Back to Basics 101
September 10, 2020 2:03 PM   Subscribe

What are some good classes to take that can improve my basic skills/technique in everyday things? What do I not know I'm doing wrong?

For example, a few years ago I took a beginning swimming class, and even though I already knew how to swim, it made such a huge difference in efficiency--now I can actually swim rather than just "not drown".

I've also taken beginning sewing, and knife skills, and learning to do things properly rather than half-assed has been hugely helpful.
posted by exceptinsects to Education (13 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Yes!! I’m all about lifelong learning in terms of academics, practical skills, and beyond! It’s not a class per se but I find reading books on communication to be very helpful refreshers. I also just listened to a podcast with Brené Brown and Harriet Lerner on effective apologizing. Despite not really being a Brené Brown fan and being OK at apologizing, I learned a lot!
posted by smorgasbord at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

I recently learned that my approach to showering was wrong.
posted by catquas at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Negotiation classes are really valuable for all manner of collaborative problem-solving, asking for raises, marital issues, neighbour disputes...
posted by nouvelle-personne at 2:55 PM on September 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Local community colleges/park districts/ public libraries are great for this kind of thing. For public libraries, classes/workshops are usually free and you often don’t even need a library card to participate.

If you own a car or are planning to own a car—Basic car care/maintenance class.

Budgeting/personal money management.

Intro photography class.

Flower arranging.
posted by bookmammal at 3:17 PM on September 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was about to say knife skills, but you already have that covered!

I have appreciated learning about mindfulness, which is IMHO the most "everyday thing" skill ever.
posted by splitpeasoup at 3:33 PM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've always wanted to learn knots.
posted by Fukiyama at 3:48 PM on September 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Basic photography skills vastly improve one's understanding of what even a smartphone camera can do from just its main screen, let alone if you want to get fancy and change some settings.
posted by teremala at 4:12 PM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Learning the pinch-flip method of folding shirts was literally life-changing for me.

A close second is the sausage-roll technique of changing duvet covers.
posted by dum spiro spero at 5:00 PM on September 10, 2020 [13 favorites]

Knots, knitting, small motors, basic wiring and how to read a circuit diagram, plumbing, how to read music, how to butcher a chicken, pickling, bookbinding, printmaking, how to blow glass . . . I guess it depends what you mean by everyday skills.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:31 PM on September 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Keyboarding and/or 10-key numeric entry. I think a lot of people these days learned keyboarding on the fly and don't know proper techniques for speed, accuracy and efficiency. Personally, I touch-type really fast except I never bothered to learn the numbers/symbols row. 10-key is cool if you ever have to add up a lot of numbers or for alpha-numeric data entry.

I would also say the same for MS Office or other common programs you may have self-taught. I've been using Excel for years and I'm still constantly discovering new-to-me features that probably would have been taught in a good beginner-through-intermediate class.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:43 PM on September 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

You could leverage your knife skills into becoming highly accomplished at making sushi, which, I'm told, is much in demand and good for a person's social life.
posted by jamjam at 10:36 PM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Basic plumbing and electrical, although I don't know how easy those classes are to find. Not because you'll want to start doing a lot of that yourself, but because I think it's important to be able to tell whether the professional you hired is doing something blatantly unsafe or unwise. Some "qualified professionals" are quite happy to make choices that could flood or burn your house down.

Basic woodworking is good too.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:37 AM on September 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Learning how to fall well can help protect you from injury. I've seen people who have this skill take a tumble that looked like it would be pretty bad and pop up perfectly fine and uninjured.

Martial arts classes are where you learn this skill.
posted by yohko at 2:53 PM on September 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

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