If you're a fan of gadgets, you probably spend at least some of your income on phone cases, screen protectors, and other accessories.
What you might not realize is that you can make your home quite a bit more gadget friendly with a few simple improvements. I recently did some renovating, and along with my big purchases, I bought several smaller items that make my phone, tablet, laptop, and other devices much more functional.
No. 1: USB power outlets. Unless you've consciously avoided the digital revolution, you have at least one USB device in your home. Most smartphones, for instance, use USB, as do tablets, game systems, and hundreds of other devices.
To keep these items charged, you can invest in a replacement outlet with built-in USB charging ports. This is a great way to cut down on your adapter collection and charge all of your favorite gadgets straight from the wall without taking up an extra three-prong outlet space. If you're halfway handy with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, you can replace any outlet in your home in a few minutes.
If you're not comfortable with electrical wiring, you can also get an inexpensive adapter to add USB to your outlets without reducing the number of plug-ins.
No. 2: Wireless charging mats. These mats aren't quite as worry-free as they might seem when you see them in the store. Most rely on a small device that plugs into your gadget to charge. You leave the gadget on the mat and the system charges it up within a few hours.
Charging mats aren't great for every home, but if you have a tremendous number of tablets and smartphones in your house, they're certainly worth a look. Families can cut down on cable clutter substantially with one of these simple tools.
No. 3: Wi-Fi extenders. My home's not particularly large, but I've got a lot of Wi-Fi interference near me. Sometimes, I want to take my computer out on my deck to do a little work with my morning coffee, and unfortunately, my wireless router can't quite get the signal through my kitchen wall.
A Wi-Fi extender is a small device that plugs into a power outlet, greatly extending the range of your home's wireless connection. Many Wi-Fi extenders also have Ethernet ports, so they're great if you have a PC, video game console, or other device that needs a wired connection.
You can get an inexpensive Wi-Fi extender for $60 or so. If you're having serious access issues in your home, however, budget about $100 for a well-reviewed extender.
If you're really serious about digitizing your home, you can also look into automatic electrical control systems, which allow you to turn lights on and off remotely. The devices above are a good start to help you bring your home into the 21st century without spending too much money.