25 Productive Things to Do on a Rainy Day


As I'm writing this, I'm staring out at one of the dreariest days I've seen in a while — it's early fall cold outside, with a consistent driving rain that'd be perfect for the protagonist in a romantic film to stand in, yelling at the man she loves so fiercely.

There are, however, more productive (and drier) things to do on rainy days than simply standing in the cold rain and shouting heavenward. If you're stuck inside on one of those gray, drizzly days, here are 25 ways to make the most it. (See also: 25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today)

1. Make a Savings Goal, and Start Working Towards It

This can be as involved as taking a long, hard look at your finances or as easy as putting $5 in an envelope labeled "vacation fund."

2. Reorganize Something

From straightening up the house to getting your computer in order, this list of 25 organizational changes you can make today should give you plenty of ideas.

3. Try a New Hobby

Research how to start a new hobby you've been interested in, and if possible, go pick up supplies and dive in.

4. Or, Pick Up an Old Hobby

My knitting and embroidery supplies have been sitting untouched for entirely too long. If you have an activity you enjoy but haven't touched in a while, a rainy day is the perfect time to pick it back up.

5. Cook Ahead

Get ready for the upcoming week or month by preparing some soup, bread, casseroles, or other foods that can be stored in the fridge or freezer until needed.

6. Refamiliarize Yourself With Your Pantry

Pantries can be incredibly useful...or they can easily become homes to forgotten ingredients. Take stock of what you have in your pantry, and either cook something with what's there, or make plans to use the items in the upcoming week.

7. Weed Out Your Closet

How many outdated, ill-fitting, or otherwise unused pieces of clothing do you have in your closet? Take a ruthless look, and pull out the items you don't wear. Then make plans to have a clothing-swap party with your friends.

8. Try Some New Exercises

From yoga to body-weight strength-building exercises, there are plenty of indoor exercises you can try.

9. Make Life Plans

Take the time to clearly write out your life goals, whether they're for career, family, health, or even just little projects you want to work on. Defining what you want to do is the first step to getting it done.

10. Journal

It might seem unproductive, but journaling can help you take stock of where you are, decide where you want to be, and work out tough problems.

11. Catch Up on Correspondence

Owe someone an email? Dragging your heels on thank-you notes? Just thinking of someone who might appreciate a call, letter, or even something as simple as a text message or Facebook post? Make it happen.

12. Clean

It's a classic. You should do it anyway. If you're already good at keeping things neat and tidy, give a deep scrub to a room or two.

13. Try a New Recipe

Rainy days are especially great for recipes that take a while — even if it's not active cooking time. Bake a yeast bread, whip up some sugar cookie dough that has to sit in the fridge, or set some baked beans to slow-cook in the oven. Or make something fancy and complicated that you always feel like you don't have time for. Plus, if you make enough, you'll have leftovers for the rest of the week.

14. Order In, and Use the Time You Would Be Cooking to Do Something You Don't Want To

Indulge in a bit of comfort food — always nice on a rainy day — and then use the time you would have been cooking to do something not-so-fun, like scrubbing the tub, reorganizing a particularly persnickety junk drawer, or sorting through a big pile of papers.

15. Let Someone Know You Care

This effort can be big or small, difficult or easy. Tell someone you care, or show it by doing something nice.

16. Make Appointments

Get on the phone or internet and get appointments scheduled — whether it's for the doctor, at your salon, or with a friend you've been meaning to meet up with.

17. Pay Your Bills

This is pretty straightforward. Get your bills together, and get them all paid. If there are any bills you could put on auto-pay that you haven't already, consider switching them over.

18. Review and Update Your Budget

Take the time to see if your budget has been working for you. Adjust accordingly.

19. Start Preparing

Start preparing for anything. A race. A trip. A task. Just because you're not on deadline doesn't mean you shouldn't start now. Get things done early, and worry less later.

20. Move Your Living Space Around

If you've been feeling tired of your living space, trying moving around what you have before buying something new.

21. Bake Cookies

They warm, they're comforting, and they're classic. Don't want an entire batch? Freeze a log of the dough — cut into individual cookie-size slices — so whenever you want just one cookie, you can pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven.

22. Make Cards or Gifts

Don't be surprised by birthdays you didn't realize were coming up — if you keep a supply of homemade cards and gifts around, you're always ready to celebrate someone's special day with frugal, from-the-heart gifts.

23. Work on a Side Gig

If you already have a way to bring in extra money, spend some time working on it. Or if you don't, research ways that you could earn some extra cash.

24. Weed Out Your Facebook or Twitter

If you have no idea why you're following certain people on Twitter or are sick of your acquaintance's constant bragging updates on Facebook, go through your social media and unfollow accounts or set Facebook to not show updates from people you aren't interested in.

25. Sleep

Not productive, you say? Okay, if you get enough sleep every night, no, sleeping more isn't productive. But if you're the type of person who's chronically under-rested — which can negatively affect your weight, your alertness, and your productivity levels — a rainy weekend day is the perfect time to sleep in. Then, after you wake up well-rested, attack the rest of this list!

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Guest's picture

Great tips! I always love finding new ways to be productive. I would suggest paying your bills on a regular schedule (so as not to forget), but still a productive option if you want to get ahead. My favorite of the 25 is the cookies. I can never say no to a warm cookie. :)

Guest's picture

Living in the Pacific NW, the next 7-8 months will be one long rainy day.

Guest's picture

great list! though much of it sounds like work to me - which is what I get caught up in when it's rainy out and I have to stay in the house. So, I would like to add... read a book - I don't think I saw that listed. And buy rain gear - which is what I intend on doing. I'm tired of rain keeping me indoors. (we don't get it too often and makes me wonder how those people in Seattle get anything accomplished outdoors?! :) Happy Fall!

Guest's picture

I love taking a rainy afternoon and clean my apartment. A good deep cleaning of the bathroom and kitchen. The best is washing the bed sheets so when the day is over I get to slip into bed to that amazing clean fabric smell. Cheesy and simple but it's what makes me feel good about a rainy day.

Guest's picture

Great article, delightful. Except: bake cookies in the oven one at a time? Not frugal unless you are using your oven for domestic heating anyway!

Guest's picture

This list killed my inner child.

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