Category: 1,000 Things to Know

Making the Perfect Single-Serving Homemade Lemonade

While certainly not a necessary thing to learn in life, knowing how to make your own homemade lemonade is definitely an added bonus.  This step-by-step will show you how to make your own tart, yet sweet glass of lemonade.

1. Take 1 average-sized lemon and cut in half (the little knobs should be on either side).



2. Using a hand juicer (or any other kind of juicer you have), press down on the lemon and move it in circles around the ridges to squeeze the juice out of the lemon.  I usually do this over a medium-sized bowl.


3. Pour 1/4 cup of hot water (the hottest water that you can get out of the tap should be fine) into your glass.


4. Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar to the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.


5. Add 3/4 cup of cold water to the hot water and sugar mixture.


6. Measure out and add 3 Tablespoons of the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the glass and stir (I’m normally able to get about 3 Tablespoons of juice from each lemon- if it’s a little less, it should still taste fine).


7. Add ice and enjoy!


Making an Omelette

  1. Break two eggs and add a splash of water.
  2. Whisk until slightly frothy.
  3. Heat the frying pan to a high temperature (you can check if it’s hot enough by splashing water on it; the water should fizzle off).
  4. Add the eggs to the pan, tilting it to get an even spread.
  5. Immediately turn down the temperature and cover the pan with a lid.
  6. Check frequently to see if the top is cooked (make sure that none of the egg is still liquid).
  7. Once the egg is cooked you can add cheese and other toppings to one half (prepare these in advance).
  8. Fold in half and remove from the stove to serve (the egg should be warm enough to melt any cheese).

Memorize Personal Information

If you haven’t memorized your address or phone number, better get on that. Likewise with your social security number. It’s unwise to carry this around with you, so you should have it committed to memory.

Memorize your most important passwords. (But for the rest use a password utility, so that you can make sure all of your passwords are unique.)

Riding a Bike

You should know how to ride a bike. I learned how to ride a bike as a child, but for those of you who didn’t, here’s how:

Read Quote of Venkatesh Rao’s answer to Learning New Things: What are some things you can realistically teach yourself in a weekend? on Quora
Biking is great exercise, and an efficient means of transport for short distances. If you don’t absolutely need a car of your own, biking is a great way of saving money and staying in shape (even if you do have a car, you should bike when you can). For distances of a mile or less, it’s even often quicker to get from one point to another if you live in a small town (bikes are supposed to follow the same traffic laws as other vehicles, but in some places it’s not a big deal if you ride on the sidewalk at times—just watch out for pedestrians).

It’s also important to know how to maintain a bike, especially the following tasks:

  • Inflating tires
  • Putting a chain back on
  • Oiling a chain
  • Patching or replacing a tube
  • Adjusting the brakes

The more often you ride, the more you’ll need to pick up other basic repair skills. It’s also a good idea to get a tune-up at a bike shop about once a year.

Safety is important too. Wear a helmet. Wear bright clothes. Carry water. Make sure your bicycle has reflectors. Learn and use turn signals.

Driving Safely

Know how to drive safely. Learn basic automobile repair. Know about other regulations for automobile owners and operators.

Popular Mechanics recommends the following skills (and a few others; see

You should also know how to change oil.

In the event that you get in an accident, stay calm but check for injuries immediately. Even if the accident is minor, call the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene of the accident. You can find some more tips here:

Be sure to have your vehicle inspected regularly. Regulations vary by state, I believe, so you’ll need to check the relevant laws yourself. For example, in New York State (according to

All vehicles registered in New York State must get a safety inspection and an emissions inspection every 12 months. Both inspections are also required when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred…Both inspections are done at the same time by a DMV-certified inspector at privately-owned inspection stations licensed by DMV.

When purchasing a vehicle, do your research and make sure you get a title transferred.

Doing Laundry

You should know how to do laundry, and how to remove different type of stains from clothes as well as other objects.

If you’re not too particular it is usually sufficient to sort clothes into two categories, colors and whites. Make sure that nothing requires dry-cleaning (if it does, take it to a professional). For a top-loading washing machine, add laundry detergent and then put in your clothes. Settings vary (in my dorm I simply have to select between whites and colors). For whites you want the hot water setting, and cold for colors. Machines vary, so check the manual or do a search for more information.

Also, don’t forget to:

  • Check pockets prior to washing
  • Check labels for special instructions, especially if fabrics are unusual

Most items of clothing should be set aside to be washed after being worn once. Overcoats, sweatshirts, and other articles that don’t come into direct contact with skin can be washed much less frequently. Denim jeans can sometimes be worn up to a dozen times before washing. However, if it starts to smell, wash it.

To keep on top of things, it is recommended to do laundry about once a week.

Keeping a Clean House

You should know how to clean and how often to do so.

Cleaning most rooms is often just organizing (though if you put things away immediately after use, you can avoid needing to do much of this at any one time) and a bit of dusting. Put everything in its place. If it doesn’t have a place, get rid of it or make a place for it. Dust solid surfaces with a slightly damp rag. Clear cobwebs from the ceiling.

Apartment Therapy has created a good schedule for cleaning. I think it’s a bit idealistic, but that’s what we should aim for. It’s not fun, but if you vacuum only once in three months (like my roommate and I did one semester) things start to look a bit unpleasant.

Bathrooms are even less fun to clean than bedrooms, but they certainly need it. My college cleans bathrooms for us once a week, so I don’t have to worry about it too much, but it’s a good skill to have when you move into an apartment or for helping out at home. And it’s easy, just a bit gross.

Clean toilet bowls by squirting toilet bowl cleaner around the inside rim and then scrubbing thoroughly with a brush. Spray all parts of the toilet (including the flush lever) with a disinfectant spray such as Lysol. Also spray the floor around the toilet. Wipe up the remainder after a while.

Don’t forget to clean the bathtub and/or shower, sinks, etc. You can find more information at HowStuffWorks. Don’t neglect this warning:

Before you clean your toilet, read the label on your cleaning product to learn its exact chemical makeup and how it should be used. Be especially careful never to mix products that contain chlorine bleach with ammonia-base products.

Mixing bleach and ammonia is dangerous: it reacts to release toxic chemicals.

Selective Service Requirements

If you are a male in the United States, you should know about selective service requirements.


Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military.

The law requires virtually all male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live), and male immigrants residing in the U.S. (permanent resident aliens), to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.

If you are required to do so, be sure to register.

The Citizens for Selective Service Education site ( states that:

Failure to register can result in five years in Federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine. There are also other civil penalties. Although no one has been prosecuted under this law for many years, proof of registration is required to obtain Federal aid for college or job training, as well as most Federal jobs. In New York State, as well as many other states, you must consent to be registered in order to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit.

You can register online, at a post office, by mail, by checking a box on the FAFSA, or sometimes at your high school.

Specialization is for insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

Seth Godin once wrote a post titled The top 1,000 things to know.  “So what are they?” he begins, and lists 20 to get us started.  I wouldn’t say I’d agree with everything on the list (For starters, how do we define a thing?  And understanding the biographies of 500 historical figures is of much larger scope than knowing how to type.)  but every bullet certainly piqued my interest more and more.  Really, what are the things everyone should know, I wondered. Do I know them? And so I’ve set out to learn more about what I don’t know. This will be an ongoing account of that learning. Care to join me and follow along?

The real criteria for this list are:

  1. “Is this something everyone must know?”, or
  2. “Will knowing this bring enjoyment or utility to my life or another’s?”