9 Free Things You Can Do For Labor Day

The siren song of the end of summer, Labor Day unofficially marks the end of half-day Fridays, of flitting off to the beach at a moment’s notice, of al fresco dining, of the fruitless search for a true song of the summer. OK, there’s a lot I’ll miss about summer, but for me, Labor Day is also a signal to hunker down, to get sh*t done, and be the adult I know in my heart I can be. Trying my hardest not to spend money when I don’t have to is usually at the top of my #adulting to-do list, so having a list of free things to do on Labor Day is actually trés helpful. I made this list to make sure I stay occupied (without spending money) this holiday weekend.

If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t spend money on one of the biggest sales weekends of the year, remember that refusing to participate in capitalism on Labor Day is, actually, pretty on brand. Labor Day celebrates the accomplishments of America’s labor movement, which during the Industrial Revolution organized for fair working conditions, living wages, and other labor reforms that we benefit from to this day. So take this list as inspiration, and reclaim your time (and money) this weekend.

Throw A Potluck

While most people are wasting their cash hosting fancy Labor Day barbecues, save some money by hosting a potluck if you have the space. Key word here is hosting: While all your friends bring their chosen dishes to share, you will be providing the most valuable resource of all, a place to eat. From each according to her ability, to each according to her need.

Learn About The Labor Movement

Speaking of Marx, do you actually know what we’re celebrating on Labor Day? Yes, I know I touched on it above, but there’s still plenty more to know so you can school your friends who are moaning about all the things they didn’t cross off their summer bucket list. Here’s one book (out this weekend) by a female author that chronicles the evolution of the labor movement, and marginalized communities’ contributions to it.

Set An Intention

With endings come new beginnings, and new beginnings are a great time to set an intention for the season ahead. No, it’s not quite fall yet, but for a lot of people it’s emotionally fall, and that counts, OK? Turn off your phone and spend some minutes thinking about who you want to be, and how you can get there. Here’s a list of tips to help set your best intentions for life.

Browse Sales (But Don’t Buy)

As I mentioned, Labor Day is one of the busiest sales weekends of the year, but that doesn’t mean you have to partake in it. Browsing online sales can be just as rewarding as buying, especially if it drives you to realize that you don’t actually need anything. (What a concept.) Here’s a list of Labor Day sales Bustle rounded up that you can look at for funsies.

Donate, Store, or Trash All Your White Clothing

With Labor Day comes the end of the season when it’s OK to wear white. Even if this rule is deeply outdated, with pretty classist roots, there are plenty of people who won’t wear white after Labor Day anyway (especially in New York). If you’re among them, take the time on your day off to separate out your white clothes, donate the ones you went the entire summer without wearing, store the pieces you can see yourself wearing another season, and trash the ripped-beyond-repair clothing you really don’t need in your closet anymore.

KonMari Your Life

In the same vein as purging your white clothing from your closet, take a cue from Marie Kondo’s aptly named The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The KonMari method involves taking out everything in a given area, and asking yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, donate or toss it. You can apply this method to your kitchen, closet, bathroom, or wherever stuff accumulates. The three-day weekend is a great time to clear your home of the negative energy caused by holding onto things that don’t bring you joy.

Go To The Beach

Let’s go get away. If you’re lucky enough to live near a natural body of water, whether it’s a beach, lake, or pond, take a day this weekend to hang out near it alone or with your crew. Bring a book and a towel and take in the beauty of nature while soaking up the last rays of summer sun.

Take A Bath

If you don’t have access to a natural body of water, no sweat. I don’t have to tell you about how freaking awesome baths are, or what the benefits of taking one are. Here’s a list of things that can help you take your bath to the next level, many of which you can replicate with ingredients you probably already have at home.


I’m willing to bet that no matter how much shut-eye you claim to get, there’s still a tiny bit of sleep debt you need to pay off. Close your blinds, turn your phone on silent, and emerge from your nap relaxed and refreshed like the queen you are.

Labor Day is, if nothing else, an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, as well as practice self care. (Get you a girl who can do both.) There are tons of free things you can do with this extra day, all of which involve the necessary AF act of reclaiming your time. So make Maxine Waters proud and spend your Labor Day disengaging from capitalism and taking care of you.