Don’t you just love the weekend?

If you’re anything like me, your weeks are just so so SO busy! There’s school, work, errands, soccer, piano lessons, meetings, obligations—ack! Sometimes it’s hard to fit in quality time.

But the weekend–especially a three day weekend–is like a little gift. I like to think of it as a special “bonus” day where we get to treat ourselves to something we’d really like to do. It can give us enough time to do something productive we just can’t normally fit in during the week. Or it can be a reward after a busy week—that time we take to rest and recharge.

So the next time you have a free weekend on the horizon, whether it’s a holiday or just a day when school’s off, here are a few ideas to help you make the most of it!

Feeling productive? Start with #1.

Feeling like you need a break? Skip to #7!

Become a Weekend Warrior by tackling an organizing project.

1. Tackle an Organizing Project

Tackling a big organizing project over a three-day weekend can leave you with an enormous sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, when all is said and done. A long weekend is the perfect opportunity to address something you’ve been holding off on until you have more time.

This is a great weekend to organize your garage, deep clean your fridge or pantry, or really make headway with your closets. Whatever you choose, a full, extra day off gives you time to organize your plan of attack. You can even use this time to sketch out your organizing calendar far into the future to get your house organized and into the shape you desire most.

Eat that Frog and start with the project you dread the most. Is it the attic? Organizing the basement? Cleaning out the bathroom cabinets? Whatever it is, take a little time when you have a “free day” and get it done. Think of how relieved you’ll feel once you’ve taken care of something challenging!

2. Create or Review Your Budget

If you have a quiet third day off and you feel like you can finally address some paperwork, it might be a good day to start creating a budget. For those new to budgeting or wondering where to start to get your finances in order, a Monday or Friday off can really be a great chance to get a leg up on the project.

One thing to keep in mind: if it’s a three-day holiday weekend, making phone calls might be difficult as other businesses, banks, and bill collectors might also have the day off. However, if your three-day weekend falls on a regular ol’ Monday or Friday, then don’t delay!

Starting your budget can seem daunting, so setting aside an extra day when you can quietly examine everything and make a plan going forward really helps. Once you know the lay of the land you can figure out how to navigate going forward.

You don't always need to bring out your muscle to become a Weekend Warrior. Use the free time to do what you've been putting off, your budget.

3. Set Up a Planner

If you’ve ordered our Living Well Planner®, take advantage of your three-day weekend by scheduling a little time to really get your planner set up. You can add your own personal touches, schedule out your appointments and plans, and spend the whole day “playing” in your new organization tool.

Even if you prefer to use Google Calendar or an electronic organizer, your day off can give you a chance to look over everything, check out what’s on the horizon, and set up some appointments, goals and plans for the future. A three-day weekend is a great time to “catch your breath” and look at new ways to manage your tasks, plan menus, create your to-do lists, and more.

If you use apps or other tools to help you organize your schedule, the extra day off will give you an opportunity to get to know how to use them and ensure you’re taking full advantage of their utility. You might also want to use the day to update any software, organize your digital photos, and/or do some archiving and filing. Look at the three-day weekend as an opportunity to reset and move forward fresh!

4. Catch Up on Sunday Prep

I don’t know about you, but some Sundays go very fast for me—especially on weekends when we have other obligations, appointments and activities. As much as I love to use Sundays to prepare my family’s upcoming meals and do my freezer cooking for the week, some weeks…well…it just doesn’t happen.

A three-day weekend can be a great chance to do a little extra freezer cooking and create some make-ahead meals. Consider cooking up some extra soups and sides so you’ll have options on those weeks when things are a little lean. You might also like to prepare baked goods like cookies and bread, which always seem to take a little bit longer or require you go into “baking mode” instead of cooking.

If you’re working ahead on freezer cooking, consider making items like Buffalo wings, soups, dips, and party fare. It’ll save you from stressing out the next time an opportunity to entertain arises and you don’t have time to cook a big meal.

For more ideas on what to cook, visit our freezer cooking archives where there are plenty of options to get you started!

Nothing can make you feel more empowered as a Weekend Warrior than decluttering and having space to breathe!

5. Go on a Weekend Purge

A three-day weekend is a great opportunity for a “weekend purge” because you’ll still have an extra day to recover (or finish up the process). If you feel like you have a little too much “stuff,” taking time to start clearing and organizing can be a great three-day weekend project.

What’s a weekend purge, you ask? It’s a chance to get a leg up on decluttering and “unstuffing” your space. If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to make headway on organizing your life, but you aren’t sure where to start, a weekend purge is the ultimate opportunity to really take it on.

If this sounds up your alley, I’ve detailed the entire process in my book, Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul. Check it out!

6. Hold a Yard Sale

If you’re hoping to hold a garage sale, a yard sale, or even just drop some items off at the Goodwill or offer them for pick up on Craigslist, take advantage of your three-day weekend.

A yard sale often takes a good deal of setup and planning. Plus, once you’re finished, you’ll need to figure out what to do with the items that didn’t sell or that you plan to donate. Rather than trying to box everything up and put it away for another week (or month or year), take care of it right away on your extra day off!

A yard sale can be a great way to earn some extra cash and it’s a wonderful family project because everyone can help out and get involved. Once the sale is complete, you’ll be proud of what you’ve achieved together and you just might have a little extra money in your pocket as well. (Tuck it away for your next three-day weekend! After all, three-day weekends don’t come around that often!)

Become a Weekend Warrior by taking care of yourself and your family with a staycation!

7. Take a Staycation

If you can’t get away on a three-day weekend jaunt, it’s the perfect time for a “staycation” right in town. Staycations are so great! You get the opportunity to do something fun and local, and experience the often-overlooked right in your own town.

Set some “vacation rules” to really make your staycation feel like vacation. For example: no cellphones, email, TV, fighting, working, housekeeping or worrying! It’s a chance to escape, unplug and reconnect with each other. It can be a really renewing and refreshing experience and it gives us all that same post-vacation bliss we’d experience if we went out of town (without the expense and headaches of travel).

If you’re looking for staycation ideas, try checking out your local visitor’s bureau website, which likely offers great resources for your town. Museums, parks, theaters, zoos, aquariums, and even your local baseball diamond and library can be fun ways to build memories and see your town from a fresh perspective.

8. Hold a Craft Day

Who doesn’t love a craft day? I know my girls get behind any chance to get creative with mom! We’ve tried painting mugs, sewing, making playdoh, stamping, printing and cards (and there are plenty more ideas here).

A three-day weekend is a great chance for kids to refresh their artwork displays all around your house. It can also be a chance to create some crafts for other people. For example, if there’s a birthday or holiday coming up, try crafting some handmade gifts.

The wonderful thing about a craft day is that it really gets your creative juices flowing. Sometimes in the 9-5 of the workweek and school days, things become stressful and heavy. Taking time to indulge your creative side gives you a chance to feel calm, relaxed and refreshed.

Become a Weekend Warrior with peace of mind. Treat yourself to a spa day!

9. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Who doesn’t love a spa day? But a spa day sounds expensive, right? In the interest of full disclosure, I worked at a spa many years ago and many of the treatments can be easily performed at home and they’re just as rejuvenating (and much less pricey)!

Diffuse some essential oils to really create a spa atmosphere in your home. Try lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender. Play some soft music, get out your fluffiest towels, and put on your softest robes or jammies.

Don’t stop at just a facial or body scrub. Try treating yourself to a pretty manicure and pedicure, and take a long, luxurious bath…with bubbles, of course! Finish off your spa experience with some lemon water, herbal tea, and perhaps a square or two of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Mmm!

10. Play Games

Family Game Day is just about one of our favorite things to do together as a family. If the weather is nice, try outdoor games as well. You could try a good old-fashioned hide-and-go-seek, tag, or yard game to get everyone moving. If it’s a warm day, try shaving cream twister or blow giant bubbles. Have FUN!

Make your family game day festive with popcorn, bite-sized treats and game-friendly food. Spread your games out on the floor or put some comfy chairs around the table and really get into it.

The next time you’re lucky enough to have a long three-day weekend on your calendar, take full advantage and use it to accomplish something, get a jumpstart on a big project, knock off a project you’ve been putting off, or simply to treat yourself to a fun time with family. It might be your most productive (or relaxed!) long weekend ever!

Are you ready for the weekend? Life gets pretty crazy sometimes, and busy weekday schedules often leave us needing a little time to refresh and recharge. Whether you want to be super productive, have more fun, or just relax, don't miss these 10 smart ways to make the most of your next free days!

Ruth Soukup

Ruth Soukup - LIVING WELL SPENDING LESS. Practical solutions for everyday overwhelm. Food Made Simple, Life Etc., Home 101, Smart Money. Start organizing your whole life today!


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