Smartphone, a Smart Remodeling Tool

by Jane VanOsdol on July 31, 2011

Home improvement projects can demand a lot of time and energy. Budgeting money, forming plans, shopping for products, researching prices and choosing a contractor are just a few of the tasks that are part of remodeling. Going about these tasks in an efficient manner will help reduce the stress that seems to be inherent in remodeling projects. Fortunately, in this age of technology, we have several tools that will help us do just that, one of which may be in your pocket or purse:  your smart phone.

Smart phones can prove invaluable as you’re planning your home improvement project, whether that project is installing shingle roofing or remodeling your bathroom. Let’s discuss a few ways a smart phone can make you work, well smarter, on your next project, as I discovered this past year when remodeling my kitchen.

Make a list. My husband and I decided to keep an idea list and want list on our phones. It proved very handy, because we always had our phones with us, so we didn’t have to worry about forgetting a project notebook at home. Also if we made an unplanned stop at a selvage shop we happened to stumble upon, our information was right there. You can simply use the notes app on your phone or read below for more specific app suggestions.

Use your camera. Taking pictures proved invaluable to our project. My husband and I quickly discovered that making a photo scrapbook of the products we saw as we were shopping and planning our project was extremely helpful. When we were in home improvement stores, at show rooms, and attending the yearly home show, we snapped photos of the products and kitchen layouts we liked. We then had perfect visual reminders of all the possibilities we had seen and didn’t have to rely on our faulty memories. It was so easy to show these to our contractor so that he could see what we liked and we could find out whether or not we could replicate those ideas and layouts in our own kitchen.

Download a few apps. ”There’s an app for that,” even applies to home improvements. Here are a few to get you started. I have purposely not listed prices as they change frequently, and some have both free and paid versions.

  • Red Laser. Red Laser lets you scan the barcode on products. It will then list online and local companies that have that product and give you the price for it. It’s great for comparison shopping.
  • Evernote; Moe’s Notepad. Both of these apps let you create files and attach text, audio, video, tags, photos and other things to them. They are a perfect way to keep track of a home improvement project.
  • Home Design 3-D. This app lets you create an actual floor plan for your project.
  • Handy Man DIY. Helps you keep track of your projects with lists, room dimensions calculations, square footage, and project cost estimation to name a few things.

So the next time you tackle a home improvement project, pull out your smartphone and put it to work. It will simplify your project and reduce your stress; not bad for a device that fits in your pocket!

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