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Task: Create A Home Operating System Part 4: Main Floor

Here we examine the areas where we eat and then pass out in front of the TV after eating too much.

Remember the rules: We mention the room and questions to get your mind thinking of possible scenarios. You, or the person who knows how everything works, should write down notes and snap some photos if you think it’ll help. Don’t forget to use the same notebook or digital document from these previous Home Operating System tasks: Common Areas | Security & Automation | Basement


Rather than get specific like we did in the basement task, you want to concentrate on function. Think about your major appliances:

  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Stove/gas
  • Dish Washer
  • Garbage Disposal

Do these require any special instructions? If one conks out, are they under warranty? Is it worth hiring someone to repair it or is it time to upgrade? (If it can be repaired, is this person in your Home & Vehicle Maintenance Contacts?)

You might not want to waste your time providing details about small appliances — microwave, blender, crockpot, toaster, steamers, mixers, coffee maker, juicer. These are usually easily replaced unless they have a long warranty, or you went super high-end. Most normal people don’t toss away a classic espresso machine because the froth isn’t frothy enough.

The same goes for cooking and serving equipment. If it’s a cheap set of pans you picked up at Target on sale, ignore it. If it’s a serving bowl that was handed down from your great-grandmother, you’ll want to make a note of that when we discuss family heirlooms in a separate task.

The kitchen is also one of the areas of the house where you can make an immediate impact today when you do a walk through. If there are things you haven’t used in a long time — we’re looking at you, egg cooker — consider working it into your routine or donating it. We collect so many things we think we might one day use, but when that day seldom comes it’s time to make space for things you actually use.

Living Room/Den

We’re about to hit the entertainment nerve of the home, so it might get a little nerdy. It’s also the place where things can get overly complicated and messy as you add new components to your system.

Start out very simple: How would you explain the easiest way to watch TV to a 90-year grandpa?

Do you have cable or satellite? (How you pay for it goes in the Organize Your Home Utilities task.) Have you cut all the cords and use an Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, gaming console (Xbox or PlayStation) or other set-top box to access your shows and movies? Is the sound through the TV or do you have a separate surround sound system? What is your remote situation? Are you the type of family that plays remote roulette, with a stack of them on the coffee table and you hope to pick the right one? Or have you consolidated your system with a universal remote, like the ones from Logitech, which provide instant access with the touch of a button.

If you have a more complex system, it’s up to you to make it simple, like printing out a piece of paper with easy to read instructions. For example:

Watch Cable

  • Press “Cable” on the main remote
  • Set the TV to Input 2 (Input button on TV remote)
  • Set the surround sound to SAT/CABLE (or leave it off and watch TV like a caveman)

Watch Apple TV

  • Press “Apple TV” on
  • Set the TV to Input 4
  • Set the surround sound to “Device 1”

See how easy it can be to understand. We even had a system like this in our Everplans office written on our whiteboard walls to explain how to use different inputs on our TVs for meetings. This also helps with troubleshooting because it slyly gives all the details. If they go to watch cable, and the screen is blank, they can look at the sheet, notice the TV input isn’t correct, and fix it without hassling the person who set it all up.

Don’t fret about the actual streaming services like Netflix, Prime, or Disney+ which we cover in another task. For now, only pay attention to the hardware. It might not be as interesting as binging a new season of Ozark, but it allows everyone to watch whatever they want at all times without any tech hassles.

The Task

Walk through your kitchen and den/living room and seek out things that need to be explained. Now’s your chance to get this all on paper (or digital doc) pushing your Home Operating System to the halfway mark.

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