50 life skills you can learn online — for free! — during self-quarantine


Sure, you’re trapped inside for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean your only options are binge-watching television or FaceTiming relatives for the umpteenth time, only to discover they’re feeling just the same as they were yesterday.

Instead, learn something new! Believe it or not, there’s plenty you don’t know. Here’s a list of 50 how-to tips, plus links to free online tutorials, designed to teach you skills to both while away the indeterminate stretch of time in front of you and improve your quality of life during — and after — quarantine.

1. How to stretch your lower back

About 80 percent of Americans have a bad back, and all that time spent on the sofa watching “Tiger King” is only going to add to the legion of the lumbar-impaired. In just three minutes you’ll learn four moves that should elicit a pleasing crack from any ailing back. Roll out the mat, down on your knees and try each position for immediate relief.


2. How to get followers on social media

It’s not that you’re so needy that the approbation of strangers motivates you, but who doesn’t want lots of Twitter followers? Think Media’s Sean Cannell (with 1.03 million YouTube subscribers) breaks it all down for you here — how to be consistent with your branding, identify your audience and try not to be everything to everyone.

3. How to make edible slime

Because who among us has enough slime to eat? And once you learn that edible slime is essentially heated Sour Patch Kid candy, you might never get enough. There’s a little more to it than heat and candy — trust Rebecca Zamolo and Rosanna Pansino to show you how.

4. How to perform the Heimlich Maneuver

Everyone knows what it is but few know how to do it. What if you’ve gone out of your way to protect loved ones from infection only to have them choke on a chicken bone? Captain Wayne Bennett of Disaster Survival Skills LLC is not about to let that happen. He lays it out for you here in four minutes that could save a life.

5. How to teach your dog to roll over

Isn’t it about time Rover did his part in this crisis? Dog trainer Kayl McCann provides progressive steps toward completing this simple trick that can be taught without ever leaving your chair.

Life right now is largely online. Here’s how to make the most of it.

6. How to train your cat to use a toilet

First they came for the toilet paper, then there was none. Next they’ll come for the kitty litter and leave you with a tray full of reeking cat poop. So, train the puss to use the potty. Watch mild-mannered Sebastian in his training toilet, a litter box placed inside the toilet, and gradually make both your lives virtually cat-poop-free.


7. How to cut your own hair

Personal hygiene and fitness standards are bound to suffer during quarantine. So, take another shower and shave and, if you’re honest, it’s time for a haircut. In no time at all men’s haircutting specialist Tips for Clips will have you looking your best for yet another night at home.

With barber shops and hair salons shuttered, men everywhere are doing DIY haircuts, with messy results.

March 26, 2020

8. How to build a swimming pool water slide around your secret underground house

Any expert will tell you if you’re going to have a secret underground house, you’re going to want to have a swimming pool water slide surrounding it. It’s just common sense. Make sure you get it right by watching this.

9. How to fix a running toilet

You’ve been putting it off for weeks but that running toilet needs to be fixed. It’s costing you extra on your water bill and it’s wasting something Southern California has precious little of. Home Repair Tutor Steve White lays it out here in easy steps.

10. How to fix a dripping faucet

While you have the toolkit out, fix the leaking faucet too, with tips from HowToLou. Gromets, springs and washers are all you need to make the next drop the last one.

11. How to make money from home during quarantine

If you can’t work, make money without ever leaving the couch. Here Ralli Roots throws together old video games, electronics, headphones and vintage T-shirts to put on eBay. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to open an account, gauge the market and list your items so they sell for top dollar.

12. How to skip the small talk and connect with anyone

Kalina Silverman does exactly that in this TED Talk, skipping over superficial exchanges with total strangers to cogent questions like, “What would you do today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?” The responses are deeply personal and revealing.

13. How to “bake” your face

Not kitchen but beauty tips can be found in this makeup tutorial by cosmetics queen Tati Westbrook. “Baking” is a technique by which concealer, foundation and powder are warmed by the skin’s natural heat, baking the powder into the face for a pearly finish — a great way to hide the ravages of quarantine.

14. How to make gnocchi with peas and parmesan

Gordon Ramsey probably makes gnocchi better than you but it’s not a competition. All you really need to make gnocchi is flour and eggs, but combine it with leftover potatoes and you’re in for a simple but memorable home-cooked meal.

15. How to win at Texas Hold’em

Quarantine means game time and sometimes the stakes can get high around the poker table. If you want to win, check out professional gambler Daniel Negreanu’s link on maximizing your take and minimizing your losses.

16. How to deal from the bottom

And if Negreanu’s tips don’t work and you’re losing more than you can afford, then cheat! CardMechanic teaches you how to deal from the bottom of the deck, ensuring the most useless cards go to your opponent and leaving you rolling in dough.

17. How to triple your memory

Why use recall when you can just take a picture? Well, here Ricardo Lieuw recalls experimenting with visualization and psychology to reduce his study time at college from three hours to one. In his link for TEDxHaarlem, he shares his secrets on learning how to learn.

18. How to draw faces

Art inspires you, so you pick up a pencil and pad. Unfortunately, the result looks like the work of an over-prescribed preschooler. Here, Darlene of RapidFireArt shows you how to start with a circle and add a few lines, and you’ve already got the dimensions of a face. After watching this, the hardest part of drawing will be sharpening the pencil.

19. How to save your marriage

Unfortunately, forced “we” time can result in craving “me” time for some couples. Maybe it’s cabin fever or maybe it’s something deeper, but don’t let quarantine cost you your marriage. Here marriage expert Brad Browning teaches you how to handle disagreements before they become unbridgeable rifts.

20. How to fix a broken heart

Not as deadly as COVID-19, heartbreak can feel even worse. Psychologist Guy Winch in his 2017 TED Talk gets you on the road to recovery. First, abandon your search for what went wrong. When it comes to figuring it out and mending the situation, “Hope can be very destructive when your heart is broken,” he says. Instead, compile a list of all the ways the relationship didn’t work and keep it on your phone.

21. How to build a privacy fence

As the pandemic worsens and gun and toilet paper sales climb, who knows when they’ll be coming for your guns and toilet paper. Best to protect yourself with a privacy fence done cheap and easy. Carpenter Ian Ingram shows you how to take the lay of the land, sink your posts, pour your concrete and erect a fence in simple steps.

22. How to make ice cream in 5 minutes

Jerry James Stone of Stone Cooking knows how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. All you need is milk, cream, vanilla, half a cup of sugar, salt, ice and plastic bags.

23. How to make world peace

These days we have plenty of time on our hands to figure out the small problems and the big ones too, like world peace. Professor Troy Davis in his TED Talk lays it all out — world peace in just a few easy steps.

24. How to juggle toilet paper

Now that you have more of it than you know what to do with, try juggling your toilet paper like your favorite soccer stars. Beginners can pick up tips above, while the more advanced can watch the pros get their kicks here.

25. How to beat your friends at Monopoly

Dan Brown (not the author) gives tips such as “buy all the property you can early” when playing the popular board game. Counterintuitively, you might avoid the green and blue (more lucrative) properties and go for the orange and red deeds. If it sounds wrong, his video might change your mind.

26. How to whittle

Woodcarver Doug Linker presents an easy figure any of us can carve from a stick — the 5-minute wizard, a bearded image in a hat that can be modified into Santa, a woodsman or a hipster.

27. How to build a birdhouse from popsicle sticks

Kids driving you crazy with nothing to do? Give them something to do that’s tasty too. First, eat a bunch of popsicles, though that isn’t mandatory. Then you’ll only need the sticks, some paint and Elmer’s glue to make a colorful abode for your feathered friends.

28. How to identify constellations

With traffic nearly halted and a break in the smog, the stars shine brighter than ever. Here’s a quick guide to identifying Orion, Scorpio, Ursa Major and all your favorite heavenly bodies with the naked eye.

29. How to speak Swahili in 30 minutes

You may never go to Central and Eastern Africa but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn Swahili. Impress your friends by using a few phrases from the other side of the world with this video featuring basic Swahili expressions.

30. How to Moonwalk

Whether it was dancing his way out of criminal charges or wowing stadiums full of fans, Michael Jackson sure could move. No, you cannot learn to dance like him with this video, but you can learn his signature step, the Moonwalk, which he introduced to the world during a performance of “Billie Jean” in 1983.

31. How to make your crush like you back

Be confident, not cocky, and if you haven’t any confidence then get some by looking your best. These are just some of “10 Sneaky Ways” TheTalko assures you’ll get what you want from the partner you want.

32. How to knit a scarf

Christmas is only nine months away but it’s not too early to think about gift-giving. With nothing but time on your hands, fill them with two knitting needles and a skein of wool and get started on that scarf for Grandma that will help keep her healthy through the cold months.

33. How to deal with a naughty child

Authors of “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting,” Paul Raeburn and Kevin Zollman address real-life situations with clever ways to convince unruly little ones to do what you want without resorting to threats or shouting. Negotiation and respect work wonders with kids and these seven parenting hacks show why.

34. How to throw your voice

You’ll have a laugh watching the heads turn in search of an unseen party. It’s a bit complicated, involving breathing techniques, and can be tough on the throat. Practice in intervals of five minutes to avoid damage. Not just for fun, this can be useful for avoiding confrontations.

35. How to clean earpods

Admit it, they’re gross. If you listen to a lot of music on your earpods, they’re full of wax. How do you remove it? John Collins, who has given an inordinate amount of thought to this problem, assures you that liquids are out of the question. Cotton swab, bristle brush and toothpick are his weapons of choice.

36. How to get a baby to sleep

Being stuck at home with a crying baby is no fun, especially if it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. ABC News’ chief meteorologist Ginger Zee consults “The Baby Sleep Boss,” Dana Obleman, for tips on how to get her infant son to slumber by monitoring his diet and naps while eliminating triggering points.

37. How to edit a video

You shoot all these amazing clips and you want to put them together in one stunning montage. Well, here’s TechTeacherNate to show you how on iMovie. Trim and add footage, stills and sound effects, all on your laptop.

38. How to save money

The good people at Bright Side recommend you round bank accounts down at the end of every week and put the remainder into savings. Do the same before every payday, moving residual funds from the previous period into savings. Before you know it you’ll have enough to hire an accountant to do it for you.

39. How to talk to the dead using tarot cards

Yes, they’re gone forever but that doesn’t mean you can’t still catch up with deceased family and friends. Keith Weldon and Carissa Simpson from Chillseekers will teach you how to read the cards and find out what the weather’s like in heaven and hell.

40. How to improve your vocabulary

Smarter than you sound? Now you can prove it with advice from “James from Engvid.” One tip is to use synonyms and make your word choices more specific. Another is to dispense with descriptors like “awesome” and “super.”

41. How to spot a Russian troll online

In an election year, it’s a good time to learn how to distinguish Russian trolls from deplorables. If your favorite feed is mainly pro-Kremlin, pro-Trump, grammatically challenged and citing unsubstantiated sources, according to this link by Time, you might be taking cues from Moscow.

42. How to spot a deep-fake video

It’s gotten so you can’t believe your lying eyes anymore. Worse than fake news is fake video, or “deep-fake.” But here, computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn explains the technology behind the fraudulent film format as well as countermeasures, such as a plug-in called “Reality Defender,” which flags offending clips.

43. How to solve a Rubik’s Cube in no time

Some solve it in just a few seconds, which might mean they’re geniuses. Or it could mean they’ve stumbled upon this simple algorithm anyone can use to solve the popular puzzle in a mere seven steps.

44. How to meditate

When all the marriage-saving and crying-baby techniques still don’t work, you can always turn to meditation to reduce your blood pressure. Here, jbittersweet provides tips for beginners, like how to stop your mind from wandering.

45. How to rid double-pane windows of condensation using a blow dryer

Apply heat from both sides and watch the fog clear right up. The only question you’ll have is why didn’t I think of this years ago?

46. How to hide baldness

Stuck at home, you don’t really need to hide the fact that you’re bald. The truth is, even out in the world you don’t. But guys do, and Baldcafe lists their woeful ways — skillful styling, hats, hair systems, transplants or, best of advice of all, just shave away what’s left and stop the charade.

47. How to improve your posture

Seated at the computer all day, how can you not develop bad posture? In this link, Calisthenicmovement provides three simple exercises for standing up straight, looking in the mirror and saying goodbye to Quasimodo once and for all.

48. How to write a resume

Sorry to say but for many of us it’s time to pull out the resume and get started looking for a job. Update and make sure yours includes all the information recruiters are looking for. Professor Heather Austin and Red Rocket Resumes give six strategies to make sure you stand out in the field.

49. How to find coronavirus jobs

How do you look for work if you can’t leave the house? Here Self Made Millennial offers tips for beginning your job search from home — phone interviews, building a digital portfolio and identifying industries like health care, pharmaceuticals and industrial cleaning, all areas that are hiring on account of the pandemic.

50. How to ace a job interview

Yes, you’ve interviewed successfully in the past but have you stayed sharp? In this link, Thomas Frank offers 10 crucial tips such as practice interviews, preparing questions and researching both the organization and the position you’re pursuing.