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Four ways to make the most of your Sandy downtime

Distract yourself with these useful projects.

A lot of people are home this week as Hurricane Nor'easter Superstorm Sandy lumbers towards the East coast. Judging by Twitter, most people are planning to spend their time either getting drunk or high or both. And hey, those are valid options! But what if you want to use your time a little better? Here are some suggestions for useful time-killers that don't require electricity.

1. De-cluttering
This could be one of the best ways to spend your Sandy down-time. It doesn't require a lot of concentration, but it does require a lot of time and effort. And when there is a disaster looming that you can't do anything about, I find that it's helpful to keep your hands busy.
 
Pick a closet, a bookshelf, or even just one drawer. Sort the contents into three piles: Keep, Throw Away, and Donate. Finish the whole project at once, don't leave it half done. For Keep items, place them back neatly. For Throw Away items, bag these up and put the bag next to your front door as a reminder to throw them away the next time you go out. For Donate items, box or bag them up and set them beside your front door as well.
 
2. Read those magazines
I'm pretty sure every single person in America has at least a few magazines hanging around, to be read "soon." Magazines take up space, both physical and mental. And it drives me nuts the way they create slippery piles that are forever sliding off the coffee table.
 
Gather up all the unread magazines in your house, plunk yourself down, and get to it. If there are articles you want to keep, cut them out and set them aside. Don't keep the entire magazine just for one recipe or article! 
 
3. Turn around all the clothes in your closet
You've heard this trick, right? You turn around all of the clothes hangers in your closet. Every time you wear something, when you put it back, you put the hanger the right way.
 
Six months from now (next April), pull out everything that's still on a backwards hanger and donate it to charity.
 
4. Re-organize and clean out your kitchen cupboards
No matter how hard you try, your cupboards and pantry always slowly devolve into chaos. This is a good time to pull everything out, clean the shelves (Windex and a clean cloth work great), sort things, and put them back in an orderly fashion. 
 
This is a great time to pull and eat any canned goods approaching (or past) their expiration date, and to set aside canned goods for charity drives.