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When you have a yard sale, you put a lot out there (literally!). You have very personal items for sale; you’re admitting to some degree that you need extra cash, and you’re inviting strangers onto your property. A yard sale can be a great way to fill in some financial gaps, but it’s also an easy way for people to take advantage of you. Here are some tips for a safe and successful yard sale. Lock the doors to your home If your plan is to sit in a beach chair blocking your front door, you’ll quickly see why that won’t work. Somebody will want you to inspect a scratch on the heavy dresser over here, or help you move something over there, and the door will be left alone. Lock all doors to your home during your yard sale. To save yourself the stress of remembering, you can schedule to lock them through your home automated system. Close your garage If you have valuables in your garage, keep it closed during your yard sale. There will be a lot… Read more

The transition from summer to fall can be tough for a lot of reasons: it can be emotionally difficult if you struggle with seasonal depression, it can be financially difficult if you live somewhere where you blast the heater, and it can be socially difficult because everybody wants to stay indoors. Here is how a home-automated system can make the transition from summer to fall a little bit easier. Schedule your thermostat You may not need to run your heater on high at night time because you’re all bundled up under blankets and your flannel pajamas, but getting out of bed in the morning is brutal. You might turn on your heater then, but that walk from your cozy bed to the thermostat is unbearably cold, and waiting for your house to heat up while you get dressed is miserable. Schedule your thermostat to go on shortly before your alarm goes off in the morning, so your home is already warm when you get up. You also don’t want to run the heater all day, running up your bill, while… Read more

We all miss the carefree nature of childhood. Do you remember feeling like nothing could go wrong? Do you remember feeling like you were invincible? It was a wonderful feeling…and also one of the reasons childhood is very dangerous. If you’re all grown up now and have children of your own, you want them to get to enjoy the great outdoors and play with their peers. But a lot of outdoors activities can be hazardous. Here are some outdoor activities that kids love and that you need to monitor. Playing in leaves A kid looks at a big pile of dry, red and orange leaves, and sees a natural pillow to jump into. You see a bunch of leaves covering the unknown. Anything from cigarette butts and needles to spiders and dead rats could be in there. If you have small children that play in your yard, make sure to clear piles of leaves, debris and branches regularly so they don’t jump in them. Climbing trees Tree climbing seems like a staple activity of childhood, but it’s pretty dangerous. Branches… Read more

That first moment when you think of throwing a party, it all sounds so fun in your head. All you can see is your friends around you and the drinks pouring and the music playing. What you forget, of course, is that behind all that will be you running around, checking on ovens, making sure everybody is comfortable, and barely resting to enjoy your own party. But you should be able to enjoy your hard work! Here is how a home-automated system can help you do that. Turn on appliances from anywhere You’re in the middle of a great conversation when you remember, “I have to preheat the oven for the appetizers!” But what happens when you start walking to the oven? You’re caught up in this other conversation, you’re roped into pouring someone a new drink, and someone snags you to give parking directions to their friend over the phone. You left your great conversation and you didn’t preheat the oven on time. Using your smart phone, you can turn on appliances around your house wherever you are. Don’t… Read more

You might think motion sensor lights are for the lazy. You might think they’ll only be a nuisance—possibly going off in the middle of the night because of a squirrel, and waking you up. But motion sensor lights can actually serve to not only make your life far more convenient, but also to make it safer. Here are 5 places you’ll be relieved to have motion sensor lights. Your driveway Having lights in your driveway can do a lot to scare off potential burglars, but having a light that is on all night long in the driveway is costly, and not that effective in defending against crime. Think about it: if a burglar can see from several blocks away that your driveway is lit, he might just contrive some way to get onto your property without passing under that light. He may even just knock the light out. But if you have motion sensor lights, then from a distance, a burglar might think it’s perfectly safe to approach your home. Once he gets onto your driveway, the motion sensor lights… Read more