Remote Managing Your Home

This post is for Traveling Professionals

For most of us who work every day, we always take pride in how our careers progress, how our pay slip seem to add another number in the end, or even just being able to buy more for our family. I have worked in Human Resources for a while, the last one was in a  multinational company which was considered, for a time, one of the biggest company in the world in its more than a century of existence. Throughout my life in this company, I got to appreciate the small and big wins alike. So I would always feel good every time I get to buy a new pair of jeans, a bag, or just a simple grocery using my own money. I love that feeling.  Now that I am in Sales and an entrepreneur, I value whatever I earn even more! I value the house that my husband and I were able to purchase two years ago, I value what’s in it, and I value those who live in it – my family. I think this is brought about by the pride coming from having to make an effort in our jobs and getting validation by getting an increase or a promotion.

This is the reason why I would tend to hate it whenever I lose something, or see people who do not give importance to what I buy. This leads to a realization where I kind of understand now when people put a lot of importance to things in their lives. Even more difficult for career men and women who always travel or would be far from home for an extended period – how do they then get to manage the house they have decided to buy and are paying for from miles away? Or the things inside which practically would represent all the accomplishments they had.

Let me try to give you a few things to help with remotely managing your home and having a system to make sure you and your family give the proper care and importance to your treasured properties.

    1. Thoughts Before Buying – Think about it. You have been eyeing this really nice 65″ OLED TV for a year now. You think this is a fantastic addition to your home. People will see it and they will be in awe with its size, and when they turn it on, they will see even the smallest of pores of actors’ faces. Only thing is, you have to shell out a month’s salary. USD 4,000 is something you would not be able to buy 3 years ago even with a year’s salary, but now, you can get it for only a month of grinding at the office. 24 months to pay is not bad too! So should you go ahead and buy it? NO!!! First and foremost, your next visit back home is a year from now, and you will stay there for 3 weeks. Your utilization of this is relatively very little. Not for anyone else, but you. Always buy for yourself. Enjoy the things you get to acquire. Now consider these points – 1) There’s this thing called scheduled obsolescence in technology, by the time you get home, there’s already a much better version of the TV you want to get. 2) Your 5-year-old kid doesn’t need ultra high definition TV to watch Peppa Pig. 3) Your guests and family will only say wow and forget about it the minute they step out of your home 4) Installments are practically loans, even if its zero percent interest, your personal cash flow gets affected without you even knowing it and limits you from preparing for the future needs. As much as possible, don’t take out a loan for something which depreciates, unless it’s for business use. So always give a good thought about the things you buy. Make it a point that there’s no one you are buying it for except for you or your family. But never just to wow other people.
    2. To See is to Believe – Buy a camera! Hahaha, so after me asking you not to buy a depreciating asset, I’m asking you to get a camera! But this is not any other camera, get a CCTV camera. Why? Nothing beats you actually seeing your home in real time and having that comfort and happiness that everyone and everything are A-OK! So the things that you might lose, the confirmation you need by calling people every time, and all the other cost associated with making sure everything are safe and sound is actually minimized. Which makes all these worth the expense of a camera. There are really good systems out there which will not require you to burn money for nothing. What we use in our home is this China made one called Clever Dog. It is a WIFI camera, both indoor and outdoor, which has the best user interface and app in the market. You just need to view it through your phone and you can already see your lovely house, your prized possession, and even talk to your family. It’s easy to setup too!JPEG image-2DDFA502D7FF-1
    3. The LRT – List – What is an LRT? List, Review, and Transfer. Three steps when you manage the things you already bought. List as much as you can. Make sure you remember whatever you have and include how much you bought it for. I suggest you also add the reason why you bought something. This is a good practice for you to be able to visually assess your belongings in one view. If you cannot finish listing all in one day, you might want to ask yourself if you have too many things in your life that most of it don’t even make sense in having. The idea is for you to have something to review from time to time. You can also add the location where you last placed it. This really works best if you want to practice minimalism in your life. With this, you tend to be more active in managing the essentials and justifying those which make you feel happy. What you don’t want to happen is to realize one day that there’s this thing you lent to someone and you just don’t remember who this someone is… such a waste!
    4. The LRT – Review – From time to time means regularly, not once a month, then once a year, then never again… Make sure the timing is manageable, I suggest you do it after Christmas, say January, and around 6 months after. This gives you that understanding of where you are in terms of personal belongings during a time where you accumulate a lot. You get to review this with people in the family and learn together the value of this stuff and how to take care of it. This way as well, this system of review becomes second nature already. That even a single look through your remote camera, you would know if something is missing or something is not being taken cared of properly.
    5. The LRT – Transfer – Lastly, transfer. You can always acquire stuff in your life, as long as it makes sense. You don’t need two refrigerators… Trust me, we tried. The fridge takes up space and consumes a lot of electricity 24×7. We tried to have two fridges but we don’t need a lot of that space for one single household food consumables. We ended up getting a small chest freezer which we can use for all the meat and other frozen products which we don’t have to open every single time. The fridge remains to be used for the chilled stuff only, which my kids literally open every 5 minutes! But not the chest freezer, so net net, I save more on electricity cost. Anyway, enough about the fridge, what I’m saying is that if you look at your list and you think you can donate or sell something, please do. You are in a great position to do so because you are miles away, so there’s really not much attachment to it. As long as your family will be able to sell it at the right price then you are good… Oh wait, you don’t need to worry about remembering the right prize! You have the buying price in your list! Look at that! Listing comes in handy! Rule of thumb is things depreciate 10% every year. For appliances, make the first year 20%. So the salvage value after 3 years, for example, is 60% of the purchase price. I think that is fair amount already, generally speaking. 20% less for the first year, 10% less for the second and third years.
    6. The Comfort of Autopilot – Autopilot is having you to not even look at your camera, or not looking at your list every time. Once the family understands the value of the things around them and understands the effort you had to make in order to buy them, the custodians would take care of these as if you are the one actually making sure there’s no dust or grime in all your appliances or making sure that the house is clean all the time. This is the comfort of an autopilot. That’s what’s good about the camera too… people would think they are being watched even if the camera is turned off!so they tend to act accordingly and sooner or later doing the right thing is already a habit for them (shhhh, that’s our secret ok?)
    7. The Most Important – But the most important thing in your life are the actual reason why you work in the first place – your family. Things in your life are nothing compared to the love of family. Don’t let things get in your way of making a meaningful relationships with the family. Have some time in your busy career to check on them rather than check on the latest Italian leather bag you have bought on your recent trip. Learn to smile even if there’s something you can’t find. You have put enough checks and balances in your system to be able to avoid this. If something slips through, try to move on quicker. And remember to get to tell your family how much you love them instead of getting disappointed for them not finding your 3 year old Apple iPad. Just ask them to not burn your house to the ground…! hahaha!

That’s it Neatropolis! More NeaTip for you guys and I hope you learned a thing or two from this one.

And to all those Pinoys working abroad, you guys have my utmost respect. Stay strong and live strong! Always remember that your home is only as far as how you make it… Stay close and stay Neat everyone, until my next post!