How to amuse yourself when you're snowed-in
January 21, 2016 5:24 PM   Subscribe

A blizzard is coming my way and it looks like I'll have three or so days by myself in my apartment. Any ideas for how to not get bored?

It should be snowing Friday night to Sunday morning. I plan to go outside to clean off my car occasionally throughout the day, but most of the time I plan to be inside. I'll also be working remotely part of the day, but I know that I'm going to be desperately bored at night if I don't come up with new things to do.

Ideas so far:
-Start a new TV show (not applicable if I lose power, obviously)
-Organize my apartment // pick things to give away
-Watch the snow
-Read a difficult novel

I need more ideas! Especially for things I can do by myself.

Other notes:
-A few things are in walking distance, including a Walmart and parks.
-I don't want to drive anywhere, nor will public transportation be running.

posted by tooloudinhere to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Color, do fun(ny) hair and make up on yourself, personal dance party, mini snowmen on the windowsill, walk outside in the fresh snow and draw a penis with your footprints, yoga/ stretch, catch up with friends on the phone who are likely home from work, play solitare, get drunk and cuddle up in all your blankets.
posted by raccoon409 at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

Videogames. Write letters or postcards to friends. Work on projects you've been putting off like home repair or knitting. Start learning a language, or going through some kind of tutorial - painting, sewing, etc.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:35 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The big snow is hitting me, too! Here are some things I'm thinking about:

Do you have friends or family you want to send Valentine's Cards to? You can get those written and ready, or make some

If you have a pile of magazines sitting around, go through them and save only the pages you want to keep (recipes, ideas, etc.) and organize them

Give your fridge and microwave and shower a good deep cleaning

Read some *fun* books or novels--maybe a graphic novel

Make a calendar of special birthdays/anniversaries/things to celebrate for people in your life. Maybe walk to Walmart to purchase cards for the next several months

Pick out some new recipes to try from your cookbooks. (you don't have to make them, just choose some for later)

Get your tax info ready and prepared (list banks where you have interest, any investments to report, jobs where you'll have a W2, or organize self-employed paperwork

Update your budget. Make sure to account for irregular expenses like haircuts, car insurance/personal property tax, etc.)

Get a face mask from the drug store or Walmart and put it on

Put thick hand lotion on your hands and cover them with cotton socks while you watch a movie (with a dvd and charged laptop)

Take a hot bath or shower

Remove snow from the neighbor's sidewalk and/or from a random car as an act of kindness

Take a walk in the snow, measure it, look at your street, notice how quiet it is. Stay out until you're really cold, and come in an snuggle in a blanket with hot chocolate.

Enjoy the snow!
posted by shortyJBot at 5:39 PM on January 21, 2016 [8 favorites]

Learn about the parts of your home and life, and maybe how to fix them, make better use of them, or how to find/order pieces if they break.


- parts of a doorknob, both inside the house and on the front/exterior door
- all the pipe parts under the sink
- parts of a refrigerator
- what to do if your toilet won't stop trickling
- what is the metal part that holds the car tire on?
- what is the name of the style of furniture that you especially like?
- study a map of a nearby place that you might want to visit (in town, or next town over) and maybe choose a restaurant or shop to patronise
posted by amtho at 5:44 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Invite a bunch of friends over for a blizzard party! Build indoor forts, make french toast, make snowmen and snow angels and have snowball fights! For a really big project, make an ice igloo.

You can still do these things solo too.
posted by danceswithlight at 5:45 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Private dance party!

Make mixes on Spotify/etc.. Maybe music you liked as a teen or on a specific topic (all songs titles are names! Or reference space! Or I don't know!).

Make friendship bracelets! Of course, you'd need the supplies for these, but ... any kind of simple, fun kid-like craft project (salt dough? paper snowflakes? origami?) can be a good way to pass the time.

I also like picking movies on a theme -- all spy movies! movies with Audrey Hepburn! -- and watching them until I run out or get bored.

Reading books I haven't read in a while or just going through my bookshelf is fun too. If you have a vast music collection, listen to all your albums in alphabetical order or something.

Write letters longhand (or send long emails) to friends/family. I don't recommend calling people just because I'm not a phone person, but call people and catch up.

Is there a project you need to make some progress on? I know that's always easier said than done, but I do find times like this is a good way to force me into doing things I want to do but haven't set aside the time for.

(I will also be snowed in! I don't even have a Walmart within walking distance!)
posted by darksong at 5:50 PM on January 21, 2016

Start learning a new language! Duolingo is a good place to start (free app or website) but I would recommend complimenting with other sources as well, although that's not as necessary at the very beginning.

You mentioned cooking, I would say cook something that takes all day/2 days and is cozy and comforting as well. Like a really good slow cooked lasagna. Yummmmm.

And....catch up on things you need to do. Cleaning/organizing/decorating/painting/bills/etc. Not as fun but it feels good to get those things in order.
posted by sillysally at 5:51 PM on January 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by mskyle at 5:58 PM on January 21, 2016

My favorite thing to do when I have unlimited expanses of time is to take apart my household appliances, clean each bit, and then put them back together. You get to draw diagrams of each step, so that you remember where things go, and at the end you have either a better operating piece of equipment, or more knowledge of how it works, or both.

Also, I like to use dreary Saturday afternoons to cook recipes like Marcella Hazan's bolognese or anything that Joe Pastry made. Especially croissants.

Organize ALL THE THINGS. January is great for putting every birthday, anniversary, and special occasion on your calendar; for adding reminders two weeks prior to those events to get a card/gift/flowers; for adding reminders about your insurance and dentist appointment and car registration renewal. Get all that shit out of the way so that you can float through this year.

Also, I would go through this thread about things adults do and just do...all of them. My part of the country isn't due to get much snow, but I wish it would so that I could do all of those things.
posted by punchtothehead at 6:05 PM on January 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

- In the morning, before breakfast, freshly brewed coffee while going down the rabbit hole of your favorite internet reading. Take as long as you like.
- For breakfast, make these "American style" scrambled eggs (a single egg totally works in a small pan on low-to-medium heat, bonus points if served on buttered sourdough toast; double bonus points if you shave some sharp cheddar into the pan right after you add the eggs)
- For dinner, roast a whole chicken and serve your favorite part with mashed potatoes and gravy (no better aroma on a snowy evening, plus lots of leftovers) Bonus points if you halve the butter in the potatoes and substitute the same amount of cream cheese.
- Re-read a favorite novel that you haven't looked at in at least two years. (Bonus points if it's Jane Austen.)
- Consider doing something productive, then decide not to.

ETA: wine with the chicken!
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:11 PM on January 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Online exercise or dance videos.
Online karaoke.
Some kind of craft.
Call people you haven't talked to in a while.
Wander around aimlessly, doing whatever catches your attention.
Make yourself a hot drink and/or an elaborate cocktail.
Try on everything in your closet and come up with new outfits.
Try to do a headstand.
Grooming/beauty routine.
Sketch something in your home, or out the window.
Take a long bath with music playing.
Do you have any gifts that you've been given and have never used? Now is the time.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:35 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Charge everything at all times. We frequently lose power in bad storms.
Download a book from audible. Download podcast.
Go out and take lots and lots of pictures of the snow and weather.
Find a restaurant in walking distance that you've never been to.
Got a shovel? Go help shovel out some strangers!
I vote don't clean your fridge/freezer. If power goes out you want them as cold as they get so things don't spoil. (and have foods you don't have to open the fridge to get to keep the fridge cold as long as possible.

Get some bird food and go feed the birds in the park. With a deep ground cover it's tough for the birds to find food.
posted by ReluctantViking at 6:43 PM on January 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

Make snowflakes! Tape to your window, or send to friends in warmer climates.

Make soup or pasta sauce, something that improves with long simmering.

Do a yoga DVD and spend an extra long time in shavasana.

Go through one drawer/junky section of your apartment/closet and pick 5 things to give away or trash (if they wouldn't be useful to anybody else).

Use art supplies that you've been saving for 'someday.'

Do a 20-minute bodyweight workout (situps, jumping jacks, planks, etc.) then take a warm shower. Put on lotion when you get out, then wear clothes you really love.
posted by tuesdayschild at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2016

Best answer: My plan is to make a nice dinner, and then knit while watching all of the movies nominated for Academy Awards in order of most nominations. We basically never lose power, but if we do, I have candlelight and a copy of Mary, Queen of Scots. In the morning, coffee and more of the same.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:14 PM on January 21, 2016

Organise your house and throw away things you don't need and be honest with yourself about it. Pick up a copy of Caverna to play by candlelight (omg I must do this!)
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:28 PM on January 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Buy a pair of dumbbells tomorrow morning and start on some light weights. Keep at it as the snow melts.
posted by yclipse at 7:33 PM on January 21, 2016

youtube dance tutorials
posted by poffin boffin at 7:52 PM on January 21, 2016

Waiting for the blizzard here too. Being stuck at home is a great opportunity to do some living space maintenance. Dusting in places you normally don't (tops of door frames, lintels, etc) and to do some organizing of kitchen cupboards, closets. etc. That's my plan, and to read and watch TV that I have been putting off. Maybe re-watching Twin Peaks.

I also have a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle to build, if the power goes. It can be really zen, especially if you can play music during. The last time I was snowed in, I went through all my old choir sheet music and spent several hours singing, which was fun.
posted by gemmy at 8:44 PM on January 21, 2016

Buy some white vinegar and other cleaning materials like maybe a brush and a sponge. Do some deep cleaning in your bathroom/shower, kitchen.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2016

Smoke a fatty and watch sports on TV.
posted by AugustWest at 9:15 PM on January 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Teach yourself calligraphy. Learn to hand quilt. Cross stitch.
posted by vunder at 9:51 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

If the power's still on, play simple browser games (sudoku, minesweeper, incremental clickers, whatever). This isn't productive, but it'll eat up long stretches of snowed-in time, which is good enough. Don't do anything on a device that isn't plugged in and charging.

Baking is a good snowed-in activity, and you get delicious treats for the weekend! If your kitchen is well-stocked, you probably have all the ingredients for blondies.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:53 AM on January 22, 2016

Best answer: Uh, Reluctant Viking, if the power blows during a snowstorm, I've never worried about stuff spoiling. Throw any food that you're worried about into a garbage bag and put it outside til the power comes back on! It'll be cold enough out there, I'm sure.

In terms of storm prep, I make sure to have fresh batteries for the radio, lots of candles and flashlights around, bottled water and food that tastes good cold, and maybe a thermos or two filled up with hot water. I also visit the liquor store and library prior to snowstorms..
posted by peppermind at 4:00 AM on January 22, 2016

I'm about to face the storm too. I also saw a mouse chillin' on top of my TARDIS cookie jar last night. Thus I'm going to be giving all of my kitchen cabinets and pantries a good emptying, sorting, and cleaning, a process which always also results in me making discoveries like "I have a whole unopened package of Thai curry noodle soup seasoning? When did I get this?...." The good news, though, is that I usually move from that on to "well, hell, let me USE some of this stuff," and I end up starting a couple of big make-ahead food projects that use some of the stuff up ("hell, I've got a bunch of random vegetables, lemme turn 'em into soup with that seasoning"). So I'll probably finish with the cleaning by noon, and in the afternoon I'll be turning to baking and stews.

You've already thought about baking. Start with the pantry deep-clean and it may spark some invention on the baking front, and you'll end up doing a good house chore as well. In fact, here's a tip - if you uncover a bunch of random half-empty packages of chopped nuts, some dried fruit, and chocolate - even, like, half-eaten Hershey bars - you can make candies by melting down all the chocolate together, throwing in the chopped nuts and fruit, and then dropping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and letting it set. Try to get about a pound of chocolate, a cup of chopped nuts and a cup of dried fruits. (I did that with the last pantry clean, and they turned out pretty good.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:54 AM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I always make long lists of productive things I plan to do during this kind of downtime. Sometimes I even get to them... but not often.

Instead, I'd plan on having at least some stuff you find soothing available. Fun novels. Crafts if you find them relaxing. Shelf-stable, room-temp-servable foods.

Also, if you can, I'd suggest a battery-powered LED headlamp (if they're still available in stores) so you can read even if the power goes out. Keep your electronics fully charged at all times. Maybe put some water up in the kettle/tub, just in case... I know it's rare for metro areas to lose water pressure, but if there's always the possibility that your water plant will lose power and they'll issue a boil water order.

Also, make sure you've got a battery-operated radio (and headphones if needed, the ones with headphones use less battery power) so you can keep in touch with what's going on without using your cell battery. It can sometimes get pretty claustrophobic after hour 14 with no power or internet and it's nice to know how things are in the outside world.
posted by pie ninja at 5:31 AM on January 22, 2016

Now, before you lose power, make sure you have fresh batteries in your flashlight, and a dozen or so good candles (and a good candle-holder, not something that can tip over). There's nothing like reading library books by candlelight—distraction free.
posted by blueberry at 5:59 AM on January 22, 2016

Also, that battery radio is loads of fun to scan. Discover stations you never knew existed. At night, the AM band has lots you can't hear during the day.
posted by JanetLand at 6:54 AM on January 22, 2016

I am cleaning out my basement at the moment, reorganising my tools-and workshop area and making a bunch of shelving from scratch (okay, snow but not "snowed in". But still, revenge, ye spiders! Very satisfying winter activity).
posted by Namlit at 7:02 AM on January 22, 2016

It's always fun to do something kind of active - maybe look up how-to videos for a dance form you're interested in.
posted by aimedwander at 7:22 AM on January 22, 2016

Read or knit/crochet. You can do both by a window during daylight if you lose power.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:04 AM on January 22, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks guys! These are all great suggestions. Now to start on that baking ...
posted by tooloudinhere at 11:24 AM on January 22, 2016

Best answer: Am I the only one to think about work? Do a creative or personal or side hustle project that takes lots of uninterrupted time.
posted by 3491again at 11:27 AM on January 22, 2016

Cook something complicated with lots of butter in it!
posted by oceanjesse at 11:48 AM on January 22, 2016

Best answer: Ooh - indulgent body-care types of things are good too.

The early part of my day tomorrow is going to be taken up by Defense Against The Mouse Hordes (my roommate and I are seriously getting into this, we even have THEME MUSIC), but I'm pretty sure that sometime late in the day tomorrow, a Bubble Bath With Exfoliation And Perfumed Lotion Afterward will happen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:05 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pick something that you have a lot of them and don't necessarily use them very often (this might be clothes, shoes, books, records, digital files, condiments, yarn, etc.), then go through your collection and find some things to sell/donate/recycle/trash/etc.
posted by box at 5:50 AM on January 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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