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We know we say it every year, but this time we mean it. This is the year we go get organized. Between rogue Lego pieces, juggle schedules, help with homework, and put dinner on the table – there are a lot of balls in the air, and at least one or two of them are going to fall without good organizing strategies.
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We are big fans of simplification with smart products to help streamline our lives. From phone apps to smart closet shelves, here are some of our favorite products to keep parents organized all year round.
1. Order a meal kit: One Potato Family Meal Plans
A meal kit will really make your life easier. There are dozens (hundreds?) Of meal kits to choose. One Potato is above all about families!
Co-developed by Catherine McCord from Weelicious Renowned One Potato meals are organic, sustainably sourced, and use non-GMO, seasonal ingredients. Plus, they get rave reviews for their taste.
Each meal is prepared with the children’s palate in mind, without being too childish for adults to enjoy as well. There are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, and each dish comes with just enough preparation to make it easy to put on the table, yet still taste fresh.
We also love the take-out smoothie and cookie add-ons, so we always have an option for a quick breakfast or a last minute bake sale.
2. Get organized and get inspired: plum paper diaries
How many times have you bought a new gloss planner for the new year, to no longer use it with the spring thaw? Maybe it’s because it wasn’t a useful lifestyle planner.
We really love Plum Paper Planners, not just for the luxurious faux leather coverings (which make us feel so cohesive), but for the fully customizable designs.
Choose layouts that match your needs and add specifics: names, headers and labels; then wrap it all up with customizable designs that keep you on track all year round.
3. Organize these documents: Scannable
This is the year you put your clutter of paper in order! Whether it’s important school documents, medical records, or children’s artwork, the rule of thumb should always be “scan what you can”.
IPhones have a integrated scanner and androids use Google drive to scan and store documents, although you can use a free app like Scannable, if you prefer, which immediately scans and organizes important documents.
Make sure that wherever you store your scanned documents, your data will be encrypted. Apps like DropBox, Evernote, OneDrive, and Google Docs are user-friendly options, although there are plenty more you can explore.
Whatever you do, be sure to use a unique and long password for the account, and remember that a password manager is your best friend for keeping track of hard-to-remember passwords.
4. Create a family calendar: Skylight Frame Calendar
We’ve tried them all: family calendar apps, iCal family calendar, Google calendar, wall calendar — you name it, we’ve tried it. The problem we have is that some of us like a calendar on our phone and others like the one we can see when we walk past it every day.
This tablet-style calendar from Skylight is the golden buckle of family calendars. It sits on a counter, displays your family’s weekly or monthly chores, and it’s an app on your phone.
It syncs with all major calendar apps including Apple, Google, Cozi, and Yahoo. Activities can be color coded by type or for each family member, and it even has a handy meal planning and grocery list feature, so you’ll never forget to add an item for your next grocery run.
5. Manage your money: Mint
This is the year you are going to get your finances in order. Kids always throw a financial curve at you: with their last-minute needs (and wants), it can be twice as difficult to keep family spending and budget on track.
Mint is a free money management app that offers a holistic approach to budgeting and can help you track your spending and net worth. All-in-one tool, it saves parents the trouble of checking multiple accounts, apps, and websites to monitor their financial health.
It can also be used to set up automatic payments and low balance alerts so that you are never surprised by unexpected fees and charges.
6. Make a meal plan: Mealime
Meal planning can be a tedious chore, especially when dealing with children who may be fine mouths. This meal planner app will help you get your family’s mac and cheese funk out by helping you organize a weekly meal plan, all with recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less.
Mealime lets you create a personalized meal plan based on your family’s dietary needs, allergies, food preferences, and the number of servings you need. It then creates a shopping list from the recipes you choose.
Do you prefer grocery delivery? It can also connect to Instacart or Amazon Fresh for probably the easiest, most automated meal planning system out there.
7. Try a children’s clothes rack: the Montessori children’s wardrobe
Part of organizing the home and family is learning to delegate. If you find that a good chunk of your time is spent organizing your kids’ clothes, try reinventing their wardrobe with a kid-sized wardrobe.
This Montessori-style wardrobe is organized by easy-to-reach sections for kids. It simplifies and streamlines their wardrobes and gives kids a sense of independence when it’s time to tidy up.
8. Improve your label design: Cricut Joy
Everything has a place, but this place can start to get messy pretty quickly if other family members forget where to put things. Labels help keep things organized, so you don’t rearrange things week after week. Plus, you’ll have a little fun organizing once you see these cute labels all lined up.
A Cricut is not only essential for creating adorable child-friendly labels (like pretty much all TikTok mom will tell you), these cute little cutouts are actually great for building pre-reading skills for kids.
It’s true! When they see a small picture of a train or doll clothes on their organized trash cans, it helps stimulate their little brain and prepare them to read in the future. Not only do you need it for labeling (as well as making all your crafting fantasies come true), but your kids need it too.
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Prices were correct at the time of this article’s publication, but may change over time.