Moving into your own place sans roommates is a huge milestone. You’re part of a growing trend — 27 percent of Americans live alone now, up from a mere 5 percent in the 1920s. And the key to loving your bachelor/bachelorette pad is necessary tech gadgets that will streamline your independent living.
Here’s our list of five essential tech tips and recommendations for single living.
1. Invest in Keyless Locks
Forgot to turn off the stove? Need to let the cable guy into your house? Left your mail spilling out of your mailbox? When you’re living alone, it’s a good idea to give a few trusted family members and friends access to your home. If you don’t want to make (and keep track of) half a dozen key copies, keyless locks are the answer. With a digital lock system, you can “send” electronic keys to your trusted contacts, meaning you know exactly who has access to your apartment. And, as an added bonus, you’ll never have to rummage through your purse for your keys again.
There are plenty of keyless lock systems on the market, but one of the best for single living is the Kwikset Kevo. Using Bluetooth connectivity, the Kevo syncs your phone with your lock. Kevo replaces your regular deadbolt — if your phone is on you, all you have to do is touch the lock to open your door. If you don’t have a smartphone, the lock system comes with a fob that works the same way.
You also don’t have to physically be at your home to let in guests, housekeepers, or the repairman — you just send an eKey for temporary, scheduled access to your home. The Kevo is also encrypted for security, with pick-resistant locks and a detection system that will sense when you are or aren’t home.
2. Subscribe to a Home Security Service
Security is one of the top concerns for individuals living alone, and a good home security system will give you peace of mind. Gone are the days when pricey contracts and outdated equipment were your only options for home security. Today you can find home security systems with self-monitoring features and affordable monthly monitoring fees.
Scout is a simple and affordable home security system that began as a Kickstarter campaign. Hardware is monitored through your smartphone, and Scout can be integrated with most home automation platforms. SecurityGem gives the Scout platform a rating of five gems, calling it “an attractive option for home automation and security.” Users can pick the equipment combination they want, and the monthly fees for professional monitoring are among the most affordable on the market.
3. Digitize Your Filing Processes
Research shows that, over the course of your lifetime, you’ll spend an average of 153 days searching for lost items. Paperwork falls high on the list of most lost items. And while women tend to be better at keeping track of things than men, when you’re living alone, it’s easy to let paper clutter pile up on counters and desktops.
To bring order to your recordkeeping chaos, Evernote is a necessity. It acts as your digital filing cabinet, working across all your devices to let you transfer files from phone to computer to tablet, as needed. You can automatically add details to a folder or note by typing, taking a photo, importing a scanned document, or clipping something from a webpage. By digitizing your paper piles, you can store bills, instruction manuals, and task lists in this Cloud-based app, and then use the search feature the next time you need to look up a receipt or shopping list.
4. Buy a Robotic Vacuum
With no roommates to share cleaning duties, it may be hard to keep up with chores. Luckily, a robot vacuum can help. Straight out of the “Jetsons” era, these smart robots allow you to schedule automated weekly cleaning routines.
The Roomba is one of the most highly ranked on the market. The device has plenty of useful features, including a Spot Mode, which targets small cleaning areas you want deep cleaned (like a pet’s favorite lounging area or the crumb-filled spot under the kitchen table). If you want your Roomba to avoid an area like the bathroom, you can set-up Virtual Walls with it, too. And, at the end of a vacuuming session, the Roomba takes care of recharging itself.
5. Start Cooking Smarter
This statistic may surprise you: people who live alone have worse diets than those living with others. Microwaveable meals and fast food are common fare for the single sect. The good news is that cooking is becoming a more fashionable trend among millennials — meaning that a lot of people are using their smartphones and tablets in the kitchen.
Enter the iSpoon. From searching what to make for dinner to watching a YouTube video on how to prepare it, there’s a good chance you need your digital device in the kitchen. And this wooden spoon that doubles as stylus will help keep those gadgets from getting sticky and greasy. When you are making dinner and don’t want to continually wash your hands between each ingredient, use the iSpoon’s handle to scroll through the ingredients on your smart device screen.