Heading Out on Your Own: 31 Life Skills in 31 Days — Series Wrap-Up

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 1, 2012 · 52 comments

in Heading Out On Your Own

Happy September first! Yesterday we completed the series we ran every day last month: Heading Out on Your Own: 31 Basic Life Skills in 31 Days. The goal of the series was simple: to help young men heading out on their own for the first time learn some of the very basic life skills they would need to succeed at living independently. To this end, each day last month we published one article on a variety of basic life skills from personal finance to home-ec know-how.

While we couldn’t have possibly covered every single skill a young man will need to know to successfully live on his own, I really believe we covered nearly all of the important essentials. If you’re a man who’s been living on his own for a long time now, I hope the articles provided an interesting and helpful refresher on skills that we truly use our whole lives through (and all need reminders on from time to time), and maybe even imparted some tips you had never learned before. If you’re a young man heading out on his own right now, our sincere wish is that the series has given you a sense of direction, competence, and confidence about this new and exciting season in your life. Knowing, as GI Joe has taught us, is half the battle. The other half will be won by honing your skills in the only way they can be: through practical experience — trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — just commit yourself to always learning from them. We wish you the very best as you embark on whatever new adventure awaits you, and wherever it leads, we hope you enjoy the ride!

If you missed any of the days during the series, or would like to go back and revisit them, here are links to all 31 articles:

Day 1: Develop a Self-Reliant Mentality

Day 2: How to Do Laundry

Day 3: How to Open and Manage a Checking Account

Day 4: Keep a Regular Grooming and Hygiene Routine

Day 5: Create a Weekly Attack Plan

Day 6: How to Ace a Job Interview

Day 7: How to Make a Bed

Day 8: Living With Roommates

Day 9: Managing Your Online Reputation

Day 10: How to Tie the Half-Windsor Necktie Knot

Day 11: Understand Credit

Day 12: What to Do If You Get in a Car Accident

Day 13: Know How to Network

Day 14: Establish a Simple Cleaning Routine and Stick to It

Day 15: How to Change a Flat Tire

Day 16: Create a Budget

Day 17: Essential Etiquette for Young Men

Day 18: Renting Your First Apartment

Day 19: Fix a Running Toilet

Day 20: Maintaining Your Car

Day 21: Know Your Way Around a Kitchen

Day 22: How to Make Small Talk

Day 23: How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Day 24: How to Be a Savvy Consumer

Day 25: Establish an Exercise Routine

Day 26: 15 Maxims for Being a Reliable Man

Day 27: How to Shop for Groceries

Day 28: How to Jump Start a Car

Day 29: How to Iron Your Trousers

Day 30: How to Manage Stress

Day 31: A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

Will There Be an Ebook?

Throughout the series, we’ve gotten a ton of requests to turn the articles into an ebook. We definitely plan to do so. It may take awhile to put together, but once it’s done, we’ll put up a post announcing that it is available.

Many Thank You’s and One Apology

We want to thank our contributing writers — Antonio Centeno, Darren Bush, and Matt Moore — for offering their unique skill sets and wisdom to the series. A big thank you also goes out to Sam Hakes for performing some graphic design magic on a couple of posts, Ted Slampyak for his incredible illustrations, Jordan Crowder for creating his gem of a video on the Do It Now principle, and Jeremy Anderberg for his help in editing the articles. We could not have done the series without the invaluable contributions of these very talented and supportive gentlemen.

Now for an apology…when we introduced the series we said we’d also keep up with publishing regular content in addition to the articles for the series. But we were only somewhat successful in that, as writing the Heading Out on Your Own articles turned out to be much more work than we had anticipated — who knew there was so much to know about “basic” life skills?! Which brings me to…

Gone Fishin’!

In just a month, we wrote over 75,000 words from scratch (in comparison, our first book, The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man clocked in at around 65,000 words). Writing 2,000-4,000 word articles nearly every single day for a month was truly one of the most grueling things we’ve ever done — we haven’t been this tired and sleep-deprived since Gus came home from the hospital! So we’ll be taking the next week and a half off from posting on the blog to let our brains recuperate and then to start digging into new research for when we return.

While we’re away, check out the list below. We’ve compiled a selection of further reading for young men — past AoM articles young men might find particularly helpful:

Ace Your Exams: Study Tactics of the Successful Gentleman Scholar

Write This Down: Note-Taking Strategies for Academic Success

How to Quit Mindlessly Surfing the Internet and Actually Get Stuff Done

5 Easy Ways for the College Student to Upgrade His Style

How and Why to Write Your Own Personal Manifesto

A Formula for Success: The Power of Implementation Intentions

How to Handle Being Out of Your Depth

Bookend Your Day: The Power of Morning and Evening Routines

Be Clutch, Don’t Choke: How to Thrive in High Pressure Situations (Part II)

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: The Power and Pleasure of Delayed Gratification

Modern “Neurasthenia:” Curing Your Restlessness

Looking for a Job? Take the Initiative!

The Best Way to Find Your Vocation

A Young Man’s Guide to Health Insurance

How Prepare for and Rock a Behavioral Job Interview

The Importance of Paying Your Dues

Craft the Life You Want: Creating a Blueprint for Your Future

The World Belongs to Those Who Hustle

Road Map to the Perfect First Date

How Do You Know When She’s the One?

Meet the Parents

10 Cheap Date Ideas She’ll Actually Love

How to End a Relationship

How to Weather a Break-Up

Nice Guys Don’t Have to Finish Last

This list really just scratches the surface of the articles in our archives that a young man might find useful in his life. So if there’s something you’re wondering about, but don’t see it in the list, be sure to search the archives!

If you’re a young man looking for a more handy compilation of some of our best material, I humbly suggest getting our two books: The Art of Manliness Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man and Art of Manliness Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues. You can actually get both books together for less than the price of buying them separately by getting The Art of Manliness Collection Boxed Set, which also includes a nifty cigar box and a set of coasters!

Well, that’s a wrap. Until next time, stay manly.


{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fuddulous September 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Writing certainly is hard work. It’s a break well-deserved. Thank you for your articles.

2 SBjd September 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Well done, folks. This was a superbly written series that every young man should learn from and every older man should review.

3 Josh September 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thank you so much for this excellent series. I recommended it to my friends heading off the college.

4 Samuel September 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I just feel compelled to say thank you for writing such helpful and inspiring posts. Enjoy a well deserved break, this series was one of my favorites as I’m a young lad fairly new to being on my own! Please keep these posts coming, reviving the lost art of manliness is more important than ever in today’s society and I personally find this website to be my go to resource in the never ending quest to becoming a better man!

5 Eric H September 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Great series, Brett & Kate. I appreciate all of the hard work you put into this and look forward to using it as a reference tool to figure out life. AoM is a website I can always count on.

6 Josh T. September 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

This series is truly one of the best things the internet has ever produced. Well-executed from start to finish. Even though I’m closer to heading into my 30s, than heading out on my own for the first time, I learned a ton of stuff I either never knew, or I guess had forgotten. Thanks guys.

Enjoy this well-deserved break. But hurry back …you’re an important part of my morning routine!

7 Jack S September 2, 2012 at 1:59 am

I appreciate all the hard work you guys put into the site, enjoy your well earned vacation!

8 Bryan September 2, 2012 at 6:22 am

Great series! Very helpful. Thanks for posting them.

9 David Y September 2, 2012 at 6:27 am

Great series. The articles may have been aimed at young men heading out on their own for the first time, but much of the advice is valuable for men at any age. Just shows why AoM is needed today.

Enjoy your break. We’ll be here when you get back.

10 jimmm September 2, 2012 at 6:34 am

thanks, folks, for a great series. enjoy yr time off. this older man has articles from days 9, 30 and 31 left to read

11 sharang September 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

I’ll be leaving for england for my post grad, and it’ll be the first time i’ll be staying away from my house, and this series has been god sent for me! It’s taught me sooo much, and i’m genuinely much more confident about “heading out on my own!”

Thank you so much :-)

12 QiYun September 2, 2012 at 7:23 am

Thanks for your hard work, Brett and Kate! I enjoyed this series very much, and find them pretty helpful indeed. Thanks for helping me on this quest of mine to become a better man.

13 Peter Hughes September 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

A Fantastic set of articles applicable not only to graduates heading out on their own; but also to those seeking to re-evaluate their own paths.

Enjoy your very much deserved break!

14 Paul F September 2, 2012 at 8:47 am

Brilliant piece of thoughtful work. Thank You for rising to the challenge. Your efforts themselves are inspiring. Peace be with You.

15 Aaron September 2, 2012 at 9:05 am

Loved the articles, this was a really great series that I enjoyed reading and sharing with everyone. Great information, and fun to read. You guys really delivered, and for that I would like to say thank you, and I hope you enjoy your much-deserved break.

16 David September 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

This series was fantastic. Thank you very much. I’m at the exact stage in life that they were intended for and I got a lot out of them.

17 Dan G September 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thanks a lot for this series! It’s been everything I expected and more.

18 Dave Hearn September 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Add me to the list of people who are waiting for the ebook! Great series!

19 Bill September 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

What a great series of articles! Though I’m no longer young, will turn 6? on the 9th I learned a lot; especially about etiquette (even how to spell it). Have you ever considered including articles designed for us upper middle aged guys who are retired and wondering what to do with our time besides hitting the recliner and getting in peoples way? Might be a great tool for the already retired and a what to expect for the younger generation. Enjoy your hard earned vacation. Look forward to having you back.

20 Henry lee September 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Go ahead and take a two week break. 2000 words + a day is like writing an essay for school everyday for 31 days… Its horrific.
My thanks go out to the people who contributed to the 31 days, it will surely change some people in significant ways. I especially valued the online reputation article, certainly got me googling myself and rethinking my image!

In the age when near damn every magazine is about mindless society junk, visiting AoM and finding a new article is like a piece of gold. Get a good break and get back to writing wonderful articles! Thank you!

21 A September 3, 2012 at 12:06 am

What about young women?

22 Cody September 3, 2012 at 3:04 am

I wanted to leave a thank-you for all of the work you have put into this series. I have followed it from the beginning, and it couldn’t have come at a better point in my life. I learned much in a variety of areas, reinforced knowledge in others, and enjoyed an engaging read overall. Again, thank you!

23 Ruben Cardenas September 3, 2012 at 3:38 am

Absolutely loved this series and want to thank everyone who worked their butts off on it. Such a great resource not only for myself but one I love recommending to friends. Enjoy your rest and I hope you guys come back refreshed, encouraged and good to go again.

24 kelvin September 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

I loved every article in this series.Am from kenya,Africa starting life on my own soon and i have found tons of useful information .Thank you.

25 Daniel Rojas September 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

Hi everybody,

I just wanted to congratulate and thank all the people who were part of this series, I read it completely and I am finding my way to apply it in my day.

I am in my earlies 20′s and the articles hit on the target for me.

Also, the comments of the posts were very usefull for me.


26 Paul September 3, 2012 at 8:05 am

I think you should put this into a book.

27 KambizAmini September 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thanks for the articles! They MUST be put into a eBook. Very interesting and helpful issues of life were brought up during the series. This are kind of knowledge all male needs. Keep up the good work!

28 S.W. September 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm

A job well done deserves a good vacation! Hope your family enjoys the next week and a half. This series was a lot of fun. A great reference for any man setting out on his own or (as in my case) in need of some pointers on how to fine tune their lifestyle.

29 Gianni D'Alerta September 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Forget the ebook, it should be put into a physical book, something vintage looking, so I could give it to my son when he gets older. I would even give a copy out to all my scouts.

30 Steve September 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Fine writing and even better content, folks.

As a 60-something who raised both a man and a woman, however, I was struck over and over again that very little of your content was truly limited to the male gender. I found raising my children that, for the most part, what was good for the boy was good for the girl. Both need to know how to get along with others, change a tire, manage stress, stock a kitchen, cook, and find a place to live.

I’m not knocking you, by the way. Far from it! Just observing that if everyone educated themselves along these lines, regardless of their sex, it would be between-the-eyes awesome.

Enjoy your vacation, recharge your batteries, and know that your audience is waiting.

31 Jake September 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I thought this series was fantastic. And while yeah, much of the information applied to both men and women, I just want to say I really appreciate that it was directed a young man, and wasn’t generic. Because it included stuff on hygiene for guys (the post made me get some Gold Bond powder!), and tying a tie, and taking care of men’s clothes, and a good workout for men and stuff. A generic series wouldn’t have been as helpful, imho. I’ve been out on my own for a few years now, but things really haven’t gone so well for me. Hopefully using some of these tips can turn things around for me.

32 J. Delancy September 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Another excellent post Brett and Kate. I’ve been on my own for 16 years, yet still found information that was useful to a midlife man.

Thanks again.

33 Jesse September 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thanks so much guys!

I’m actually moving out in two weeks and It’s been Extremely helpful.

Thanks again and God bless!

34 Paul September 4, 2012 at 8:50 am

I just found your site recently, when looking up shaving advice, and I wanted to say thank you for all the tips and especially this series. I’ve been on my own for many years now and I’m in my early 30′s I still found some of the tips very helpful. I didn’t exactly have a lot of instruction on life skills when I was grown up so it was great to finally get some advice! Keep up the great work, and know it’s appreciated.

35 Matthew September 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Thank you so much for this series. You guys blew me away with the detail and the hard work put into these posts was obvious. As a young man who will be headed out of the parents house very soon! These could not have come at a more opportune time. I plan to share them with a group of my close friends who don’t consistently read aom and go through each of the articles with them. Again, thank you so much.

36 Tim September 5, 2012 at 6:46 am

No apology needed; these articles apply to all men, not just those heading out on their own. It should definitely count as part of your “regular content”. There was plenty of material to keep me reading for some time!

37 Benjamin September 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

Such a great series! Very well done. I wish I’d had these when I moved out on my own. I sent them to my 20 year old step-brother, and I’m going to force him to read every one. I also loved how the articles linked to so many other great AoM articles from the archives that I either hadn’t read or needed to re-read. Thanks for all of your work.

38 Lucas September 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thanks, this whole series just came at the right time for me.

39 Ara Bedrossian September 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

And you stay manly as well. There is not other way to live, is there?

40 Vincent September 9, 2012 at 6:19 am

Thanks for all the hard work. Got my own place for two and a half week now and this series helped me a lot.

Loads of respect for this site Brett & Kate. Thanks again.

41 Joshua September 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

When I was 12, I lost my father. I never grew up knowing what the concept of manliness is, only that when I grew up I found myself acting “older” than everyone else. It has been years of this constant battle between wondering if I was just experiencing PTSD, or if I was just too used to being sheltered by my mother because of what happened.

Then I found the Art of Manliness.

I spent hours reading articles at random. From “how to tie a tie” to such things as “Heading Out on Your Own.” I read about the different experiments, virtues, and what it meant to be a true man in an unmanly world. I realized this is exactly what I wanted, this is exactly what I needed. It was what my father was going to teach me, but never could.

I’ve just now come around to saying this, and I feel now would be the most appropriate time: Thank you for The Art of Manliness, from the bottom of my heart. This website has taught me what it means to truly grow up and stand out in the world. It showed me that I am not “just another college kid” but am, in fact, becoming a man.

42 Raheel Farooq September 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Wow, man.
I’ve been visiting your site since 2008. I don’t remember how I came across it, but I can’t definitely forget that I’d found it an internet classic in itself.
Then, I became busy coping with the rigors of life and didn’t have enough time to revisit for quite a while. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to come again quite accidentally.
There’s a huge difference between now and then. I used to be a young, wanton guy till just a year ago. Now, I’m married and trying to establish myself as a family man. Interested now in the internet from a rather practical point of view, I find it amazing to see that your site is among top 10,000 sites universally.
It’s not only hard work on your behalf, but the pleasure and satisfaction in your site’s visitors which has contributed to your success, sometimes silently like I did in past, sometimes openly like I’m doing now. I don’t know why, but I’m very happy to see you grow up. Your outlook towards male fashion and lifestyle deserved it, but I feared there are not many who will like it in today’s hippy-dominated world. I’m more than happy to see my judgement falsified!
Okay, may be you’re annoyed that this comment is out of context, or not so manly, so I wind it up here.
Thank you!

43 Bob September 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

Knew how to do all of the above when I was 11. The problem is few know how at 50.

44 moe September 12, 2012 at 9:19 am

When is is time to start to get rid of all the STUFF that you have collected at this point in your life? How to do it and to look forward to how you feel when it ALL GONE!

45 Mrs. Mom September 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

Where are the parents when they were raising their sons? The core problem is that the parents did not have a good skill base. Children learn by example as well as instruction. My husband and I raised three boys and three girls. Having a good skill base in our family is considered to be just as important as the degree(s)/careers. Both daughter-in-laws were impressed how “domesticated” and talented our sons are. All three boys have a very firm (manly arts) skill base because of their father. While all my sons knew how to tie a necktie by their teens, my youngest son knew how to tie a tie at nine. At twelve, all our children were introduced to the washing machine, dryer, wash line, and iron. They were expected to do their own laundry from then on. They did just fine.

46 Salient September 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

I’m now in my 3rd week of college all on my own and I just wanted to express my gratitude for writing this series. Thank you so much!

47 Jack September 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

well done and way to stick with it. This series should be printed up. I would buy it for my son.

48 hermes September 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I really love these skills. They are very important skills when walking into the wild. Thanks for sharing with us.

49 Chris November 25, 2012 at 9:35 pm

This article is definitely getting a favorite. Taught me a few things, and refreshed everything else. I am going to share this with my dad.

50 Kevin January 12, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Where is the eBook?????

51 Jordan Gray July 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Absolutely brilliant write up. We all appreciate the hard work that you put into writing these life skills into one cohesive package.

I find a severe lacking in today’s men’s self-help movement on autonomy and reliability. This page is the perfect counterpoint to that deficiency.

Thanks AoM team!

52 Adam July 31, 2013 at 3:57 am

to the ones asking about the women….no offense to the ladies but I am glad this was aimed at men….although a lot of this advice would do well for women to hear but I am really glad this was aimed strictly at men.

society seems to be extremely feminised these days and aims things at women so its nice to see a how to grow up series aimed at guys and the things that slobs who are guys do.

girls that are slobs do different things. never mind the different clothing issues as well.

I for one am glad it was aimed at men and appreciate that. it hit home a lot more.

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