8 Things to Do When You’re Stuck Indoors

The days after Christmas and before New Years can be weird. All the anticipation and joy that led up to the December holidays is gone, but you’re still waiting around for January 2nd when life finally resumes as usual. Maybe it’s still winter break and your kids are home a lot more than you’re used to. Or maybe you’re still at your grandma’s house with your mom, dad and 17 aunts and uncles. Maybe you’ve made it back to your house, only to be faced with blizzard-like conditions that have you trapped in your kitchen.

While it can be easy to get sucked into the ennui that comes calling right around the 27th, now’s actually the best time to get into something new. A new year’s right around the corner, social engagements are limited and if you’re lucky, you might even have a couple days off work. If you’re planning on spending the day indoors, why not step away from the computer and throw yourself into a project? We’ve got eight ideas that will get you out of any funk.

1. Cook


Cooking is a always a good thing to do when you start feeling bored. I might be personally guilty of confusing boredom with hunger, but what I’m suggesting here has nothing to do with my bad habits. Cooking when you’re not hungry means that you’re actually able to take time to follow all the steps and make something you wouldn’t usually try. You can start with one of our four dozen Get Baked recipes or, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, try making these beer-flavored marshmallows. I made them with bourbon barrel stout and topped them with popcorn and they were incredible.

2. Add Glitter to Everything


I mean really, why not? You can add glitter to your keys, your shoes, your phone, your sunglasses and almost anything else you own that has a hard surface.

3. Clean and Organize


Spring cleaning is overrated. Who wants to spend time scrubbing their floors when the weather is finally nice after 3 months of winter? Since we’ve just gotten into the coldest part of the year, take some time to clean your nest so that you’ll be cozy instead of cranky. If natural stuff is your thing, you can even make your own cleaners.

4. Learn to Code

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Okay, so ideally you should be giving a computer a nap right about now, but if coding’s what you want to do, code away. You can learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, or Ruby with CodeAcademy and get the nerdy equivalent of Girl Scout badges along the way. Lana Turing mentioned CodeYear in her Queer Your Tech post a few weeks ago, but it’s such a cool program that it’s worth bringing up again.

5. Make a Beer Tote


What could possibly be more useful than a handsome wooden 6-pack tote for your beer? It even has a built-in bottle opener. If I ever get a cordless drill, you best believe this is going to be the first thing I make.

6. Soothe Your Skin and Hair

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Francheska Medina of Hey Fran Hey is a natural beauty superhero. She’s got videos for eight different lotion, deodorant and hair gel recipes along with tons of other vlogs on her YouTube channel that’ll help you get started moving from store-bought to natural products.

7. Grill Indoors


I have a confession: I have no self-control when it comes to tiny things. This tiny grill is powerful enough to cook a hamburger and little enough to fit in your pocket. One drawback: it’s made with an Altoids sours tin, a candy that the company doesn’t make anymore. You’ll have to look around to find a good replacement, but it shouldn’t be too tricky.

8. Learn to Sew


Knowing how to sew expands your wardrobe horizons past the ends of the earth. The shirt that fit except for those weird darts? Take them out. Those pants that were just a little too long? Hem them yourself instead of waiting on a tailor. Thrift store finds? Beyond easy to repurpose as something cute. Start with a small project like this tie wallet and phone case or this wearable version.

What are you weirdos doing to keep yourself busy this week?

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. i’m going to jump off an interstate overpass into traffic…or maybe off the golden gate bridge…life is awful :c

    • Please don’t. I know that we are perfect strangers and my words might not mean anything to you, but it’s okay for life to hurt. It hurts all the time, in so many ways, but it hurts because it means something. It’s worth something and I hope that you’ll continue on to discover what that something is to you. In case you feel like talking, here is the # to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255. Please take care. <3

    • hey there,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re in so much pain. remember, you’re not weak for feeling sorrow or pain, but so so very strong to be able to endure and survive.

      Since you mention the Golden Gate Bridge, I’m going to share some local Bay Area resources. I hope these are useful to you.

      Crisis Support & Hotlines

      Suicide/Crisis Hotlines (24 hours)

      Crisis Support Services of Alameda County: 800.309.2131
      Contra Costa: 800.833.2900
      S.F. Suicide Prevention: 415.781.0500

      Psychiatric Assessment Services (24 hours)

      Assessment and referrals to Mental Health Professionals: 510.151.5800 (each call is $4.00)

      Psychiatric Hospitals

      John George Pavilion (San Leandro): 510.346.7500
      Psychiatric Emergency Service (San Francisco General Hospital): 415.206.8125

      Berkeley Crisis Assistance (help with hospitalization)
      Mobile Crisis Team (10:30am – 11pm): 510.981.5254
      (8am – 4pm; Mon –Fri; non-life threatening crisis): 510.981.5244

      Berkeley Police Non-Emergency (after hours; 11pm – 8am): 510.981.5900

      San Francisco Crisis Assistance (help with hospitalization)
      Mission Mental Health (gay/lesbian specialty): 415.401.2700

      Crisis Lines

      Nationwide Suicide Crisis Hotline (24 Hour Crisis Line): 1.800.SUICIDE
      Alameda County Crisis Support Services (24 Hour Crisis Line): 1.800.309.2131
      Alameda County Access: 1.800.491.9099
      Contra Costa County Access: 1.888.678.7277
      San Mateo County Access

      Access team; Mon – Fri from 8am to 5pm: 1.800.686.0101
      Crisis; Psychiatric Emergency Services: 650.573.2662

      SF Crisis Line: 415.781.0500
      HIV Nightline: 415.434.2437 (5pm – 5am): 1.800.628.9240

      Those are all from http://www.pacificcenter.org, where you can find ongoing counseling sessions in Berkeley.

      If you need counseling in San Francisco, you can go to http://www.queerlifespace.org.

      Remember, you are very loved. You are special. You are very strong. There is so much support out there for you. If you need any help, or just need to talk, please message me.


    • You’ve been strong enough to tough it out all this time, you can be strong enough to pick up the phone and call any of those numbers up there. Someone knows how you feel, you just have to let them.

    • I know I’ve already replied, but since there’s not a way for me to message you to check-in, I’m going to leave my email here.

      please email me at queerly the best at gmail dot com (spaced out to avoid spammers). you have people who care about you and want to help, and help connect you to resources. I hope you’re ok. <3

    • Dear ausan, please hold on. And please please don’t do that. There are people that want you to stay. It may be impossibly bleak and horrible in your life at the moment, and no one can tell you how you should be feeling amidst all that. But please let us try and help fix it with you. It’s too easy for us queermos to lose each other to the bullshit of the world. Give us a chance to catch you.

      Those numbers above too are good- people who are on the other end are there because they care. If you want to message me you also can. Please consider talking to someone. You may feel like nothing may help at the moment, but you’ve made step one to reaching out- that’s great. Step two is there for the taking and I believe in you.

      • http://www.instructables.com

        Build desk-size medieval war machines, trial the greatest recipes ever, do some fully sick bike mods, turn a suitcase into a travelling picnic-table-with-music and impress every girl, learn how to safely set your hand on fire and impress every other girl (if they don’t think you’re too crazy)

        Never ever EVER be bored again.

        Ps. I haven’t set my hand on fire yet but the point is, it’s an option.

        • Also meant to post this at the bottom, gah. Mobile-formatted AS of the future, I will probs have your babies, FYI.

        • How have I worked in an office for five-ish years and never ‘desk-sized medieval war machines’ existed.

          So much time spent looking harassed and busy to cover the fact that I don’t want to talk to anyone when I could have just fire teeny catapults at them…

          • I feel like knowing more about catapults is a natural extension of being called Cat. I am pleased to have been part of this education. Also, the terrorising of your workmates?

            ps. if office warfare is in your imminent future then you should definitely be looking at the ThinkGeek page dedicated to that here: http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/

            I personally think the USB powered missile launcher sounds fun.

          • That is amazing.

            I think the screaming flying monkey appropriately conveys how I feel about my office/about a quarter of the people I work with. I don’t know how management are going to feel about it, but it’s going to make my days a whole lot better ;)

    • I also finished buffy! now I’ve moved on to watching angel, but his broodiness is starting to bore me, so I began rewatching buffy. Maybe I’ll try out Firefly.

      • Try? TRY Firefly? As in, you haven’t actually watched it yet at all ever?? If you can handle/like/love a space themed Western that makes no bones about being anything but, then, please try all the Firefly! It’s so good and why they cancelled it is beyond my comprehension.

  2. painting! minus glitter.
    And writing letters to everyone at home (with new quill pen =) ) since I didn’t get to see my family this holiday

  3. My week is all home repairs and interior design. I’m reupholstering an ottoman using the cute video tutorial by Shelly and Anna from No Man’s Land, and replacing my crap showerhead with a better one.

    • That is never a bad use of time. If it’s so bad it’s funny, it gives you something to make fun of. If it’s just plain terrible, you have plenty of “I can do better than that!” inspiration. If it’s good… well, then it’s its own reward.

  4. do you think that grill makes a lot of smoke? it is so cute and i admire it and i really want to make one veggie burger at a time.

  5. No way! Since being stuck in the house due to blizzard-like conditions, I’ve started to learn how to code. It’s fun. Next, I plan on mastering the mandolin :D or at least learn some chords…

  6. Learn to sew. Learn to sew. Learn to sew. Seriously guys, the possibilities are endless. The only downside is that I don’t have my own sewing machine, so that means every time I visit my parents, I spend the entire time sewing on my mom’s 35 year old Singer that’s been rebuilt twice after my dad used it on sail covers. Works out pretty well, ’cause there’s not much else to do around here.

      • Choose your own adventure is a java tute. It may or may not involve Batman. I love the sense of humour the lesson writers have.

      • I did java, but I literally didn’t know anything about coding when I started, so I chose it because it was listed first.

    • I still need to finish my college application, but once I finish that I am going to marathon Buffy since I got the whole series for Christmas.

  7. I have a small stockpile of altoid sours tins (I honestly don’t know why I collected them), I may have to make one of those grills to do smores on.

  8. Love this list, though I will stay clear of coding for fear I may explode my dear sweet computer.

    Also, I remember a similar quote thrown at me as a kid. From my tart godmother, in response to my incessant whining of not having any kids to play with, “Well, find something, do SOMEthing. Only boring people get bored. If you’re bored, you’re not paying attention.” Hah. Needless to say I went outside and extended my treasure collection of rocks that looked like faces.

  9. I’ve been taking some much needed ‘me time’ (or being a llama as Cx. Tiara calls it. Good one!) I’ve been bouncing between different partner’s homes, I’ve been so busy that I actually haven’t slept in my own bed for a week! Polyamory is fun but I just need to be an introvert sometimes or I get anxious and depressed.

    Tonight I took a long bath with a sparkly bath bomb my girlfriend gave me, lit incense and spent the whole evening reading my new Christmas books. Tomorrow I’m getting pizza and watching my big stack of new movies after I take care of the dishes. So good!

  10. When I’m bored I mostly just google “what to do when you’re bored” until my roommate comes back from his various extra-curriculars.

  11. for the love of god laura have you STILL not received a cordless drill?!?! this is very upsetting news.

  12. I take leftover wine or any wine I got for Christmas that I won’t drink and various leftover fruits and make wine jams and jelly’s. Super easy. Super yummy.

  13. I’ve been cooking spaghetti sauce and freezing it for the last 2 days…cooking is a curse and a blessing.

  14. Sadly and depressingly I have to study for my exams in January. And when I can’t concentrate = Autostraddle

  15. Glitter really does make everything better in my world. :) I’m no grill master, but I’m curious about that little grill. I’m kinda scared though because knowing me, I might find a way to either blow something up or set something on fire. The DIY on here is awesome…..things I never would’ve thought of.

  16. I want to glitter my keys right now! I cannot believe I never thought of doing this before!I will be able to tell all of my keys apart!

    Also, thank you for the coding website. I’m going to have fun with these. Also, the natural beauty remedies will come in handy.

  17. I am never bored, I just go into my Darkroom and turn on the music and process film…or; swim my azz all the while inter erupting my training to say hello to everyone…..I mean Everyone and get their history…loads of fun and get coffee dates with all.

  18. Based on the picture on the home page, I thought the answer was going to be “drink.”

    Can I do that anyway?

  19. I wish I knew what being bored is. As a full-time college student with two jobs during grad school application season who also has to feed and launder a house of people, I would do desperate things to be bored enough to make that adorable teeny grill. because I could have fresh hamburgers in all situations. I mean, really. I need it.

  20. I did the glitter keys yesterday!!
    Since I have no arts & crafts suplies but way too much nail polish I simply put two coats of coloured nailpolish on my keys and one coat of glitter nail polish.
    Just make sure to let them dry as long as possible over night (for exmaple hanging from a nail, so they don’t get stuck on anything).

    I love the result!! So fancy:

  21. I’m obsessively learning how to play harmonica, drinking lots of apple cider and red wine, and eating ferraro rocher chocolate.
    This is helping me to curb my university application anxiety. I can’t handle not knowing what i’m going to be doing this same time next year. Getting drunk off of cheap wine helps me delude myself into thinking that if everything else fails, at least I will become an amazing harmonica player and hopefully start a one person band, with lots of cute girls fawning over my harp playing skills(even though I am terrible and can’t even play mary had a little lamb)

    • Harmonica is one of the sexiest sounds ever. (Although it’s totally weird that I think that, since my dad plays. Hmmm.)
      I’ll fawn over you.

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