Get ‘smart’ with your cell phone

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and more than 10 percent of American adults depend on their smartphones for the internet. (They only access the internet through their smartphones and do not have access to traditional home broadband service.)

Our phones can do more and more these days, and when it comes to assistance with tasks in and around the home, they are no exception.

Giving in to the smartphone applications that were designed to offer us a hand can make our lives simpler — if we choose the right ones.

Nextdoor

Get to know your neighbors without leaving your front door. Popular on the mainland and growing in Hawaii, this app is a private social network that connects you with people in your neighborhood.

You can ask for advice or referrals, post about lost or found animals, or even ask simple questions like, “Is anyone else’s electricity down?”

Google assistant

Available on both iPhone and Android smartphones, this app can act as your own personal assistant. You can control it with your voice and ask it to assist with simple tasks like adding events to your calendar, reminding you to blow out the candles in an hour, or setting your alarm. You also can connect it to smart home devices for more complex, yet simple tasks like dimming the lights, playing a video on the television, or turning on the A/C.

Stylebook

Create and browse your very own wardrobe from your phone. It takes some time to set up initially, but remember that you do not have to do everything at once. Take pictures of your clothes and upload them to the app. You can then categorize the clothing items, and create and save looks you love. Use it to save time organizing your closet, clearing clutter and packing for trips.

Pinterest

You can create and organize virtual bulletin boards for just about anything you can think of. A longtime user of the website, I recently added the app to my phone. What I like best about it is that it allows me to transform mental notes about recipes, crafts, cleaning and organization tips into real, visual ones I can revisit later. Plus, I can party plan with my friends and family by creating and sharing boards we can all add to.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com.