Keep it simple (KISS).
I started with a RB Pi 4 with with Docker, Portainer, non-HA stuff running in other containers, MQTT, etc. and a bunch of add-ons and integrations (including HACS stuff). I restarted from scratch with Home Assistant OS, as per recommended installation method, and tried to standardize and simplify as much as possible:
- trying to stick to one brand for a specific device class
- standard naming conventions (+1 to everyone who mentioned this)
- only using Node-Red for automations (no YAML)
- ensure everything still works if HA is down (switches can still be switched, sensors will still alarm locally, alarm system can still be armed/disarmed and phone me if there is a problem - yup, I still have a land line).
- One wireless protocol
- no more mqtt (to be clear, I love mqtt but the devices/integrations I use now don’t need it; therefore, one less thing to worry about).
I learned a lot with the first setup. I learned more with the second (simple is better). And I’m still learning and having fun.
As for my favorite automation… I like the presence detection automations: notifying us that the garage door is open after dark, prompting to arm the alarm system when everyone has left the house, disarming the alarm when we get home, turning lights on and off, etc. But the flood sensor has saved me twice!