This extra day in February only comes once every four years, which is all the more reason to make the most of it. From helping your community to banishing junk mail, here are 10 ways to make your leap day count.
1. Get outside
Spring is right around the corner, and if you’re lucky enough to be noticing warmer temperatures, why not get outside and enjoy? Spending time outdoors reminds you why protecting our planet is so important, and you’ll also save some cash on your electric bill, as you won’t have to use energy for heating and lighting your home.
Take a walk in a local botanical garden, read a book in a nearby pocket park or bike an uncharted path. Looking for something a bit more creative? Call up a few friends for a pick-up game of football, basketball or soccer at a local playground, or head to your town or municipality’s Website for a list of upcoming outdoor events.
Want to make your outdoor activity even greener? Go for a trash run, the newest eco trend that’s sweeping the jogging world. Just grab a trash bag and set off on your course, making quick stops to pick up litter along the way. Not up for a full-blown sprint? Try a “trash walk” instead for all the eco benefits – without the shin splints.
2. Lend a helping hand
If you’re looking to really make your leap day count this year, you can’t beat the satisfaction of giving back. So, set aside a few hours this Feb. 29 to do a little volunteering in your community.
Lend a hand at a local community garden or animal shelter or take part in a park, river or beach cleanup. Not sure where to start? Most municipalities have a calendar of upcoming volunteer days on their website. But if you don’t see an event that strikes your fancy, a simple Google search with your town’s name and the word “volunteer” should point you in the right direction.
3. Do some early spring cleaning
Technically, it may not be springtime yet, but it’s never too early to unload excess baggage from your closets. Designate an hour or two on leap day for purging your closet of old, unwanted clothes, and you’ll be left with blissfully spacious shelves just waiting to be reorganized. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself tomorrow (and for the rest of the year!).
Not sure where to recycle your old clothes? Search Earth911′s recycling directory for nonprofits that you can donate your unwanted but still wearable clothing to or recycling companies that accept damaged clothes and scraps.
If your secondhand duds are still in good condition, you can also sell them online or in a local consignment shop for extra cash, or trade them in for some new-to-you pieces. Try clothing swap websites like SwapStyle.com, Dig’N'Swap, Rehash Clothing or ReFashioner to get you started.
4. Pin and Tumble
Catch up on your social networking this leap day by spending some time on your favorite sites like Facebook and Twitter. Or, for a more visual experience, check out Pinterest and Tumblr, the newest social media hits that are taking the Web by storm.
5. Shop vintage
Already itching to fill that extra space in the closet after your spring-cleaning purge? Skip the mall, and head to a local secondhand or thrift store for some fab vintage finds instead.
You may need to do a little digging through those $5 racks, but a bit of persistence could yield an adorable 1960s frock, a chic ’80s cocktail dress or some super-comfy old school jeans.
And don’t restrict yourself to clothing for your thrift store excursion! Most secondhand shops also carry shoes and accessories, along with home decor, furniture and office supplies. So, stock up to save on cash (and your use of virgin materials).