How to Pass Time at Home

Whether you’re still locked in quarantine or you’ve got an unexpected snow day from school, you may be sitting around wondering, “What can I do with all of this free time if I can’t go out?” While it’s super easy to just sit there and scroll through Instagram for a few hours, there are tons of more productive and interesting ways to spend your evening. The goal here is simple—find something stimulating that will help you get into that state of flow where time flies by. If one of these ideas doesn’t solve your problem, give it a break and try something else!


[Edit]Express yourself through art.

  1. Flexing those creative muscles makes it easy to get lost in yourself. Whether it’s creative writing, doodling, or playing an instrument, self-expression can be therapeutic. On top of that, you’ll have something brand new to show off once you’ve finished your project![1]
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    • It doesn’t even need to be traditional art; knitting, woodworking, and singing are all great ways to get creative!
    • You can always print out some adult coloring book pages and just fill them in if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require drawing an original image from scratch.

[Edit]Give yourself a research project.

  1. Take a deep dive into a subject that intrigues you, but you don’t know a lot about. If you’ve got a few hours to kill, spend it learning something new. Go online and search for the topic you’re interested in. Pull up any articles you come across and get to reading, or watch a video on the subject. Scan through multiple sources at your leisure. If one paper or video doesn’t strike you as interesting, move on to something else![2]
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    • If you don’t know what to research, give wikiHow’s front page a scan for ideas! You can also hop on WikiRoulette to pull up a random Wikipedia articles for inspiration.
    • Try to be as specific as possible to pull up the most interesting results. For example, don’t try to research “history.” Search for “the fall of the Mongol Empire,” “15th century economic models,” or something like that.
    • Researching the history of the area you live in can be a super interesting way to go!

[Edit]Learn a new skill.

  1. If you’ve got time to kill, why not pick up a new talent? You could start learning a new language, or follow some tutorials online to learn origami. Mastering a magic trick is also a great way to spend some time, and you’ll be able to impress your friends the next time you see them! Alternatively, you could finally clear out the garage and set up a woodworking station, or watch a tutorial to finally learn how to change a tire.[3]
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    • There are tons of free classes and lectures online if you feel like learning something more substantial.[4]
    • You could also learn how to whistle with your fingers, do a cartwheel, or learn some fun dance moves.

[Edit]Reach out to an old friend.

  1. If you’re feeling a little lonely, call someone you haven’t talked to recently. When we’re busy, it’s easy to forget to reach out to loved ones. If you have a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while, call them up! Ask them how they’re doing and catch up. Let the conversation flow organically. If someone doesn’t pick up or the conversation ends early, give someone else a call![5]
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    • Actually call them—don’t just fire off some texts. Sitting around waiting for people to respond to texts may make time slow to a crawl, and it’s much easier to get lost in a good conversation over the phone.[6]

[Edit]Give yourself a cooking challenge.

  1. Break that takeout cycle by finding something interesting to cook. Take a look at what you’ve got sitting around in your pantry and fridge. Tons of chicken breasts to get rid of? Search for new chicken recipes online. Tortillas about to expire? Look for new Mexican recipes to try out. Get creative and try to craft something you’ve never made before to stay engaged and pass the time.[7]
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    • On top of the fact that this is a great way to kill some time, cooking always ends with eating. Your results are sure to be delicious if you’re taking your time on whatever you’re making!
    • Looking for inspiration? Scroll through wikiHow to find some fascinating recipes to try.

[Edit]Get lost in a good book.

  1. Reading is a productive and entertaining way to spend an evening. This is an activity that checks all the boxes if you’re trying to pass time. It’s good for your mind, it’s interesting, and it’s really time consuming. Either open that book you’ve been waiting to get to, or crack open an old favorite and get to reading![8]
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    • If you’ve got some reading you need to get through for school or work, now is a great time to get through it.
    • If you don’t have any interesting reading material laying around at home, go online and download a free ebook!

[Edit]Play a game.

  1. Whether it’s solitaire or Call of Duty, what’s more fun than a game? Don’t feel bad about “wasting time” on a game. Playing puts you back in touch with who you are, and games can be a phenomenal form of self-care. Just make sure that you get up every once in a while so that you aren’t sitting in one place for super long.[9]
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    • If you feel like being social while you play, online multiplayer games are a great way to spend the afternoon.
    • Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are phenomenal brain teasers that are sure to keep you occupied for a while.[10]
    • There are tons of free online chess platforms if you want something that will stimulate you mentally.

[Edit]Catch up on some must-see movies.

  1. A good film is a great way to occupy 2-3 hours of your day. You could pull up some classic film you’ve never seen, or check out that recent Netflix original movie everyone has been talking about. If you’ve got a watchlist on whatever streaming platform you use, scroll through the titles and find the movie that’s been on the list for the longest. You can even just scroll through random movie channels if you prefer.[11]
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    • If you’re looking for a good classic, check out the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest movies of all time to find a flick that’s worth the time. If you still haven’t seen Citizen Kane, this is a great time to catch it!
    • If you’ve got a subscription for Netflix or Amazon Prime, go online and use Rotten Tomatoes to pull up a list of every film available on the platform of your choice. Then, click the menu option at the top of the page to sort the films based on their rating. This is a great way to quickly find a quality film to see!

[Edit]Binge watch a show you missed.

  1. Tired of everyone talking about that show you’ve never seen? Fix it! Let’s be honest, binge watching may not necessarily be the most productive way to spend a chunk of free time, but it’s definitely a top tier solution if you’re looking to burn through some hours at home. Got a show you’ve never seen that everyone seems to love? Give it a shot and see if those hours don’t melt away.[12]
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    • Binge watching TV isn’t the healthiest thing to do, but if you’re really not in the mood for something productive, it’s okay to turn into a couch potato for just one day.[13]

[Edit]Clean your home.

  1. Break out the cleaning supplies and refresh your living space. Start by throwing in a load of laundry, then get to work throwing things out and clearing items off of the floor. Organize your desk, sweep, and clean the windows. Really get in there and take on those cleaning tasks you typically skip during normal cleaning sessions. This is a great way to make a few hours pass.[14]
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    • A lot of people find cleaning to be cathartic and relaxing.[15] If you aren’t one of those people, at least your home will feel less cluttered or dirty when you’re done so that your next activity feels even better!

[Edit]Purge your pantry.

  1. Clear out any expired food in your pantry and fridge. This is one of those cleaning tasks that people tend to forget about, and it’s a great way to kill some time. Digging for all of those expiration dates and doing some food inspection can be time consuming. Don’t forget to throw out any old takeout boxes in the fridge![16]
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    • If you plan on cooking later, this is also the perfect opportunity to take stock of the ingredients you have on hand. If you’ve got a few items that might expire soon, set them aside so that you can see what you can put together using those ingredients!

[Edit]Free up some closet space.

  1. If your closet is full, now’s a great time to press the reset button. Go through your wardrobe and take out anything you never wear, and set aside anything that doesn’t fit anymore. Place the clothes in a garbage bag and set them near your front door to donate them to charity the next time you go out. You’ll free up some space in your closet, and you’ll give yourself a great excuse to go shopping for some new clothes![17]
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    • Feel free to reward yourself with some online shopping after you’ve set some clothes aside for donation. Your fashion ideas will probably be flowing after you’ve cleaned your closet, so this is a great time to scout out some new outfits.
    • There are tons of nonprofits, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, that will take your old clothes. Many cities even have clothing donation bins if you feel like trekking the clothes somewhere now.

[Edit]Rearrange your room.

  1. Give your living space a makeover by doing some redecorating. If you’ve been struggling to fall asleep at night, try putting your bed in a different position. If you’ve been yearning for some more interesting desk space, move your furniture so that your work space is in front of that sunny window. This is a great way to give your home some fresh energy and new vibes![18]
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    • This is also a great time to play around with different plant configurations, or create a gallery wall full of old photos or art you’ve been meaning to hang.

[Edit]Catch up or get ahead at school or work.

  1. Whether it’s homework or work emails, there’s no time like now! Working ahead to meet some deadlines early is one of those things everyone wishes they’d do, but rarely does. Turn the productivity up to maximum levels and work your way through your email inbox. Then, pick a time-consuming task that’s due soon and get started. If you get stuck or start losing steam, pause what you’re doing and try a different assignment or project.[19]
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    • If you’re behind on anything, do that first instead of working ahead.
    • This is the perfect time to clear out that old folder full of already-graded school assignments. If you’re working, this is a good time to clear out and update your planner.

[Edit]Break a sweat with an at-home workout.

  1. It’s easy to be sedentary when you’re stuck at home, so get moving! Break out the yoga mat and throw a recording of a yoga class on your computer or TV, or just do some stretching while you listen to some tunes. If you have any exercise equipment, grab your weights, jump rope, or resistance bands and get some reps in.[20]
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    • This is a particularly good idea if you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut. If you’re passing time at home, it’s easy to lean into some unhealthy behaviors, and exercising will give your metabolism and mood a major boost that’ll bring your spirits up![21]
    • You can also throw a little personal dance party to get moving. Throw on some upbeat tunes and just boogie by yourself. This is a fun way to get your heart rate up!

[Edit]Putz around on YouTube.

  1. There’s something for everyone on the world’s biggest video-sharing site. YouTube is a great catch-all when it comes to time killers. There are tons of great content creators on the platform, and if you’re looking to learn, laugh, or cry, there’s a plethora of options. This is an especially good option if you feel like watching something but you’re tired of the same old TV shows![22]
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    • Crash Course, Ted-Ed, and Extra Credits are educational channels with tons of interesting and digestible videos. This can make it easy to kill some time while bettering yourself!
    • Want to pick up a new hobby? Check out Urban Gardening to learn about plant care, or Sam the Cooking Guy for tips on cooking.
    • Looking to catch up on the news? Vice, Vox, and Inside Edition all publish interesting pieces on what’s going on around the world.
    • First We Feast is an addicting interview channel if you want to learn more about celebrities.
    • Feel like laughing? Check out College Humor, Gus Johnson, or The Onion. There are tons of stand-up comedy clips on YouTube as well!

[Edit]Do some financial planning.

  1. Yes, it’s not super interesting, but it’s important and takes time. If you don’t have a concrete budget, now is a great time to make one. If you don’t have a retirement account yet, research IRAs and apply for an account with the bank of your choice. Financial planning is one of those dull tasks that people often put off or forget about, but you’ll be much happier if you finally cross this one off of your to-do list![23]
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    • Learning about the stock market can be a helpful and productive way to spend your time.
    • Submit your info at to see if you’ve got any unclaimed accounts, lost 401ks from previous jobs, or free money sitting around anywhere!

[Edit]Related wikiHows


  5. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.
  8. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.
  9. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.
  14. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.
  18. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.
  22. [v161140_b01]. 21 November 2019.