Caring for Your Self and Your Stuff


As a small child, you family or guardians probably took care of your food and meals, bought and washed your clothes, took care of your health and safety needs and probably helped you keep your things organized. As you grow up, it makes sense for you to begin taking more responsibility for yourself and your things. When you leave home to go to school or work, it will be much easier to adjust if you have some of these basics figured out.

Taking care of your stuff

Do you have different notebooks for different subjects or at least different sections? Why? You probably said something like, it is easier to keep track of your work and assignments this way. Same is true of your things. Having regular places where you keep your clothes, books, papers, electronics and other possessions can help you keep things organized and prevent them from getting lost. Hopefully, as you have approached the end of high school, you’ve been taking on more responsibility for managing your own stuff!

It can also be really helpful for you to learn some basics of how to fix simple things around the house. Changing light bulbs that have blown out, simple fixes of cars, small appliances and electronics might be things you can learn a bit about from your parents or friends. Make sure to know your limits and what you can and can’t do safely though.


Chances are pretty good that when you move out of your home, you will be responsible for cleaning your clothes. It’s good to learn the basics for this while you are still at home and someone can give you some pointers.

It is actually pretty simple. Here is an 8 year old kid explaining how to do laundry. You can find lots more information and “how to” videos on YouTube.

Grocery shopping

If you are planning to attend a college with residence halls, you will very likely be eating many of your meals through a campus meal plan. But if you aren’t planning to attend college, you are living off campus or your meal plan does not cover all meals it is a good idea to have some basic ideas about how to shop for food. If you are nearing the end of high school and have never done this before, go shopping with your parent or guardian a few times and ask them how they decide what they need and what to buy. Here are a couple of things to consider when shopping for groceries:
  • Thing about what a reasonable budget is for your food.
  • Large chain stores are usually less expensive than small local grocery stores.
  • Prepared food is usually more expensive and often less healthy than food you (or someone else) prepare yourself.
  • Remember that many items can last a long time (cereal, uncooked pasta, raw beans and most canned foods for example) so you can buy them ahead of time and keep them for a while. But many items like fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, poultry and fish don’t last long after you buy them.
  • Many (but not all) perishable items can be frozen and kept for a longer period of time.
  • You will have more options if you can have a refrigerator and can cook in your dorm or apartment.
  • Consider how convenient grocery shopping is to you. If it is difficult to get to a grocery store, it makes sense to plan further ahead and shop for larger quantities of food at once. If you have easy access, you can shop for a day or meal at a time.
You can find lots of videos about food shopping and cooking on YouTube

Managing yourself

When you leave home to go to school or live on your own after high school, you will need to know how to manage other basic tasks. No one will get you up in the morning or tell you when to eat or go to bed. It is really helpful to begin assuming more responsibility for managing these things during your high school years so that the transition is easier. Start setting your own alarm and setting your own bed time and study, work and recreation schedule. Start taking care of your haircuts, other personal care appointments and, as much as appropriate, your medical and dental care appointments. Your family can still keep an eye on things and step in when you need guidance or support. Talk with them about how you can start taking care of yourself more to practice for when you are living more independently.
Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.