52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life

by Mikey Rox on 22 February 2013 5 comments
Photo: cdedbdme

For this list, I’ve come up with not 20, not 30, not 40, but 52 weekend projects! That’s one project per weekend all year; no reason to complain about Saturday afternoon boredom anymore. All can help you identify a small problem or an unaccomplished goal and help you fix it or reach it. (See also: How to Have a Perfect No-Spend Weekend!)

Let’s get started.

1. Create a Monthly Budget

Get your finances back on track by creating a monthly budget that details all your expenses.

In listing your expenses, especially if they exceed the amount of money you make per month, identify items you can reduce or cut out altogether. Do you really need those premium cable channels (or cable TV at all)? Can you live without Internet? Can you cut back on heating and cooling somehow? Think of every possibility of whittling down your expenses so you can start saving more than you spend.

2. Do a Deep Clean of Your Home

You can do a deep clean of your home any time of year — it doesn’t have to be springtime — which will improve your life in many ways, from freeing up space that clutter used to occupy to providing a general feeling of happiness when you come home to a fresh, clean space.

3. Learn How to Change Your Oil

Learn how to change your own oil by finding a how-to video online or ask an in-the-know friend or family member. This valuable skill that can be accomplished in one weekend day will save you tons of money over your lifetime.

4. Take a Basic Cooking Class

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook, now’s the time. Find a local class for beginners and enroll. To become a decent cook, all you really need are the basics. After you’ve got those down, the rest comes naturally.

5. Organize Your Inbox

You’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief with a clutter-free inbox because you’ll no longer feel guilty for putting off replies and and avoiding projects that need to be completed. Delete expired messages, file away messages that need saving, and respond to outstanding queries. You can almost feel the weight being lifted, can’t you?

6. Try a No-Waste Weekend

This won’t be easy to do — and it’s something you’ll really have to think about — but it can be done. From paper and plastic to the food you eat, try to make it the entire weekend without wasting anything.

7. Purge Unwanted Clothes From Your Closet

Go through your closet this weekend and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or that you don’t (or know you probably won’t) wear anymore. When you have a pile, go through the items and decide what you can sell (brand-name accessories can do well on eBay) and what you will give away to a donation center.

8. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter

Even if you’re not actively seeking a new job, it’s never a bad idea to have your resume and cover letter up to date — just in case. Standards have changed a bit over the years, so it may be wise to research what’s acceptable and what’s not before you get started.

9. Start an Exercise Program

Get your bum off the couch and start sweating. Whether it’s indoors to an aerobics video or outdoors on your own accord, get back on the track to fitness.

10. Make a Monthly Meal Schedule

I started doing this in the middle of last year and it’s improved my life in two ways:

  1. I save a bundle at the grocery store because I only put on my list the ingredients I need to make the recipes I’ve chosen for the month.
  2. With my meals on paper, I don’t have to wonder what’s for dinner (a problem that leads many of us to eat out or order in unhealthy and expensive food).

I use a combination of recipes from Pinterest and photos from digital magazines to come up with interesting meals on a regular basis.

11. Attack Your Desk Clutter

Recycle unneeded papers, organize your rubber bands and paper clips, and hit your monitor and keyboard with liquid cleaner. The better your work area looks, the better you’ll feel working in it.

12. Learn How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Recycling is just the first step. Detail other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint — from the laundry detergent you use to the transportation you take to how many appliances and electronic devices you keep plugged in. There are likely lots of ways to cut back on waste that you’re overlooking.

13. Embark on a Mini Road Trip

Sometimes all you need to have a better outlook on life is a quick getaway. Plan a mini road trip with a friend or two and drive off into the sunset for a weekend away from your regular lives.

14. Host a Potluck

Invite a few friends over for good conversation and even better food. Suggest that everyone brings a dish for the party to share. Come up with a theme or theme ingredient to keep everyone on their potluck toes.

15. Find Ways to Maximize Storage at Home

Most of us are already maximizing our space, but there may be areas that you’ve missed — like space under the couch, an area at the top of your closet, or a corner of your pantry. A lot of times, just a new shelf or two can provide many square feet of extra storage.

16. Declutter Your Wallet or Purse

If your wallet looks anything like mine, it could use a good cleaning. Toss out expired cards, reduce the number of savings and loyalty cards (you probably don’t use them all), and file receipts.

17. Plan to Go Paperless

Going paperless is more than refraining from using your computer’s printer. Cancel catalog subscriptions, sign up for online bill pay, and find other ways to reduce the amount of paper products that come your way on a daily basis.

18. Join a Public Speaking Group

Afraid of public speaking? Master the art by joining a public-speaking group, like Toastmasters International, or enrolling in a course nearby.

19. Learn How to Play an Instrument

It’ll take more than a weekend to become proficient with the instrument of your choice, but it’s not a bad idea to make this a weekend project so you can devote a few hours to it in the beginning.

20. Give Yourself a Makeover

Do something different to your appearance that will make you feel better. Perhaps it’s shaving off your beard if you have one, buying a new outfit, getting a spray tan, or cutting your long hair short. If you’ve been thinking of making a change to your physical appearance, take the plunge.

21. Host a Yard Sale

Gather all that junk that you don’t want anymore and pawn it off on someone else. Set up a yard sale one weekend to help you make money instead of spend it.

22. Pick Up a Few Motivational Books

Having a hard time staying motivated lately? Find out why and how you can address it by picking up a few motivational books at your local library.

23. Learn How to Make a Daily To-Do List

I have a to-do list of projects that I need to complete every weekday. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get anything done. It’s hard to remember so much. If you’re experiencing a similar problem, start listing out your tasks so you have a guideline to follow moving forward.

24. Optimize Your Home for Productivity

Are there things in your home that are distracting? A noisy ceiling fan? A TV that’s constantly calling your name? Whatever it is, try to get these distractions under control so you can be more productive in your own home.

25. Volunteer to Help Clean Up Your Neighborhood

How does your neighborhood stay so clean? It’s not just the fine folks at the sanitation department doing all the work. Your neighbors are pitching in to do their part, which is why you might also want to lend a helping hand by joining local volunteer efforts. No local volunteer efforts? Start one!

26. Plant a Vegetable Garden

Planting a vegetable garden is not only a lot of fun, but it will give you a constant source of fresh, healthy, free food. There are few weekend projects that continue to improve your life and provide a source of satisfaction on a consistent basis as a vegetable garden.

27. Cut Down Your Devices

We’re all incredibly connected these days, but do we need so many devices? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to cut out one to two devices — like your iPad, for instance — and be content with only your computer and your phone. Make some extra cash along the way by selling your unwanted devices on Craigslist or eBay.

28. Finish Projects You’ve Neglected

If you’ve started a project (or two or three) over the past few weeks and months, revisit them and complete them for peace of mind.

29. Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors

Been a while since you’ve changed the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Change the batteries this weekend so you can be sure that they’re working properly.

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30. Make Thank You Gifts

People always appreciate being appreciated. If there are friends, family members, or coworkers who have done something nice for you lately, thank them with a homemade gift to show your gratitude.

31. Learn a New Language

Like learning to play an instrument, learning a new language won’t be accomplished in one sitting. But it makes for a good weekend project so you can give it your undivided attention in the beginning.

32. Set New Short- and Long-Term Goals

Everybody should have both short- and long-term goals to work toward. If you already have a few in place, reevaluate those goals to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not, get back on track or create new goals to achieve.

33. Abstain From Alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with a 72 hour self-imposed ban on drinking. Just think of all the things you can get done when you’re not hungover.

34. Eliminate Negativity From Your Life

Start with unfriending negative people from Facebook and take it from there. Surrounding yourself with negativity will only put you in a bad mood — and ain’t nobody got time for that.

35. Join a Meetup Group or Other Social Gathering

Increase your social circle by joining a weekend social group — like a brunch club from Meetup. You never know who you’ll meet and what kind of opportunities might come your way.

36. Interpret Your Dreams

Visit your local library and pick up a book or two on dream interpretation. Having insight into your dreams might help you feel less anxiety about your life and help you think of ways to eliminate that anxiety altogether.

37. Create a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Some people think I’m crazy for my disaster preparedness efforts. I’m not as serious as the people on TV, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. To make sure you’re prepared for a catastrophe, start stockpiling necessary supplies like food, water, and first-aid materials so you can ride out a disaster safely should one strike.

38. Consider Adopting a Pet

A pet is expensive to keep, so if your budget doesn’t allow this addition it’s not a good idea. On the other hand, if you can afford it, a pet can bring lots of joy to your life, especially if you’re a single person living alone.

39. Start a Blog

Like detailing your vacations or musing on the weird things that happen to you from day to day? Start a blog and entertain the world with your quirky take on life. If you stick to it and gain a following, a blog could possibly turn into an additional source of income.

40. Practice Yoga at Home

If you don’t have the extra cash for a yoga class, practice the art in the comfort of your own home by queuing up a video online or finding one on TV.

41. Let Yourself Nap

Some people might not think of this as a project, but I do. I have a very hard time napping in the middle of the day — even when I don’t have anything else to do — because I tend to feel guilty. Don’t feel guilty. We all deserve a nap now and then. So take one.

42. Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods

If you’d like to eat healthier, start by cutting out processed foods. It’ll be hard — everywhere you look there’s junk food — but it can be done. Toss out what you have now so you’re not tempted to eat it, and stick to a list of healthy, raw foods the next time you go to the market.

43. Bike to Your Errands

Instead of starting your engine to run your weekend errands, map them out so they’re easy to achieve by bike. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll also save money on gas and get a workout in at the same time.

44. Try a Detox Regimen

If too much junk food and alcohol are making you irritable and lazy, it may be time for a detox. Choose a weekend to cleanse so you can start Monday with a fresh slate and a clean system.

45. Spend a Few Hours Networking

Whether it's online via LinkedIn or Facebook or in person at a networking event, put in the time to get your professional skills and accomplishments noticed. If you're networking in person, be sure to have professional business cards — even if you don't have a job — so your new contacts will take you seriously right from the start.

46. Reduce Your Social Networks

There is such a thing as too much. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the social networks in which you take part — Facebook, Foursquare, Reddit, MySpace, Digg, LinkedIn — consider exiting a few of them. If you have friends on one but not the others, be sure to inform them that you’re leaving the network if you’d like to stay in touch.

47. Think of Ways to Be Kind to Others

One way to do this is to create a list — like many of the ones you find on Wise Bread — on ways you can show someone else kindness. After the first few, the ideas will start flowing.

48. Hydrate More Throughout the Day

Drink more water, and you’ll feel and look better. The old eight glasses a day advice is not exactly scientific, but it's only half a gallon, which is totally doable.

49. Register to Be a Mentor

Look into local organizations — like Big Brothers Big Sisters — and start making the necessary strides to become part of the program. There are few things more rewarding than being a positive role model for a young person.

50. Get Back to Nature

Take a day to enjoy the outdoors. Listen to the sounds. Smell the scents. Become whole again. You’ll probably sleep better that night, too.

51. Brainstorm Ways to Make More Money

Wish you had more cash? Make your dreams a reality by thinking of real ways you can make more money by picking up a part-time job, accepting one-off gigs, promoting your special skills, or selling unwanted-but-still-valuable items in your possession.

52. Do Something — Anything! — Besides What You Normally Do

Break out of your cycle. This weekend do something that you haven’t done before. There’s absolutely no better way to improve your life than to try something new. The world awaits.

What are you doing this weekend?

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Guest's picture

I got to say, these are pretty awesome project suggestions. Napping and going back to nature would be really nice. ;)

Guest's picture

I completely cut back on processed foods about two months ago and feel amazing. I've lost over 20 pounds, have an average BMI, and can think clearer than ever.

GREAT advice!

Guest's picture

I definitely need to get rid of unwanted clothes (i never remember, thank you so much) organize my wallet and un clutter my desk! So looking forward to my weekend now. lol

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Guest

Lost me at "carbon footprint."

Guest's picture

Great list of ways to improve life. If only each one of us would do some of these things, life would be a lot more worth productive and worth living.