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The Best Apps to Help Busy Families Stay Organized

How to manage the daily grind and keep everyone on track

Vicky McDonald

Published on: October 31, 2019


Managing a family is a pretty demanding job and takes a lot of hard work and coordination. There’s meal planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, extracurricular activities, arranging appointments and then your dishwasher breaks. 

With all this to coordinate, some families are now taking a more business-like approach to household management. According to this article in “The Atlantic”, some parents are even using corporate project management tools such as Trello and Slack to organize their family life. 

We were intrigued by this idea and wondered what tools parents in the Puget Sound area are using to manage their own families. We asked our readers and here are some of their favorite apps for keeping on top of everything.

General family planners

Cozi was by far the most popular choice for the families we surveyed. Perhaps that’s not too surprising as the company was originally founded in Seattle by some Microsoft and Amazon veterans. This multi-purpose app tackles many different aspects of family management. You can create and share a family calendar and send appointment reminders. You can also keep and share grocery lists, recipes and meal plans. 

“We use Cozi — it’s great for sharing calendars and also super helpful for shared packing lists,” reported one reader.

Calander apps

Between sports events, business meetings and dental appointments, it can be hard to keep track of where exactly everyone needs to be at any given moment. These days many families opt for a shared online calendar. 

Google Calander was the popular choice for our Puget Sound-area readers. It’s a free service and you can share calendars with family members and receive calendar notifications. It’s easy to use and all members of the family can edit and view the calendar from most devices.

“We use Google Calendar to add activities, vacations, appointments, etc., for everyone. It makes it easy for everyone to know when someone has an activity scheduled,” said a reader.

Other popular choices were Apple iCalendar and Microsoft Outlook Calander

To-do lists

Instead of the traditional journal or whiteboard, many parents use note-keeping apps to stay on track. Many of these apps allow you to create and edit multiple lists and plans. You can color-code your lists, you can sync your notes across devices, and you can snip and save favorite articles and recipes from websites. Among the favorites were Google KeepEvernote and OneNote.

One mom told us, “I like it simple and use the Google Keep notes app.”

Meal planners

“What’s for dinner?” is a daily conundrum for most parents. Whether you are looking for new kid-approved recipes or just want a place to keep track of what to make each day, there are multiple apps and services to help feed your crew day after day.

Paprika is a favorite for some of our readers. It’s an app that helps you organize your recipes, make meal plans and create grocery lists. 

“For meal planning, we like Paprika,” one reader wrote. “You can snip just the recipes from those crazy long blog posts and do meal planning right in the app. It includes a grocery list function that you can share with your family so anyone who is at the store can pick up what you need.”

RelishRelish and Prepear from Super Healthy Kids also received votes.

Shopping apps

When you become a parent you soon realize that going to a physical store with kids in tow can be a nightmare. Thank goodness for online shopping.

Amazon Prime is a popular choice for the families we surveyed. This Seattle-based company makes life easy for families and pretty much delivers anything to your door within two days or even 2 hours with Prime Now.  

Fred Meyer ClicklistInstacart and Walmart Grocery Pickup were also mentioned for quick and easy grocery shopping without the hassle of going into the actual store.

School planning

ClassDojo is an app that claims to be used by 95 percent of schools and keeps parents informed about everything from class announcements to school achievements and progress. Many parents rely on this app to keep track of what’s going on in school. The days of missed events because of a lost announcement or permission slip in your kid's schoolbag are almost over. 

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