, hula hoop in your den, have a Hawaiian Luau….dream up something fun or outrageous and just do it!

4. Throw a Pot Luck

Your friends are probably just as antsy as you are. Why not throw a pot luck? Pick a theme, like French cooking, or go vegetarian. There are plenty of great potluck dinner ideas that can make the cooking cheap and easy.

You could also throw a progressive dinner, which is really fun if you are friends with your neighbors. The idea is simple: everyone draws straws for a course (drinks and appetizers, soups, main entree, dessert and coffee). The night of, everyone gathers at the home of the first person for drinks and appetizers, and then they “progress” through the neighborhood for each course.

Of course, meals are premade and prepped so that when everyone arrives, all the host has to do is warm everything up. This way everyone has a minimal amount of work to do and the entire group can enjoy a full-course meal!

5. Tackle a Challenge

Have you always wanted to read all the Pulitizer Prize winners? Or, see every movie that won an Oscar for Best Picture? Or, learn how to knit a sweater?

I know it’s tempting to feel ambivilant this time of year. But if there’s a goal or challenge that interests you, why not do it now? Don’t focus on finishing…sometimes that can make it feel too overwhelming. Instead, focus only on starting, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

6. Have a Dance Party

Dancing is a great exercise, and it’s also super fun. Why not blast out to your favorite band?

7. Build a Terranium

I love terraniums, and they’re an awesome way to get your hands on green things and dirt when it’s 20 degrees outside.

You can make terraniums out of almost anything, which means they’re a great way to upcycle glass jars or old aquariums. There’s a great tutorial for making your own terranium here.

8. Have a Wii Olympics

I know the Wii gets a bit old after a while. But we all have a bit of competitive drive, and the Wii can be great fun again if you host a Wii Olympics with your friends and neighbors. Put something on the line (like a prize) so that everyone has a reason to win.

Last Word…

Do any of you have some fun ideas to keep yourself from going crazy this time of years? If so, I’d really love to hear them!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

heidi January 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I’ve taken cuttings from neighboring pomegranate trees (with permission!) and have been gradually turning the living room into a greenhouse since it’s too cold to be outside – the cuttings are mostly still brown, but some have teeeeeeny little green buds and that’s all the spring I need! Otherwise, I’m using plants (and some innovative rag-propped-up-on-a-stick engineering) to add humidity to the house for some climate control goodness =)

Also rigged up some sweet ‘thermal’ curtains (old plastic summer picnic tablecloths? Oh yes!!)

I’d love to hear what other folks are doing! Please not sewing, I’m homesick for all those materials still aren’t moved in yet!

Caitlin January 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Well, there’s blogging of course. But I’m also taking advantage of the extra time at home to finish projects that have been on my to-do list for months.

For example, my office/hobby room became the “dump it in there” room when I moved in and in the past year and a half I never had time to really make the room what I wanted. Since I’ve been spending more time at home I’ve been organizing, cleaning and decorating the room to be more welcoming and user-friendly. Hopefully I’ll actually want to enjoy the space when I’m done!

Jan @TWOwomenANDaHOE January 31, 2011 at 6:34 am

Even though the weather does not allow us to garden, this is the perfect time to plan your garden! We provide a “Get Your Garden Going” seminar which gets people going and puts everyone in the think spring mood!

May all your gardens grow!

heather February 7, 2011 at 10:17 am

Hi Everyone, thanks so much for writing in! I’ve been travelling so I’m sorry I’m just now responding to your comments. 🙂

@Heidi, I love the idea of taking cuttings! I completely forgot about doing that. There’s a forsythia bush right up the street (in an abandoned lot) so cutting some would be a great activity and would bring some color in the house. Do you know if you need to wait closer to spring in cold climates (I’m in MI) to do that?

@Caitlin, organizing is a great winter activity because none of us want to do it when the weather is nice. 🙂

@Jan, I’m planning my spring garden too! I’ve been getting seed catalogs in the mail and looking through them is pure pleasure.

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