Family life

10 organisational tools for families

Becoming parents is 50% magic, 50% organization. Here are 10 tools to help you enjoy the magic part.

Keep a list

Whether on a dry erase board, on a computer or on a sheet of paper that always remains at the same place, keep a purchase list nearby. It will give your children a place where they can tell you when they drink the last glass of milk or use the last roll of toilet paper and you will take that list with you each time you go to the supermarket.

Mead offers two interesting designs: a small magnetic list for the refrigerator that separates the shopping list and the to-do list ($7.49) and a bigger one for common ingredients that must be checked when purchased ($7.99). For even more efficiency, you can buy a shopping companion ($9.49) that includes a few shopping lists and has room your coupons and loyalty cards. Only at Target.

Board

To clearly see the whole family’s schedule, nothing beats a dry erase board calendar placed on the kitchen wall. It is perfect to note school meetings, sports games, extracurricular activities, medical appointments and all the outings that keep being postponed for all kind of reasons! Everyone can use it: write, erase and start over! You can also download several free documents from Mead's website.

These models are sold only at Walmart at the price of $13.97 for a monthly schedule and $9.97 for a weekly schedule.

Jami’s recipes

If you want to eat well even if you have very little time, you have to download this app. Available for iPhone and Android, it offers you 200 recipes with illustrated tutorials that will turn you into a great Chef instantly. It also includes a shopping list to help you remember everything you have and everything you need. This application is a must for all parents!

Parental planner

Ideal for separated parents, the Parental planner remembers everything for you. Parents write down their child’s schedule, appointments they booked, anniversaries, special days and everything that happened while the other parent was away. It is a healthy way to keep track of events and to know everything about your child.

Available in bookstores, megastores or online in Friday-to-Friday or Sunday-to-Sunday versions for $24,95.

Planiclik

Here’s another useful tool presented as a way to save your marriage or cheer up your divorce! Pianiclik can be exported in Google Agenda or an Outlook calendar and helps you manages your budget, share files and to-do lists to an unlimited number of members in the $8,49 a month version. You can also use a free version with limited access. It is a wonderful tool to remember everything, manage more effectively and stress less, all in one click!

Financial planning

Some banks such as Tangerine offer fully customizable savings tools that can save you a lot of trouble. Because these tools are free to use, you can have one account for each expense and start saving a little bit each months or each week to avoid forking out big amounts for tax bills, renovations, studies, Christmas gifts, trips, etc. Because you don’t see your money, you are less inclined to touch it and your small amount grows quickly. Try it! You will find out that you feel a lot safer when you have a little cushion hidden somewhere.

Life 360

Life 360 is a free iPhone app that tracks all family members with a GPS and allows you to send messages to the whole family at once. With this application, you will know where your teenagers are, if someone walked the dog and you will be able to help your husband find the restaurant where you have been waiting for him for the past half-hour!

SquareHub

SquareHub is another free app to discover. It is a private family network that allows to communicate freely and instantly with the whole family without making a scene.

Windows 365

For the past few months, it has been possible to subscribe to Windows Office applications instead of buying software. Access the Microsoft Office website, choose your favourite option ($10 a month or $99 a year) and download the Microsoft Office Suite in up to 5 devices (PC, MAC, tablet, telephone). Updates will be included for the duration of your subscription. Now, this is where it gets interesting for parents! This subscription gives you 20 Gb of online storage where you can put documents (there are many templates for planners, agendas, menus, etc.) and pictures to share with other family members who will access them on the web. Because the subscription comes with a 60 minutes international Skype credit, not only will you be organized but you will also brag about it to your family members overseas!

Bring strategies from work!

A father told us that he uses the ICS (Incident Command System) norm, a system of emergency management, at home. The principle is simple: for each project (groceries, renovations, decoration, shopping) the most competent family members takes the lead and delegate tasks that are in line with every family member’s interests. He told us: “You have to be disciplined, but it eliminates stress. By assigning tasks according to your skills, it is easier to involve other family members. For example, my youngest boy likes to act like a strong man, so he brings all the stuff in the car.”

In other words, if you create a family chart and assign all tasks to those who can accomplish them, you will be much more effective, you won’t forget anything and you will never beg for help.

This week

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