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Which household items have made your life easier/more convenient/happier?

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  • Which household items have made your life easier/more convenient/happier?

    My wife and I are in the process of buying our first home. I know the data that experiences > material items in terms of happiness but that's not the topic for this particular post. I'm curious as to what particular material items people have found that the cost/purchase has actually made their life better - either purely happier, more convenient, less maintenance, etc... I'm not talking necessarily about services (lawn care, pool maintenance, etc...) but physical items.

    Some items come to mind immediately for me as example...
    -Wifi: we are paying for more ethernet drops, currently have mesh network, and faster internet speed --> I never have to worry about slow internet.
    -Nest thermostat: we use it all the time to adjust temperatures when we're driving home or to regulate the house.
    -Energy efficient LED lightbulbs: save energy but they last much longer so I have to replace them much less frequently.
    -Programmable coffee maker: prepare the night before and ready to go in the morning

    Along a similar vane, what items did you THINK would make life better and actually DIDN'T live up to expectations?
    -Such as other "smart home" items just didn't work out as you planned. For instance, I've heard many people say WiFi enabled locks on the door (not necessarily keypads) were more of a nuisance (having to change batteries a couple times a year) than they were worth (rarely use front door - garage opener for instance) while other people swear by them.


    We are essentially trying to figure out where to put some of our money over the next several years and expectations are often different than reality.


  • #2
    a word on nest thermostat: that's fine but be aware you don't need something expensive like that. We have programmable thermostats that aren't wi-fi enabled and thus aren't connected to our phone, but they are set up to turn on and off at certain times of the day, and there's a M-F programmable option and a weekend setting. Works for both heat and A/C. These were like $50 vs $200+ for nest.

    I recently separated from a job and they had a rewards program I never used while I was there. The program was points-based and I'd lose those points once I left so I cashed out and got an iRobot vacuum. OMG....these things are a beast. I can't believe the amount of stuff it picks up and we run it every day. We only vacuumed once every other week or so before...now we hardly do and considering how much it picks up I'm grossed out by what my life was like before! I didn't have to pay anything and don't think I would have otherwise forked over $350-$750 for one but now that I have it I'm not sure I could go back. It does an awesome job
    Last edited by JBME; 07-15-2020, 06:37 AM.

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    • #3
      Depending on how much yard you have and if you plan to cut it yourself - a heavy duty zero turn mower.
      Last edited by WorkingToFish; 07-15-2020, 05:02 AM. Reason: Woops - missed the part about not talking lawn care!

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      • #4
        A Ring security system. Inexpensive and pretty easy to set up yourself.

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        • #5
          I concur with the Roomba. It is quiet enough to run at night as we put the kids to bed so my first floor gets vacuumed everyday. Somewhat of a Catch 22 because If I did not have kids I would not need it as much but the kids make it much harder to use because they always mess with it. Had it for 3 years now and it is still going strong despite my toddlers riding it and throwing it down the stairs.

          However my biggest advice is to just try to delay as much as possible. Spend some time in the home and it will be much more clear what you need and want and you can save yourself the frustrations of getting items that you will not use.

          Of course switch everything to LED. That eventually pays for itself and not having to change bulbs often is great. I do not think I have had an LED burn out yet.

          I also got these https://www.yourstoreonline.net/wall...waasamealw_wcb

          I find it great with being able to navigate my home at night when the kids are up yet they cannot mess with them like a plug in type. It does make me feel like I live in a movie theater though...

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          • #6
            I installed a lock that I punch a code into to get into my garage walk in door. I love not taking a key. I was worried about wifi locks. I can open my garage door with my cellphone but I rarely do this. I just use the remote on my sunvisor.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by WorkingToFish View Post
              Depending on how much yard you have and if you plan to cut it yourself - a heavy duty zero turn mower.
              Couldn't agree with this more. Mowing 10 acres with a cheap mower is horrible and takes forever. A few years ago I upgraded to a Scag Cheetah; now I mow in half the time and way more comfortably. Yes, it cost as much as a small car, but when you have to spend so much time mowing, to me it was definitely worth it. Plus, the thing is a tank - I'm hoping it'll be the last mower I ever buy.

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              • #8
                Eneloop rechargeable batteries. A good quality knife set. Switching to LED lights.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hank View Post
                  Eneloop rechargeable batteries. A good quality knife set. Switching to LED lights.
                  +1 on quality knife set. Add a stone knife sharpener.

                  If you've never cut your hands by accident slicing things, its probably just because you have dull knives rather than great knife skills.

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                  • #10
                    Simplicity gives me the most happiness. Less home, less lawn, less maintenance, less tech, less cost, fewer hassles.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JK View Post

                      Some items come to mind immediately for me as example...
                      -Wifi: we are paying for more ethernet drops, currently have mesh network, and faster internet speed --> I never have to worry about slow internet.
                      -Nest thermostat: we use it all the time to adjust temperatures when we're driving home or to regulate the house.
                      -Energy efficient LED lightbulbs: save energy but they last much longer so I have to replace them much less frequently.
                      -Programmable coffee maker: prepare the night before and ready to go in the morning

                      Along a similar vane, what items did you THINK would make life better and actually DIDN'T live up to expectations?
                      -Such as other "smart home" items just didn't work out as you planned. For instance, I've heard many people say WiFi enabled locks on the door (not necessarily keypads) were more of a nuisance (having to change batteries a couple times a year) than they were worth (rarely use front door - garage opener for instance) while other people swear by them.


                      We are essentially trying to figure out where to put some of our money over the next several years and expectations are often different than reality.
                      I have whole house wifi with 3 access points and multiple multiple CAT-6 and CAT5e drops and coax drops to each room. Quite cheap, and fast to wire post framing and before drywall is put up. One of my better decisions.

                      Geothermal heating and cooling. With tax credit not much more than standard AC and far more efficient, almost whisper quiet, lower power bills and should last longer.

                      I have whole house LED's

                      Whole house foam insulation. Again a great decision made pre drywall. Even our garage is not too hot or cold since it also has spray foam.

                      Love the wifi locks. They have keypad as well as phone enabled and the August by Yale even as a physical key that one can use. And it has a function that it can open automatically as you walk in as it can connect to your phone in your pocket. No need to even tap on the keypad. The batteries should last 1+ year.

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                      • #12
                        Nest thermostats were not expensive at all. A couple of years ago there was dramatic reductions in the price of the latest Nest thermostats at both Cosrtco, and our power company also sold it via their site. It cost me $110-125 each. Not that much different that the higher end Honeywell at $75. But so much better, easier to monitor and adjust from home or even while traveling. I have 6 in the office and used to get upset when the staff would chill during the day and walk away in the evening without raising temp. ( the programmed temp settings of Honeywell never quite worked most of the time).

                        Now the 6 nests in the office have learned about the office thermostat usage and now automatically raise it to 80F at 6.00 PM. I also check in at nights from my home once in a while and fine tune it, if needed.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WorkingToFish View Post
                          Depending on how much yard you have and if you plan to cut it yourself - a heavy duty zero turn mower.
                          Couldn't agree with this more. Mowing 10 acres with a cheap mower is horrible and takes forever. A few years ago I upgraded to a Scag Cheetah; now I mow in half the time and way more comfortably. Yes, it cost as much as a small car, but when you have to spend so much time mowing, to me it was definitely worth it. Plus, the thing is a tank - I'm hoping it'll be the last mower I ever buy.

                          Which ZTM would you suggest for a 3 acre cutting area, which includes 28000 feet lawn grass and the rest being pasture grass / weedy growth. And what cutting diameter ?

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                          • #14
                            • double oven
                            • oversize or triple car garage
                            • garage sink
                            • closets in each bathroom
                            • electrical outlets in closets
                            • bedroom on first floor with full bath
                            • wide doorframes/double doors on first floor to accommodate wheelchair or walker
                            • large laundry room with built in closets to house ironing board/vacuum/cleaning supplies
                            • extra refrigerator/freezer in garage
                            • deep kitchen cabinets to accommodate larger/wider dishes and platters
                            • walk-in kitchen pantry
                            • wide walk up stairs to the attic
                            • screened porch
                            • outside lighting that is accessible for cleaning and changing bulbs
                            • wide driveway that can easily accommodate four cars without having to do a car shuffle every morning

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                            • #15
                              You guys mentioned a Roomba and ZTM - have you seen the robotic lawn mower? $1000. The guy at home depo says it works pretty well.

                              https://www.amazon.com/WORX-WR140-La.../dp/B07TWHSWW8

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