Remember the rules: Walk around these areas, take note of what needs explanation, snap some photos, and let our questions get your mind working. Don’t forget to use the same notebook or digital document from these previous Home Operating System tasks: Common Areas | Security & Automation | Basement | Main Floor | Upstairs (or your home’s equivalent)
There’s a lot of business that takes place outside so check out all the spots we mention and any info that should be shared along with each.
Is your garage a place where you only keep the car, or is it a fully functioning room where there’s no space for a car? Do you have a system for organizing tools and other supplies? Are there any toxic chemicals your family should know to avoid? Is this where you keep the holiday decorations like Christmas lights and Halloween monsters? If this stuff isn’t in the garage, maybe it’s in a shed, attic, or hallway closet.
If you have a garage door opener, how do you keep it operational since those things always seem to break. If it has a code, that goes with passwords. If you have extra remotes, where do you keep them?
What’s your landscape situation? Do you take pride in keeping a lawn or garden looking tip-top? Do you have special flowers or vegetables you plant each year? Which plants always grow best and what are your secrets? If you hire someone to help, that’ll go in your Home & Vehicle Maintenance Contacts.
But if you mow, fertilize, and tend to it yourself, lay it all out so it doesn’t turn into a messy jungle. This also involves raking leaves and snow removal. Same goes for paying attention to dangerous trees that could smash into your home during a storm, roof and gutter maintenance, or any property issues you may have with neighbors. Oh, and if you have a pool, do you care for it or have you shared the contact info for an outside vendor?
When it comes to illumination, do you have an automated lighting schedule? Is it part of your home automation set-up? How would someone change it? A widow we spoke with told us after her husband passed she didn’t know how to control the porch lights since he had connected them to an automated system and never explained how to use it.
On the scheduling front, when is the garbage and recycling pick-up? These are the types of things that should be on a calendar on the fridge. “Put garbage out Monday and Wednesday night; Recycling is the first and third Tuesday of the month.” Same with suspending mail service if you’re away for a long period of time. What about a newspaper delivery? Or those coupon circulars in plastic bags always wet with dew that appear out of nowhere. Since you have no control over these, do you tell a neighbor when you’re away to throw ‘em out so people don’t know you’re away?
As you can see from taking a tour around your home there’s so much knowledge in your head that needs to be in your Home Operating System. Think really hard of all the situations you’ve encountered with your property over the years to make it as comprehensive as possible.