Designing a Smart, Stress-Less Home

Last summer, Brad and I got our #adulting on in a major way when we purchased our first home together: a tiny brick bungalow built in 1910 in a sweet little neighborhood in Denver! Needless to say, it needed a LOT of work, and we spent nearly three months nonstop tearing down walls, refinishing the original hardwood floors that were buried under carpet, replacing all the electrical and plumbing throughout the house, and polishing this beauty up.

While it’s still a work in progress, I’m so proud of how much our efforts paid off, and, frankly, that we didn’t kill each other in the process! Our survival was partly why we decided to get married – we figured if we could make it through a home renovation that required as much work as this one did, we could make it through anything! (Confession: I did once cry about painting ceilings, which is where I draw the line. Turns out, I’m a terrible ceiling-painter and do not aspire to become a better one).

But now that we know how sparkling clean our polished old penny of a home can be, Brad and I are amazed at how quickly the upkeep piles up! Always on the lookout for ways we can keep our home lookin’ fresh with less effort, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite time and money-saving gadgets we’ve picked up along the way to reduce the mess – and stress – of keeping our place looking presentable.

I’d love to hear from you, too! What are your secrets for a stress-less home?

Amazon EchoAmazon Echo Dot | $39.99

To be honest, I was gifted this gadget after speaking at a tech company, and was initially skeptical about it. But now I can hardly start my day without it. Each morning I ask it to play Colorado Public Radio News and I start my day hearing the morning news before I’m even out of bed.

I use it to tell me the forecast when I’m packing my suitcase for a business trip and it can easily and quickly tell me what to expect in multiple cities where I’m heading on any given week. I also love it for setting timers, which I use often when cooking or baking. And when we’re in the kitchen cooking or tidying up, it plays my favorite podcasts and Amazon music playlists.

iRobot Braava mopiRobot Braava Mopper | $259.99

This thing is worth it’s weight in gold. As you can see, our hardwood floors are over 100 years old and full of…let’s say, character. With their dark finish, they show dust and pet hair like no other, and while I truly don’t mind vacuuming (our house is small enough that it takes less than 10 minutes), mopping is such a mess. I hate mopping. So before this little gadget, it never happened.

Now we just put up all our chairs on the table, soak the mopping cloth in warm water (and fill the mopper with more water, too), squirt floor cleaner all over the floors, and set this little robot to clean away while we sleep. I dream of sparkling-clean floors you could eat off of, and wake up to learn my dreams have come true.

KitchenAid Hand Blender

KitchenAid Immersion Blender | $47.99

I’m all about making nutritious, delicious breakfasts EASY to come by. Whipping up yummy smoothies that I can take on the go is easy with my KitchenAid blender (thanks for the gift, mom!). I use almond milk or yogurt as my base, throw in whatever fruit I have in the freezer (banana, blueberries, mango, or whatever I overbought at the farmer’s market) and toss in some supplements like Tone It Up protein powder (the BEST on the market), Primal Kitchen collagen, and/or chia seeds.

I’ve also used this blender for making quick and easy soups, which are great for a fall and winter dinners. It’s easy because you can use it to blend things up right there in the crock pot or stovetop pot. My favorites are squash soups of all kinds and this super healthy green detox soup, which I always make to ward off a cold when I feel one coming on.

Fortress Home SecurityFortress Total Security System System | $79+

We originally opted for this home security system because it worked even before we had Wifi running through the house. We just payed a small monthly fee for data and it ran off a SIM card! Once the renovations were done enough for us to move in and we got our WiFi up and running, it was a breeze to switch the system over to it and stop paying for data, too.

Part of being smart with our home means protecting it. Truthfully, I always thought these were unnecessary precautions for paranoid white people who were afraid of living in the city… and then my very expensive road bike got stolen out of our last apartment while Brad was upstairs sleeping (I was away on business)! We had apartment insurance, fortunately, but I’ll never get over that violated feeling of invasion – to think that some one actually crow-barred their way through our locked door, stole something of mine, and then bolted, leaving our back door WIDE OPEN until Brad and Teddy awoke the next morning to find the scene. NOT COOL, people.

Needless to say, this security system works well, if only at giving me peace of mind. I hope it never needs to do its actual job, but we’ll see.

I actually set it up all by myself (which sadly I can’t say for any other electronic in our home) and it was easy to attach sensors to all our windows and doors and test them. Now when the alarm is set, if anyone opens a door or window, it’ll set off a siren and flashing light and trigger a phone call and alert on our cell phones. It doesn’t dial the police or anything, but I kind of like that because it gives us more control. I also love that I can turn the alarm on right from their app on my smartphone, for when we inevitably forget to do it on our way out the door.

Do you have any gadgets that keep your home stress-less?

While I realize that you can’t buy work-life balance, I have to say: there are quite a few smart home hacks that can make daily life a whole lot easier. These are the grown-up goodies I’ve been loving lately, and I can’t wait to hear what you’d recommend, too!

Disclaimer: I’m an emphatic fan of all the products detailed above, which is why I’m recommending them. That said, some of the offers above also include affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn money when you click through to make purchase.


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