No need to make your favor-doing friend feel like a stranger in a strange land. If you're hosting a house sitter, pet sitter or couch surfer in your apartment, it's a good idea to make them feel at home by offering up a "home binder." It's where you record important information they need to know to get around your house and neighborhood. But we're going to take it one step further and transform our home binder into an interactive digital notebook. Here's how you do it.
Right before you leave your house to house or pet sitters, or if you're expecting some long-term house guests. The great thing about recording all your home's nuances digitally is that you only need to prepare the information once, then give it a quick look-over for updates each time you need it.
Just start taking things down. Record any information somebody staying in your home would need to know, remembering to include plenty of pictures, videos and links.
There's a great comprehensive list here at Apartment Therapy, but here's a few basics to get you started:
- Your home's address (for emergencies or pizza deliveries)
- Important phone numbers (yours, your neighbor's your current hotel's)
- Your wireless password
- Home security codes & instructions
- Instructions for controlling your media center & remotes
There are plenty of great places that allow you to record, save and share multimedia documents. A multi-page spreadsheet in Google Docs will give you tons of flexibility to share and publish your document with the right people. Start and share a notebook in Evernote to easily add pictures and links to your entries. Or try a smart service like Corkboard, which automatically embeds things like maps and product links when you enter addresses or scan UPC bar codes.
We haven't convinced you yet? Transforming your pen-and-paper home instructions into a digital file gives you tons of functionality and ease of use. It's going to last longer, be easier to share and enable you to easily integrate really useful media like a map to the nearest grocery store or a video of how to get that sticky back door to open up. Plus with mobile apps (live Evernote's), your house guests will be able to access all your compiled info on-the-go when they really need it—with click-able phone numbers and turn-by-turn directions.
(Images: Taryn Fiol)