Five Apps All Busy Families Need

The majority of adults in the United States have smartphones, but are we really being smart with them?  Here are five categories of apps you need to get you organizing your busy life.

Exchange your calendars.

Many people, including me, love using Google Calendar and sharing it with your family.  I can see on my smartphone at a quick glance what my other family members are doing and schedule for them without having to wait for answers about availability.  You can also use an app like Cozi, Hub, or LifeTopix.

Share important information.

My favorite apps for doing this are Evernote and Dropbox.  I have a shared Evernote notebook for my family, and anything relevant to our lives goes in there in a “note.” Pictures of our medical insurance cards, instructions for changing the refrigerator filters, a map of the mall stores, pictures of various light bulbs and batteries when we need to replace them, lists of fun things to do, notes from meetings with the school, favorite quotes we like to share, and I could go on and on.  Dropbox allows us to save actual documents (like Word and PDF files) and photos into folders and share them with each other and access them from anywhere.

Create a grocery list.

People love Grocery IQ and AnyList, for two great examples. Take the guesswork out of your grocery shopping by automating this constant task.  You can make lists arranged by different stores and categories, keep lists of favorites to jog your memory, and even share your list with your spouse.  Don’t forget the eggs and butter, sweetie, because you now have no excuse!

Get a password keeper.  

There are several out there with varying features and prices, but the consistently mentioned ones are 1Password, LastPass, and Roboform. Each of these is a secure vault for your passwords and other sensitive information, and you can synchronize it with your spouse and between your devices.  If you are relying on using the same two or three passwords for everything, look out!  Hackers are more sophisticated than ever about exploiting that information, and the more secure and varied your passwords, the better. Make sure your most important ones, like your email account and bank logins, are completely different from anything else and that they use a blend of upper and lowercase and symbols and numbers.

Donate to stay organized.

The Goodwill Locator app (available for iOS and Android) shows you the nearest locations of stores and donation centers for your convenience, and you can also find out the impact of your donated items with our Donation Impact Calculator! Quickly input your clothing, household goods, and electronics items and find out how many hours of resume preparation, career counseling, and on-the-job training those donations provide to someone in your community.  Great for explaining to kids how their old jeans and video games help other people.

What are your favorite apps?  Share in the comments!