Basic Life Skills Everyone Needs to Have

Most traditional education curriculum focuses on knowledge skills, including topics such as math, science and history. When I was growing up, home economics was one of my favorite classes. This class typically focuses on basic life skills that are needed for day to day life.

Not only are life skills practical to have they are necessary. There are a lot of life skills you may not realize you already have, while there are others you can still acquire at any age.

Basic Life Skills

Basic Life Skills

What Are Life Skills?

The idea for this post came from home. As we raise our daughter I want to make sure she learns many life skills. I was trying to think of all the life skills I have or some I wish I had and what she should learn as she gets older.

I realized having a list of these skills might help other people. Whether you are looking to teach a child or teenager, or if you are an adult looking to learn a few new adult skills, I hope this post will be helpful.

To me, life skills are things you know how to do that help sustain life. In the most basic form they apply to food, clothing, shelter and overall health. Some life skills can double as crafts or hobbies as well.

Skills Adults Need

What Life Skills Do You Need?

Life skills cover the necessities of life. If you can complete all of the skills on this list that would be amazing! If not any skills you can learn or do may prove helpful today or in the future. I have broken down this list of basic skills by category. The categories include:

  • Auto
  • Lawn & Garden
  • Cooking & Food Storage
  • Money
  • Cleaning
  • Home
  • Clothing
  • Wellness
  • Etiquette & Business
  • Survival

If you would like, focus on one area of life skills and begin to learn those skills. Then you can move onto another category. Alternately, you can skip around and learn life skills in each category one by one.

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Important Life Skills

Basic Life Skills

Now that I’ve shared a little bit about adult skills and home economics I’m going to share a list of the skills. For areas where skills may be simliar or overlap, I have listed sub-skills.

  • Drive a Car: Take this a step further and learn how to drive a manual transmission (stick shift).
  • Pump Gasoline: Including all safety precautions, and wash windows while you are there.
  • Change a Tire: Also how to read the tire pressure and fill a tire.
  • Check the Oil in Your Vehicle: Feeling ambitious? Learn how to change the oil.
  • Jump Start a Car: Make sure to be stay while doing this.

  • Plant a Garden: Growing your own herbs, fruit and vegetables, the possibilities are endless.
  • Mow the Lawn: Basics of lawn mower usage and maintenance, along with edging and trimming.
  • Identify and Pull Common Weeds: From your garden beds, to the lawn, and beyond.
  • Compost Food: Create an in-kitchen or outdoor compost bin to feed your garden.
  • Propagate Food: Re-grow food from scraps and purchased produce.

  • Boil Water: The very basics of stove-top cooking, learn first to boil water.
  • Kitchen Tools & Utensils: Understand usage, care and storage of all tools, utensils & knives.
  • Kitchen Appliances: Learn to use and care for and clean each appliance.
  • Meal Planning: Making an ingredient list, plan a meal, read a shopping ad.
  • Pick Out Fresh Food: Checking dates and viability of fresh foods prior to purchase.
  • Properly Clean & Store Fresh Produce: Care varies for each fruit and vegetable.
  • Read a Recipe & Measure Ingredients: Start with a basic recipe and work your way up.
  • Cook a Full Meal: Move from one food to cooking an entire spread.
  • Bake Bread: Take a stab at homemade bread baking.
  • Home Canning: An age old method of food preservation and storage.

  • Make Proper Change with Cash: The foundation of a transaction.
  • Pay a Bill & Write a Check: Filling out each line properly, along with ledger.
  • Balance a Checkbook: Keep the balance in accordance with the account.
  • Manage Your Personal Budget: Create and live on a monthly budget.
  • Do Your Own Taxes: They can still be done yourself, or learn how to use tax filing software.
  • Use Coupons: A great way to save money, learn how coupons work.

  • Make a Bed: The first step each day to tidy the home.
  • Clean Your Home: Learn specific cleaning methods for each type of room.
  • Learn to Vacuum: Use all attachments for different scenarios, floors and furniture.
  • Dust All Areas: Learn to use dusters and methods for each object and product.
  • Washing Dishes: After all that cooking, learn basics of hand washing dishes.
  • Special Areas: Cleaning of windows, rugs, hardwood floors, couch cushions, etc.

  • Change a Lightbulb: In a lamp or light fixture, have the proper wattage.
  • Use a Toilet Plunger: This emergency may arise, know how to handle it.
  • Use a Hammer and Nail: Practice first, then hang a picture on a wall.
  • Paint a Room: From prep to final coat, each step along the way.
  • Use a Basic Toolkit: Understand each tool and its use for household repairs.
  • Home Repair Skills: More advanced skills like caulking, fixing a leak, patching a wall.
  • Recycling Items: Save Mother Earth, learn to read labels, and proper disposal procedures.

  • Do Laundry: Learn the basics from wash to dry.
  • Fold Clothes: Understand folding and hanging techniques.
  • Learn About Fabric Care Tags: Read, understand and follow care per tag.
  • Iron a Shirt: Learn use of an iron, ironing board and how to iron a garment.
  • Sew a Button: First lesson in sewing.
  • Mend Your Clothing: A hole, add a zipper, patch a pant, learn to mend.
  • Polish Your Shoes: Keep them in tip top shape with polish and elbow grease.
  • Stain Treatment: Know how to treat a spill, stain or spot.
  • Knit or Crochet: Both can be used to make your own garments.

  • Read Nutrition Labels: Understand nutrients, portion size and ingredients.
  • Exercise & Stretching: How to condition and move each part of the body.
  • What to Do When Sick: How to handle a cold and feel better ASAP.
  • Ride a Bicycle: In addition to riding, put air in a tire. Bonus, learn to roller skate.
  • Make Your Own Soap: Learn to make homemade soap and use it.
  • Care for and Bathe a Pet: From feeding to brushing, routine care and bathing of a pet.
  • Schedule Routine Medical: Both schedule and keep routine well-visit medical checks.

  • Learn to Tell Time: Not all clocks are digital.
  • Use a Phone Book: Understand methods to find a business or person.
  • Phone Etiquette: Make a phone call, answer the phone and take a message.
  • Read a Map: GPS may not always be working or available.
  • Understand Directions: Learn to read directions and use a compass.
  • Learn to Type: Proper positioning and movement of all fingers.
  • Keep an Address Book: How to write out each address, organize by last name.
  • Write in Cursive: For both full name and formal letter writing.
  • Write a Thank You Card: Salutation, message and signature.
  • Address the Card & Mail It: Proper address writing, stamp adherence, return address. Postcard too.
  • Set the Table: Proper place setting of all utensils, glasses, dishes and clean up.
  • Table Manners: Basic table manners for all occasions.
  • Time Management & Scheduling: Keep a daily agenda planner or schedule and manage time.

  • Basic First Aid: Someone is hurt, how to use a first aid kit and offer care.
  • CPR: Know how to perform CPR.
  • Swim: Learn how to swim, both recreational and survival, tread water.
  • Make an Emergency Preparedness Kit: In case anything strikes, be prepared.
  • Use a Pocket Knife: For cutting, carving, understand how to safely open and close.
  • Build a Fire: For camping or cooking, know how to start a fire using various methods.
  • Use a Fire Extinguisher: Also vital in the home, know different types and how to operate.
  • Forage for Food: Understanding of plants, what and how to pick and prepare.
  • Learn to Fish & Hunt: Capture and secure wild food.

Essential Life Skills

Basic Life Skills

In Summary

I hope this post is helpful in learning the types of life skills that can help in life. These skills cover the basic areas of life including food, shelter, clothing and more. They also include modern parts of life such as auto and driving.

These skills can be taught to children, teens or even learned by an adult of any age. You are never too old to learn a new skill. Some schools have stopped teaching home economics class but that doesn’t mean you cannot learn home economics skills on your own.

What life skills have helped you most?

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4 thoughts on “Basic Life Skills Everyone Needs to Have”

  1. This is the exact website I was looking for. All the other life skills websites talk about interpersonal skills, communication, empathy. I’m glad to have found this one for basic life skills that everybody should learn.

  2. This is a good list. That I do very poorly on ? it’s not that I can’t do most of these, I just don’t want to ???


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