21 Ways to Make the Most of Leap Day

Wondering what to do with that extra day? We've come up with 21 ideas that are practical, rewarding and probably overdue. 

By late February, most people have moved on from their New Year's resolutions, and dreams of an organized home or a major clutter purge have been pushed away to next year. But this year, we’ve been given a special gift: more time. Every four years, we actually get an extra day, and that means more time to devote to making our clutter-free, deep-cleaned, ultra-organized dreams a reality.

Leap Day

Leap Day

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/Craig Dingle

©iStockphoto.com/Craig Dingle

So what if this year’s extra 24 hours happen to fall on a Monday? My suggestion: take the day off and make the most of it. Do the things you always want to do but never seem to have time for. This is a free day! Don’t treat it like any old regular calendar day. This is Leap Day, and Leap Day is magical.

1. Create a Gallery Wall

Green Eclectic Sitting Room With Gallery Wall

Green Eclectic Sitting Room With Gallery Wall

One of the most important factors in giving a room personality is the proper selection of art. This doesn’t require spending a lot on gallery works, but rather a keen eye. This gallery grouping was made by searching local flea markets and vintage stores for a mix of colorful and neutral pieces ranging in shape, size and subject matter. After spacing them out on the floor, the collection was hung on the wall with a consistent amount of space left between each piece.

Photo by: Sarah Dorio & Rustic White

Sarah Dorio & Rustic White

So you've been collecting art, framing family pictures and just waiting until the perfect day rolls around when you have the time to really focus on your gallery wall … the time is now! We know it can be a bit daunting, but with some expert tips and a little pin-worthy inspiration, we know you can do it!

Find Your Inspiration

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2. Make Room for a Home Office

Small Home Office

Small Home Office

Matt and Jodi sought the help of a designer friend to give purpose to the open space just off their apartment's entry. In order to use this as a private office space, the area needed to be separated somehow from the dining and living room areas.

Whether you work from home on the regular or just need a space to go through paperwork and keep the house running, it doesn’t take an extra bedroom to have an efficient home office. In fact, you might be surprised just how cheap and easy it is to turn even the tiniest space into a hard-working home office. And with the right attitude, we bet you’ll be marking this one off the to-do list by the end of the day.

Find Space Anywhere

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3. Clean Your Mattress

Blue Wicker Bed with Dog

Blue Wicker Bed with Dog

Round mirrors and man's best friend accentuate the cozy feel of this coastal master bedroom. A wicker bed frame encases the mattress, while a soft wall color and wicker bed create a peaceful summer retreat.

Photo by: Eric Roth Photography

Eric Roth Photography

People spend almost one third of their lives in bed. So just washing your sheets and pillows isn’t going to cut it if you want a clean, healthy spot to lay your head down at night. Unfortunately, this is one task that often gets overlooked. You should regularly run the vacuum over your mattress to suck up allergens and dust mites. Take this day to start a healthy, new routine.

4. Build a Fire Pit

Fire Pit

Fire Pit

Whether you buy one or build your own, adding a fire pit to the yard or patio creates an elegant and cozy focal point for your outdoor living space.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Shayne Newman

Image courtesy of Shayne Newman

Depending on the weather, this may be the perfect day to finally head outside and build the fire pit of your dreams. Come springtime, you’ll be so glad you did.

Make This: Brick Fire Pit

30 Gorgeous Styles

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5. Set Up a Recycling Station

BPF_original_outdoor-storage-recycling-center_beauty-b_4x3

BPF_original_outdoor-storage-recycling-center_beauty-b_4x3

Add shelter and organization for recycling and waste bins with a recycling center made from basic building materials.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

You know how you always want to recycle but just don’t have the space? No more excuses. Make recycling easy and convenient with a designated area for your paper, plastic, glass and even compost. And the best part is that this recycling station won’t take up any of your precious indoor space. 

6. DIY Cleaning Products

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

This is one of those projects that will improve your life in multiple ways. Not only are homemade cleaning products healthier for you and better for the environment, they’ll also save you money in the long term. The only issue is actually sitting down to put it all together. Make that a priority today and rake in the benefits for the rest of the year.

7. Feed and Repot Your Houseplants

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa

plant in ceramic vase on wooden table with modern sofa at home

Photo by: Khongkitw

Khongkitw

It’s recommended that most houseplants be repotted once a year. Whoops! If you’re guilty of leaving your precious plants a little too long, this is the time to make it up to them. It’s also a great time to step up your planter game. We’ve got a few recommendations.

16 Bold Planters

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8. Makeover Your Medicine Cabinet

ODOC-medicine-cabinet-after-close-up_s4x3

ODOC-medicine-cabinet-after-close-up_s4x3

If empty tubes of toothpaste, old prescription bottles and scattered makeup brushes rain down whenever you open your medicine cabinet, today is the perfect day to sort through what you actually need and what needs to be tossed. If you really want to make an impact, consider giving your cabinet a decor upgrade with a little help from House Counselor Laurie March.

9. Customize Your Staircase

Anthony Carrino with His Ombre Stairway Accent

Anthony Carrino with His Ombre Stairway Accent

For a more subtle staircase accent, create a trendy ombre look like John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino (pictured) did here on HGTV's Cousins Undercover. Start at the bottom with a favorite hue, then add a little more white paint to the mix each time you move up to the next riser.

From: Cousins Undercover

Photo by: Tricia Messeroux © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. OWNED - No limitations on time/term, territory or media as long as the images are o

Tricia Messeroux, 2013, HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. OWNED - No limitations on time/term, territory or media as long as the images are o

Paint a runner, add quirky numbers in varying sizes or create a cool ombre effect using your favorite paint color. No matter your style, Leap Day is a great day to give overlooked spots a little attention.

Step Up Your Stair Game

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10. Finally Start Composting

Get more tips

Will It Compost? 01:38

From coffee grounds to newspaper, find out these essentials will compost.

You might be surprised just how easy (and cheap!) it is to build your own compost bin. So stop putting it off, and start saving those scraps for a healthy garden year after year. 

11. Organize Your Craft Room

The built-in cabinets provide plenty of space for storing and organizing tools and craft supplies in the craft room, as seen on Fixer Upper.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

With ribbon, fabric, paint pens and so much more to keep track of, it’s no surprise that craft rooms tend to be disheveled and totally unorganized. But a little organization now will make future projects so much more relaxed.

Creative Storage Ideas

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12. Refresh Your Bookcases

Stacked Books and Decor

Stacked Books and Decor

One trick for boosting an item's stature, literally and figuratively, is risers. "These come in handy for varying the height of the things in your shelf composition and help draw attention to a particular piece," she explains. Use books stacked on their sides as platforms, wood or lacquer boxes as pedestals and compotes, cake stands and other risers to help stagger heights and bring your accessory arrangement up to snuff. Design by Emily Henderson.

From: Secrets From a Stylist
and Secrets From a Stylist

DIY a pair of new bookends, organize by color or add in a few new tchotchkes. For an even bigger impact, consider adding a fun pattern to shelf backs.

Bookshelf Decorating Tips

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13. Clean Out Your Fridge and Pantry

Original_Toni-Hammersley-pantry-organization-beauty_s3x4

Original_Toni-Hammersley-pantry-organization-beauty_s3x4

Expired cans? Mystery meat? Stale chips? Buh-bye. Bring a little order back to the kitchen by ridding yourself of outdated items and reorganizing what’s left in a way that puts everything on display. It never hurts to give the inside of the fridge a thorough cleaning either. Try this method to really make it sparkle.

14. Make Your Own Pet Treats

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

For canines who are peanut butter fans, this homemade dog treat gets a double dose of nutty goodness from the batter and the creamy frosting.

Why not use your extra time to pamper your pups with homemade treats that are packed full of nutrients! And with tasty recipes like peanut butter delight, strawberry shortcake and cream cheese biscuits, we know you’ll find a treat that will delight your pooch. And don’t forget the kitties. Try this tuna cookies recipe for your feline friends.

15. Organize Your Laundry Room

Laundry Room With Stylish Storage Containers

Laundry Room With Stylish Storage Containers

If your favorite dryer sheets' package clashes with your color palette, transfer the contents into a container that's more in line with the decor. Stacy Risenmay of the blog Not Just a Housewife chose an old metal box that adds the perfect patina to her laundry room.

Photo by: Not Another Housewife

Not Another Housewife

Since you’re normally too busy doing the laundry to worry about organizing the laundry room, take this day to clean, organize and personalize your cleaning space. It only takes a few changes in this small space to make a big impact, but you might be surprised how much an organized space improves your mood when it’s time for the next load.

Quick Tips for Organization

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16. Build a Raised Garden

Cheap Raised Garden Beds

Cheap Raised Garden Beds

Raised beds are a convenient way to make the most out of your garden.

Photo by: Mick Telkamp

Mick Telkamp

It may still be a little while before you’re ready to plant your garden, but it will sure be nice to already have a raised garden bed when the time comes. Still on the fence about this popular gardening style? Get inspired by these 17 beauties.

Make It for Cheap

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17. Start Your Seedlings

Easy Eggshell Seed Starters 01:15

Learn how to give seeds a happy starter home by planting them in recycled eggshells.

Depending on what you’re growing, this might be the perfect time to start your seeds. And if you’ve never done this before, we’ve got a few pointers for starting your little seedlings off on the right foot. If you need any more incentive, seed starting is a smart way to save money and offers more variety for your garden.

Fun Seed-Starting Projects

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18. Clean Out Your Closet

Adjustable Closet Storage System

Adjustable Closet Storage System

To get a high-end customized look on a low-end budget, use systems like Cincinnati-based Organized Living’s “Freedom Railway.” These easy-to-install systems, available from organization-focused retailers, are perfect for the not-so-handy man. Shown here in cypress, the rail system includes adjustable drawers and shelving.

Photo by: Organized Living

Organized Living

Time to purge. With the capsule wardrobe trend on the rise and Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up still surging in popularity, jam-packed closets look more sad and overwhelming than ever. Why not take this free day to get down to business and get rid of some stuff?

Creative Closet Storage

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19. Clean Out the Junk Drawer

Clever Organizers: Can the Clutter with Can Drawer Dividers

Clever Organizers: Can the Clutter with Can Drawer Dividers

Get control over small odds and ends by nestling clean tuna cans into a drawer. Each little compartment can store thumbtacks, rubber bands, clips, or twist ties. Say goodbye to junk drawers forever!

And while you’re on that organization high, make your way to the kitchen. It’s time to clean out the junk drawer. Need a little guidance? Follow our simple steps for a kitchen organization system that works for you.

20. Organize Your Paper Clutter

Woman Shredding Receipts From Paper Stack

Woman Shredding Receipts From Paper Stack

Certain items like monthly bank and credit card statements, monthly mortgage statements and paycheck stubs can be tossed after one year. Tax documents, W-2 and 1099 forms and year-end statements from your bank or credit card company can be tossed after approximately seven years. But there are several important documents that should be kept forever and appropriately filed away. These items include all annual tax returns, receipts for major purchases that you still own, year-end summaries from financial services, home improvement records and beneficiary designations. And depending on whether you claim a home office deduction on your tax return, items such as utility statements, sales receipts, credit card receipts and bank deposits and ATM receipts can be shredded and tossed each month.

Photo by: Martin Poole

Martin Poole

Bills, school permission slips and kids’ artwork have a way of piling up on us. But nothing compares to that feeling you get when your mail is sorted and all other paper clutter is out of the way. You want that feeling, right? Follow our guide to get rid of the mess, and watch your stress melt away.

How to Clear the Clutter

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21. Decorate for St. Patrick’s Day

If this is one holiday that usually flies by before you know it, take your extra day to deck out the house in festive green decor.

Easy Handmade Ideas for St. Patrick's Day

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