Safety Security
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Why You Should Consider An Automated Pet Feeder
Do you know what your cat or dog most looks forward to in life? Just a whiskers width after a tummy rub and your loving attention – and maybe tied for a walk to the park for canines and laser pointer playtime for felines – is the sound of kibbles being poured or a can of food being opened… In our two cat household we’re faced with the dilemma of balancing the habits of one picky grazer and another cat who tends to eat kibbles like a whale shark.
Oct 9, 2013
5 Ways To Burglar-Proof Your Front Door
There’s been a small wave of burglaries and petty theft around our neighborhood the last few months, several happening right through the front door of local homes.
Aug 29, 2013
How Many Batteries Should You Keep in an Emergency Kit?
Disaster relief groups like the Red Cross promote advance preparedness for emergencies, including the recommendation homeowners and apartment dwellers keep an extra cache of batteries and portable power sources in their emergency kit. But how many batteries does that mean? And which types should be stockpiled?After delving online, I discovered there’s really no definitive answer.
Jul 3, 2013
Avoid the Tipping Point: Securing Furniture & Appliances
The public service announcement above horrifically illustrates just how easy it can be for furniture to tip over onto a small child. Whether they are trying to climb a dresser or reach for their favorite book on an upper shelf, kids can exert enough pressure to tip over even large pieces of furniture.There are a number of very inexpensive anti-tip brackets and straps, all simple to attach onto furniture, televisions, and walls to keep things from tipping over.
Jun 24, 2013
How To Install a Nest Thermostat
Things have changed since we last gave a how-to on installing a new programmable thermostat. Namely, a little thermostat called Nest hit the market. A smart, self-learning thermostat that you can control via a smartphone. The elegant and clean design of the Nest even trickles down to the installation and setup process. We give you the full step-by-step for installing your own in this how-to. What You NeedNest ThermostatInstructions1.
Mar 29, 2013
DIY Secret Hiding Spots
TOP ROW: 1. Stylish Wall Storage from Mamamekko 2. Doortop Stash from Make 3. Beck Marks the Spot for Secret Storage 4. Secret Storage Sofa from Ana White 5. Hidden Jewelry Box from Design Sponge BOTTOM ROW: 6. Hollow Stash Book from Vivid Please 7. Hidden Bookcase from Imgur 8. Floating Secret Drawer from Stashvault 9. DIY Hide-a-Key from Zakka Life And, if all else fails, just go buy this and stick it in your fridge: 10. Iceberg Lettuce Safe Do you have a secret hiding spot?
Mar 13, 2013
The Power Went Out: Do You Keep or Toss the Food in the Refrigerator?
It’s an age old question: “do I keep it or toss it?” This is of course pertaining to food in the fridge that’s been sitting there for a questionable period of time after a power outage. We refer you to our U.S. government guidelines on food safety, recommending just how long our refrigerators and freezers will hold their temperatures, as well as whether to keep or discard food kept inside during a power outage.
Feb 27, 2013
7 Great Uses for Your Browser’s Private Browsing Mode
The tongue-in-cheek musical Avenue Q insists that the Internet is for Porn, and the recent invention of leave-no-tracks Private Browsing Mode seems to support that notion. But even while you’re surfing the web for more innocent activities, private browsing can have some really useful advantages.
Oct 23, 2012
Baby Gates That are High On Style
Baby gates are perhaps the final frontier when it comes to products for children that are functional and beautiful. We’ve all grown so accustomed to the bland, bordering-on-institutional look of them that it kind of feels like how things should be. Safety comes first and we seem to collectively accept that it’s okay if safety products are also ugly.
Sep 6, 2012
Why You Need at Least 4 Email Addresses
We’ve talked before about simplifying your life by paring down your email addresses to two, but today we’re going to encourage you to use at least four. Why? Read on for the details as to why we’ve had a change of heart.Three Reasons Why at Least Four Email Addresses are a Good Idea: 1. Personal & Work. recommended2. Spam. Ever enter a contest where you just know they’re going to send you unwanted email, but you still want to enter and not have to deal with unsubscribing?
Aug 29, 2012
Safety First: Extension Cord DON’TS
As I was sending an extension cord out of the bathroom window to get a fan to reach into the yard this weekend, it occured to me: There’s probably a set of guidelines for the proper use of extension cords, and this is almost definitely against the rules.I was right, of course. On both counts. The National Electrical Code (NEC) publishes rules for using extension cords.
Aug 14, 2012
Travel Tip: Put a Phone Number On Your Kid
A few months ago, I took my youngest to an amusement park with a large group of friends and their moms. As we all gathered at the front entrance with a gaggle of 5 – 7 year olds, I noticed one mom writing her cell number on her child’s arm. Brilliant idea! For kids who aren’t ready to remember a phone number, it’s a simple way to keep an emergency number visible in case she gets lost.
Jul 23, 2012
What to Do When Theft Hits Home
Earlier this week I experienced personal property theft at my home. Some industrious thief crawled under my car, which was parked right outside my apartment, and stole the catalytic converter. As I’ve learned, this is an all too frequent phenomenon. So after the theft happens, now what?I’m actually grateful that the theft didn’t occur inside my home. There’s no worse feeling than the sense of violation when your home has been burgled.
Mar 29, 2012
Before & After: Under Stair Storage Redo
Like many other small space dwellers, we have almost no closet or storage space in my home. The tenants before us took the first step to maximize the dead space under the stairs by removing a partition wall to open up the area, and installed a drop down hatch under the stair. Unfortunately they didn’t install a railing and instead only those awkward, sharp rectangular boxes — after several falls down the stairs it was painfully obvious something needed to change!
Feb 27, 2012
Alternative to Baby Gates: Half Doors
We just got rid of our last baby gate. Ours were the standard white metal gates that did their job well, but weren’t visually appealing in the least. Unlike other items for baby, designers have left the baby gate market virtually untouched. In this case, taking matters into your own DIY hands may be the best option.Kelly Rae Roberts came up with this simple solution for DIY baby gates – doors. Well, half doors.
Feb 8, 2012
Get Smart: How To Avoid the Top 3 Online Shopping Scams
More and more transactions are being carried out online and over a wider array of sites — Craigslist, Etsy,, eBay, etc. Unfortunately, when money is involved there’s someone out trying to take advantage. Click past the break for some of the top online scams, and learn what to look for so you don’t fall prey to their tricky tactics.Scams benefit from our human nature — we want that good deal to come fly in our laps, and we want to trust people.
Feb 2, 2012
13 Green Gifts for Home Renovators and Fix-It-Uppers
Home renovation gifts probably seem a little dull, but trust me – the person on the receiving end will thank you! Tackling a project with sustainability in mind is easier when you have the right tools and gear for the job – check out our list of tried and true gift options after the jump!While some of these items may not appear “green” at first glance, a big part of responsible renovating is protecting personal health and buying quality tools that will last.
Nov 17, 2011
Disney’s Haunted Mansion on Your Porch for Halloween
Walt Disney World and Disneyland fans will recognize this scene right away; it’s the singing busts from the timelessly spooky ride, The Haunted Mansion. Only, they’re not flanked by animatronic ghosts. These singing busts were DIY’d for one clever hacker’s front porch. Here’s how he did it—and you can too!The ghosts in Disney’s Haunted Mansion are just illusions.
Oct 24, 2011
Tech Myth: Is It Safe to Mix Batteries?
For as long as we can remember we’ve heard the old wives tale that you should not mix battery brands in the same device. Naturally, that did nothing to prevent us from doing it frequently. We’ve never had any problems before (or so we thought) so it had to be fasle, right? Well it turns out the answer might have you running to the drug store after work.We’re sure the story is familiar.
Aug 8, 2011
Are You Using One of the Most Common iPhone Passwords?
A security app has anonymously tracked data from over 200,000 iPhones. Their results showed that, including the most common password offenders, people tend to follow similar patterns when creating PINs. Is your password, bank PIN or voicemail code on the list? Check it out.Daniel Amitay created an iPhone app that locks the phone’s screen, and takes a picture whenever an incorrect code is entered.
Jun 14, 2011
Your Complete Guide to Power Surges
Raise your hand if you have your computer plugged in to a surge protecting power strip. OK, now raise your hand if you think that’s adequate to protect your gear in an electrical storm. Wow, a lot of you. The reality is that many of us don’t know enough about power surges. What are they? Where do they start? How can you really protect against them? And what the heck is a whole-house suppressor? We’ve got your answers right here.What is a Power Surge?
May 2, 2011
Help! The Plugs Keep Falling Out of My Outlets
Quick! You wake up late for work to find that your alarm clock is off. But the power… the power’s still on. What happened? Well, your trusty alarm clock (or phone) might just have been plugged into a less trusty outlet that refuses to grip onto anything plugged into it. Those loose plugs sometimes fall out completely with a possible fire hazard on your hands. When you plug something in that doesn’t feel quite snug, it’s probably the plug.
Apr 27, 2011
Before &amp After: A Stylish Babyproof Fireplace
Of course safety comes first, but if you can combine safety with style, all the better. Lindsay wrote us to share a terrific solution her friend, Kate, Stone, came up with to keep her toddler out of the fireplace while adding to the decor instead of subtracting from it.A magnetic chalkboard – nice!! It’s not only leaps and bounds more attractive, but its become a functional playspace. See Kate’s toddler in action using it on Lindsay’s blog, Pink Green & Zebra.
Apr 15, 2011
What To Put in a DIY Disaster Preparedness Kit
As I view the images following Japan’s 9.0 earthquake, each more heartbreaking than the last, the sober realization that many folks are cut off from food, water, medicine and adequate shelter is becoming greater by the hour. As someone who lives in California, I’ve grown up with the reality of earthquakes and the fear of “the big one.” But, the simple fact is, many of us aren’t prepared properly, if at all.
Mar 14, 2011
Unexpected Places to Put Motion-Sensor Lights Indoors
In a really complicated survey (using a little technique we like to call “walking down our street”), we’ve discovered that the most common place people put motion-sensing lights to use is outside, near their entryway. Lighting the walk to your door without wasting any energy is a great use for turn-on-when-you-get-close lighting, but we have a few other places inside your home that could get in motion with motion-detecting lighting.They’re not just for outside anymore.
Feb 18, 2011
What Overlamping Is and Why You Should Avoid It
Every industry has it’s own jargon—words and phrases that most people outside that world would have a hard time understanding. So when our apartment’s maintenance crew sees us carrying a box of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs (we’re hoarding for the phase-out) and tells us to “be careful about overlamping,” we immediately turn to one place: Google.What is “Overlamping”?
Feb 11, 2011
How to Hide a Security Camera Under a Light Switch
The first step after getting a security camera is to hide it. You can go the Teddy Bear route if your camera relies on batteries and you are placing the camera in a children’s room. But if your camera is going to be placed in your living room, you’re going to need to consider where it’s going to be plugged in. We decided to find the best spot available where we wanted our camera and checked the image prior to opening any holes on the wall.
Feb 7, 2011
Places You Should Hide Expensive Tech from Burglars
After yesterday’s tale of an oven-baked laptop, where a paranoid apartment dweller thought to stash his Mac in the oven to evade a potential burglar’s loot radar, we now know where not to hide our valuables. But the basic idea behind the plan is still smart: If you’re going to be away from home for a while, leave your expensive tech in unexpected places that burglars wouldn’t think to raid. Here are a few better ideas.Headed away for the holidays?
Dec 17, 2010
The Danger of Plugging In Too Many Devices
Living in an old apartment with not many electrical outlets forces us to plug in a few too many devices per outlet. While we know most people are lucky enough to have more than one outlet per room, there is still the temptation to continue to daisy chain surge protectors to have enough space for the new device or the holiday decorations that need to be powered on.
Nov 12, 2010
3 Fire Dangers Hidden Inside Your Walls
It’s easy to spot danger. For instance, a hiker in the woods would immediately know she was in danger when she sees a 900 pound grizzly bear stand up in front of her with his claws and fangs blazing. “Yep, that’s danger,” she might say to herself. But back at home, she might not recognize the dangerous electrical fire hazards lurking behind her walls. Read on to find out what they are and how to detect them.
Nov 5, 2010
9 Tips For Using Your Laptop in Warm or Hot Weather
We aren’t the only things that get too hot in the summer–our tech can be in danger as well. Old laptops are notoriously susceptible to overheating, but even newer ones can be damaged in summer conditions. But with the right precautions, your laptop will be fine–even if you want to head outside on a sunny day to get some work done.
Jul 7, 2010
How to Babyproof Your Flat Screen TV
Over on Ohdeedoh today a reader posed an interesting question about how to babyproof your television. No, we’re not talking about protecting your boob tube from the accidental crayon mishap, but rather, how to keep your 42-inch behemoth from toppling over and squashing your 10 lbs. child… or your childlike husband.
Apr 23, 2010
How To Prevent Break Ins
We recently moved from a 3rd floor apartment to a ground floor house. And before any of the neighbors had a chance to introduce themselves, we had a different kind of welcome, we were burglarized. It was the first time either of us had been broken into and it definitely gave us a scare.We wondered who it was, how they did it and if they were going to come back for more.
Feb 8, 2010
Leaving Someone Alone In Your House For the First Time
The other day, we scooted out of the house very early in the morning and left a friend in our house sleeping. Because our door doesn’t lock automatically, we had to leave him with a set of keys so that he’d be able to lock up when he left. We also left him some basic memos about where stuff was. And then we left to go on a business trip.
Feb 4, 2010
Turn a Day Bed Around for a Safe Toddler Sleep Spot
Many of you weighed in on our discussion of toddler beds yesterday with some arguing the merits of transitioning straight to a twin bed and others preferring something in between. Well what do you think of the idea of a twin-sized day bed turned around to guard against falls?We read about this idea on Baby Toolkit (who heard about it from Mom Advice) so we can’t take any credit (or blame!), but it’s certainly an interesting idea.
Jan 8, 2010
SimpliSafe Home Security System
Product: SimpliSafe Security SystemPrice: $249.99/$299.99Rating: Strong Recommend* For apartment dwellers, home security usually means a couple of strong deadbolt locks, perhaps a mean German Sherpard and renter’s insurance. Alarm systems are typically designed and marketed for home owners, requiring a hefty investment and permanent installation.
Oct 27, 2009
Question: How Private are Your Windows at Night?
While staying at a friend’s place this week, we’ve been enjoying the gorgeous sunlight that bathes her house during the day through the huge windows in every room…Her windows are all decked out in beautiful yet simple, tied back linen curtains, layered over simple white sheers. And while we’ve enjoyed the sunlight during the day, there’s something we haven’t enjoyed: feeling on display at night!
Aug 7, 2009
Look! Stylish Babyproofed Stairs and Railing in Mid-Century Home
If stylish babyproofing sounds like an oxymoron, think again. When Jora and her husband purchased a gorgeous 1962 “mid-century modern” home in San Diego last year they were thrilled, but with two young children they had to address a few safety issues, namely, the stairs and railing.The biggest hurdle was 8 inch gaps in the railing – this wouldn’t do with a two little ones in the house.
Sep 26, 2008
Using Drawer Liners as Rug Mats
Unless you like slipping and sliding around, most thin rugs require rug mats to keep you and your kids steady on your feet. One price-comparing mom had a simple idea to use cheaper drawer liners in place of rug mats.KelsyC of Jill of All Trades bought some rugs at Target and noticed that it was cheaper to buy non-slip drawer liners ($3.99 for an 18″ x 60″ piece) compared to a non-slip mat ($2.99 for an 18″ x 30″ piece).
May 14, 2008