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Top 5 Apps for Helping Busy Families Stay Organized

Published on: March 23, 2012

Each day as a parent you wear a variety of hats: mom/dad, spouse, employee, household CFO, chef, chauffeur, etc., and with each of these hats comes the requirement to juggle and prioritize different responsibilities, inputs, and schedules. As professional organizers, we at Innovatively Organized continually try to find ways to help our clients do things more efficiently. We are fortunate these days to have an assortment of apps to make our lives easier, but with so many to choose from, how do you know which to use? We’ve put together a list of our favorite apps that we regularly recommend to our clients (as well as use ourselves!).

Consider giving one of them a try — they’re all free — and perhaps one may help you simplify the responsibilities in your life.

Manilla app for iPhone and AndroidManilla App
Available for iPhone and Android

In today’s fast-paced world, we have a constant influx of stuff: bills to pay, piles of correspondence coming through the mail slot, constant email coming into our inboxes, magazine subscriptions, and the list goes on! If your important papers are getting lost in piles and you need some help managing the chaos, try Manilla, an online filing system.  Not only is it free and secure to use, but you can check email, pay bills, store documents, and track rewards programs all in one place. Just one login gives you access to your household and financial accounts and subscriptions. Storing documents online reduces paper clutter and saves valuable time you once spent searching for lost items or shredding mounds of paper. Manilla lets you download or print any document as a hard copy, as well as set up email or text reminders to pay bills or review documents.

Cozi app for iPhone, Android, and BlackberryCozi App
Available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry

Cozi helps you organize your family life with a simple user interface offering a calendar, to-do lists, shopping lists, and meal planning. Cozi also includes a journaling feature that allows you to capture and share family moments. The calendar can be color-coded by family member and appointment reminders can be sent via text or email. Weekly agendas can be emailed to each family member, highlighting the week’s upcoming events and appointments. Rather than maintaining a simple grocery list, you can create store-specific shopping lists. And no need to worry about forgetting your list, as long as you have your phone — Cozi has an app for iPhone and Android smartphones, but data can be accessed by any phone since the information can be sent via text messages.

Google Calendar app for iPhone, Blackberry, WindowsGoogle Calendar App
Available for iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows phones

After-school activities, Saturday soccer games, an early meeting for work... How do you keep track of everyone’s schedules? Google Calendar! Google Calendar is a great way to see what everyone in your family has going on. You can easily access your calendar from your electronic devices, as well as share the calendar with members in your family. Everyone can stay up to date and know who needs to be where and when.

Evernote app for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Windows phonesEvernote App
Available for iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows phones

Evernote is a virtual notebook that allows you to capture information and access it anywhere.  Anything you see, hear, create, or think of can be saved on Evernote and later accessed through your phone, computer, and other devices. You can also share your notebook with others. Create a notebook to keep all of your home remodeling ideas in one place, whether they’re referenced from the Internet, catalogs, pictures from your camera, or sketches from your contractor. Do you have a heap of recipes torn out of magazines or on recipe cards from friends? Save them all in Evernote and get rid of the loose paper. Besides helping you reduce paper clutter, Evernote also saves you time with a search feature that makes finding information across your notebooks incredibly easy. As long as you have your phone, computer, or other device with you, you can access your notebooks on the go!

Pinterest App for iPhonePinterest App
Available for iPhone

Pinterest is an online pinboard that allows you to organize and share things you love. It’s a great source of inspiration and ideas, and the content can vary from what to do with the kids on a rainy day to finding creative ways to repurpose tin cans for art supply storage. Be warned! Pinterest teems with SO many wonderful ideas that you can easily spend more time than you intended browsing through pinboards. You may need to implement one of our tips and set a timer to make sure you don’t spend too much time on Pinterest!

Elizabeth Bowman, Innovatively OrganizedTo read more tips from Innovatively Organized and organizing and productivity expert Elizabeth Bowman, check out the Innovatively Organized blog, where new tips, tricks and info about the latest apps and organizing products are posted regularly.  Innovatively Organized is a Seattle-based organizing and productivity firm that provides effective organizing solutions for busy professionals, teams, and families to better manage their time, increase productivity, and gain control of their spaces. Contact Elizabeth Bowman via email at, Twitter at @iOrganized or visit

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