Frugal Winter Projects Perfect for Cold Days

Right now it’s 80 degrees in Los Angeles (sorry, not trying to rub it in), but it’s below freezing in other parts of the country. When it’s too cold to go outside, it’s easy to get bored inside. It’s also easy to turn on the computer and go shopping online. Here are a few indoor winter projects that will keep you occupied and away from the online stores.

De-Clutter Your Home
Now is the perfect time for a de-cluttering binge (I won’t call it spring cleaning.) Start in the section with the smallest amount of clutter as a warm up, then go through the whole rest of the house throwing stuff away. Check the kitchen cabinets and rotate older canned goods to the front. Make a plan for the meat tucked in the back of the freezer. Donate those clothes that will never fit again. Toss the ugly knick knack aunt Myrtle gave you.

Bake Bread
Nothing smells better than fresh bread baking in the oven. It’s time to break out your flour and make your own loaf of bread. Serve it with a simple soup for dinner. You just might discover a new love.

Pamper Yourself
Brew some tea, draw a hot bath, and apply a facial mask. Now lay back and relax in the hot tub. Let all your winter worries drift away. Bonus points for soaking with a good book.

Sort the Bookshelf
Or the DVD rack. See if you can get rid of any of them. You could do this as part of an overall de-cluttering project, or just sort them as a standalone project. Post the books in good condition on or make a note to take them to a used book store.

Sort Your Box of Photos
I’m one of those hated people who actually puts her photos in albums promptly. Each major trip has its own album, and family photos have an album, too. Most people aren’t like me, though. You don’t have to take up scrapbooking, but you probably have a nice photo album laying around the house. Sort through your photos to find the best shots, then put them in the album. Toss any that seem redundant. If you have a lot of old photos, consider scanning them and storing them on a CD or thumb drive that you keep in a safe deposit box.

Finish Your Half-Finished Projects
Got a model boat that you never finished? Are you midway through knitting a pair of socks? This is a perfect opportunity to finish all of those projects. If you never plan to finish them, throw them out. Unfinished projects are useless clutter you don’t need in your streamlined life.

Burn Your CDs onto an iPod
This assumes you have an iPod or other digital music player. If you do, burn those CDs onto the computer and then load them onto your iPod. If you don’t like a CD enough to burn it (excluding holiday CDs you only listen to in December), then maybe you don’t need to own it. Take it to a used record store to trade in for cash.

Clean Out the Tivo
We just got a DVR and already it’s recording things I didn’t ask it to. I like things neat, so I’ve gotten into the habit of regularly deleting. If you or your device recorded a lot of shows that you haven’t had time to watch, either watch them now or delete them. Chances are good they’re online or will soon be available for rental on DVD anyway.

Once you get going, you’ll probably think of even more projects you could be doing right now. If it’s too cold to go outside, take advantage of the time to do something productive. If you don’t want to be productive, then just spend time with the family. Whatever you do, don’t get through the winter blues with shopping – online or otherwise.

How are you keeping yourself occupied in the dead of winter? Share in the comments.

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