“The $185 Smart Home Devices That Changed My Life.”
Apartment Tips – Waking up to a “Smart Apartment”.
Some people pop out of bed with the energy of Terry Crews in an Old Spice commercial. I am not the lucky recipient of that energy on most mornings. I decided to make a change to my morning routine using smart home technology.
Here is a typical bad morning for me:
5:48 am: 1st alarm goes off and I realize that it is dark and cold outside and no one should be awake…because it’s dark and cold. Pull covers tighter and hit snooze.
5:57 am: Alarm goes off again. This time I grab my phone and contemplate getting up.
6:00 am: I realize that I was up an extra 30 minutes last night making sure I could respond to ALL the potential incoming comments on my most recent Instagram post and that I only got 6 hours and 45 minutes of sleep. Everyone knows that I require 7 hours and 15 minutes for optimal productivity and health. I reset my alarm for 6:30 am.
6:30 am: Alarm goes off. I violently wake up from of my weird 30 minute dream of being late for work while stuck in quicksand and everyone standing around not offering any help…but it’s cold and I haven’t had a sip of coffee, so let me check my phone real quick….Jimmy Fallon had a funny bit last night….I missed the end of the football game….my Bitcoin holdings decreased by 15%….there was a good happy hour on Snapchat yesterday….FOMO….my Bitcoin holdings are back up 10%….
7:00 am: I am out of bed and making coffee.
7:10 am: Drink coffee and prepare my work out bag.
7:15 am: Realize that I can’t get to the gym and back in-time to make it to work by 8:30 am so I decide to make breakfast.
7:30 am: Eat eggs and listen to podcast on motivation…
7:45 am: Shower.
8:15 am: Head to work.
All of this stalling started from the first time I hit that snooze button and it snowballed into more excuses. I was losing almost two hours of my day, and I identified the main problems(besides internal motivation) as:
- Without Coffee(Hot water or Tea)
- The Snooze Button
The solution is to start my morning without my involvement using automated smart home technology and remove the excuses. Thus, having the light, coffee maker, and heater turn on before I even wake up.
$70: 2 Leelbox Wifi Mini Smart Plug Outlet – I chose 4 total outlets ($70 for 4 outlets) to incorporate the space heater, coffee maker, and lamps but some may be able to get by with just two. You don’t need a hub for these and they will work on an “on”/”off” schedule and you can control them with your phone using the Smart Life App. I chose a hub and smart life app to have voice control and mobile control. These have up to a 240v capacity and have some of the best reviews on Amazon.
$15.99(on sale): Black and Decker Coffee Maker – This is a “dumb” coffee maker in the fact that it is turned on using a switch. The coffee switch is always “on” and the outlet turns on and off based on my schedule. Any coffee maker with a switch will work and there are also more expensive coffee makers out there that have the timer option, in which case you wouldn’t need the smart switch. Make sure to fill the reservoir with water the night before and place the cup under the spout. (I also use this for making Tea in the morning)
$49: Space Heater with Dial or Switch – This is also purely based on preference, but I found that a hotter room gets me up easier in the morning(I fall asleep faster in a cooler room) and I am not allowed to install a Nest Thermostat in my apartment. I love going to bed in a cold environment and waking up in a warm one. Some people may prefer the opposite or would rather hook up a regular fan. The point is to make sure it is a “dumb” fan or heater with a switch or dial to use the smart outlet between 15 and 30 minutes before you wake up.
$49: Google Home Mini (Or Alexa) – This is not a requirement, but does make life easier when you want to turn something on or off without pulling out your phone using voice commands. Also, it will allow for further automated integrations. Plus, it is cool when you can say, “hey google, lights out.” – like the scene in IRobot.
$0 Smart Life App – Controls the outlets and any other smart tech you have in your home. You will name your outlets, “Light”, “Coffee”, etc. and set your schedules through this app.
$0 Google Home App – Controls your Google Home Mini and connects to your Smart Life App and its outlets. This will allow you to say, “Hey Google, Turn off Lights”. Connect to the Smart Life App using the Home Controls settings in this app.
Here is how my new automated morning goes:
4:45 am: Electric space heater turns on next to my bed.
5:05 am: Distant lamp turns on.
5:15 am: Room is warm and the coffee maker turns on.
5:20 am: Room is warm, coffee is done, and the alarm on the Google Home Mini goes off.
5:21 am: I tell google, “Turn off alarm.”(For some reason, it is easier to stay up once you have had to physically speak) I am up and tell google to turn on my other light and turn on my “Morning Jams” on Spotify. I drink my hot coffee and prepare my to-do list.
5:30 am: I am in the shower or on the way to the gym and all my appliances turn off.
The heat, smell, sounds, and taste of coffee, and light all attribute to my morning glory.
There are 100+ different automated combinations of morning routines(TV, Music, Electric Candle, Energy Lights, Electric Blankets, Etc.), so do what is right for you in your apartment. I know what many of you are thinking…”Stop being lazy and just get out of bed to save the $185″. For those of you who can do that with ease or training, gold stars all around! My goal is to give a little info how I used home automation to improve my morning routine and I will look for further integrations to simplify my life. The most important items in my home are now connected using the internet of things! Hopefully, some of you found this helpful.
Anonymous Resident at The Newbern Apartments in Kansas City
Note: Please do your own research on price and functionality. We are not technical, mechanical, or electric experts, so please pay attention to warnings and fire hazards. Note that increasing usage of heaters and fans will increase your electric bill so weigh your costs and benefits of gaining extra hours in your day.