By Natasha Ramirez
Overall, 2020 was one of those years many people would like to strike from the record. But for all of its lows, it did teach people an important lesson: you need to learn how to take care of yourself. You never know when you’re going to have just yourself to rely on. Whether because you physically don’t have access to the help you need or just because you want to be more independent, learning how to do some skills yourself instead of calling for help can be liberating. Here are five practicals skills women should learn to live an independent, confident, and self-sufficient life.
Skill 1: Fixing Car Problems
No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road waiting for AAA when you could easily fix your broken-down car if you had a little training. Independent women know how to fix (at least small) problems by themselves—all most people need is a solid toolkit and willing to get a little dirty. A basic car tool kit should include:
- Torque wrench
- Adjustable wrench
- Tire jack
- Socket wrench
- Phillips and flat head screwdriver
- Jumper cables
Make sure to also have an emergency kit and supplies in case you get stuck on the side of the road and can’t get someone out for a bit. Your emergency supplies should include blankets, non-perishable food, water, and warm clothes. Having this emergency kit will give you peace of mind that you will be safe on your own for a bit.
There are lots of resources for learning how to fix car issues. TV shows and Youtube videos are a great way to see how people go about fixing car issues. And don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re in a mechanic shop and want to know what they’re doing to fix a problem. Maybe next time a similar problem pops up, you’ll be able to fix it yourself!
Skill 2: Fixing Plumbing Problems
Plumbing issues happen all the time and can become a real problem if you don’t know what to do and can’t get a plumber over ASAP. If your toilet overflows, you find black specks in your water, or have a leaky faucet, you don’t have to spend money on a plumber—you can easily fix those problems by yourself with a little training.
You don’t have to learn how to replace an entire water heater or burst pipe alone, but learning plumbing basics can save you money and help you feel more independent. Some things you should learn how to do on your own include:
- How to replace a showerhead
- How to fix a leaky faucet
- How to fix low water pressure in your shower
- How to properly use a caulk gun
- How to replace your washing machine hose
- How to unclog a toilet
- How to unclog a sink or shower drain
Make sure you have a solid toolbox with some basic plumbing tools like:
- Plumbing snake
- Cup and flange plunger
- Utility knife
- Caulking gun
- Plumbing tape
- Adjustable wrench
Skill 3: Using Power Tools
Home renovation has never been higher. More people are flipping houses, DIY-ing new home projects, and building their own furniture after a simple stop at Home Depot. Learning simple construction techniques and how to use power tools properly and safely is now just a Google search or YouTube video away these days. Being able to do these projects yourself can save you thousands of dollars. You’ll need to learn how to operate a wide range of tools safely so you don’t hurt yourself or others around you. Some basic power tools you should be familiar and comfortable with include:
- Table saw
- Power drill
- Oscillating multi-tool
- Nail gun
Don’t forget you should always wear protective equipment such as goggles and leather gloves. You should also always be aware of your surroundings—don’t let other people get too close, never operate the tools when under the influence, and keep other objects far away when in operation so you don’t hit anything.
Skill 4: Cooking a Fancy Meal
Top Raman, boxed mac & cheese, and Taco Bell have their moments, but eating those types of foods all the time isn’t healthy. Fast food and microwave meals can make those days when you don’t have time to make an elaborate meal easier, but it’s also important to understand cooking basics. Cooking is more than just making food so you don’t starve—it’s a form of self-expression, creativity, and a way to explore new cultures through their cuisine.
Being able to cook a fancy and decadent meal all by yourself won’t just impress your date, it can help you feel more independent and confident in your developing skills. Start off with basic cooking and baking skills like how to cook pasta al dente or perfecting the soft boiled egg. Then try out more complex recipes like baking sourdough bread from scratch or cooking a perfect medium-rare steak.
There are lots of cookbooks and recipes available for people cooking for one, but it can also be helpful for meal prep to cook a bigger batch of food and save it for when you’re not motivated to cook but still want something tasty and healthy. Websites like America’s Test Kitchen and Epicurious always have interesting recipes for all skill levels. Try finding your “signature dish” that you know like the back of your hand and perfect it. It will help you feel more confident while also saving you money from having to order DoorDash every night.
Skill 5: Troubleshooting Home Technology
Calling someone else for help every time your home’s internet starts having problems instead of fixing the tech problem by yourself can be annoying and keep you dependent on others for fixes you can most likely do yourself. Teaching yourself how to fix simple technology issues around the house instead of calling an electrician every time will help you become more self-sufficient. Start off by reading up on:
- How to install your internet properly
- Internet connection troubleshooting
- How to install a home security system
- Fixing simple electrical problems safely
Learning how to troubleshoot home tech problems will save you money in the long run, but don’t feel bad if you need to call a professional technician. Wiring can be dangerous if you aren’t properly trained. But small tech installations can easily be done by yourself with a bit of research and a lot of patience.