Apps That Make Your Home Run Smoothly

Apps That Make Your Home Run Smoothly

Now that summer’s almost officially over (eek!), I’m bracing myself for the onslaught of school, work, and personal management tasks I’m going to face. Because I do enjoy the occasional deep breath and would love to continue to enjoy my roles as mother, friend, and wife, I’ve decided to employ an army of digital tools to support me. It’s become a sport for me, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you have a chore you loathe doing, there’s an app that will do it for you, or make it ridiculously simple for you to do yourself. Here are a few that make my house just a bit more sane, in any season.

Apps that Make Your Home Run Smoothly

Put bills on Autopilot.

A while back, I decided I was done paying bills that came in the mail.  And they haven’t shut off my cable yet (thank goodness, because I’m obsessed with The Newsroom!). That’s because I started using Manilla, a bill organizing service that routes all my bills to one central dashboard and shows me exactly what’s due when.  My credit cards, cell phones, water, power… even my Netflix subscription and magazines all in one place.  Of course, there’s bank-level security and the accounts you route there are “read only” (so no one can hack in and drain your bank accounts), and the mobile apps let me keep an eye on things from wherever I am.

Energy Reserve.

Amid the myriad gadgets I test on a monthly basis, there are moments when I find true game-changers. This past year, the Nest was one of them. Since installing this smart thermostat in my home, I have saved money on energy, and been kinder to the planet. My old thermostat had a schedule, but it involved a date with an instruction manual to change it, and it didn’t want to talk to my smartphone. Being able to tweak the temperature in my house while in bed, or on vacation, is truly magical.

Magical Photomat.

The very best apps and services are ones that help out without asking me to do anything at all. That’s why I am in love with Piccolo, a service that pulls the best of my Facebook photos and sends me prints each month without me having to lift a finger. You know how you’re always lamenting not doing anything with all those pictures of the kids you take? I’d say this is a foolproof answer to your problem. Plans start at $10/month. Genius.

Get Inspired.

With Pinterest and the many mom blogs out there, you wouldn’t think I’d be short on ideas to keep my kids busy. But sometimes I just need a little help in that department, especially when seductive screens and devices are trying to lure my kids away. With a few taps and swipes I’ve got great ideas to keep them engaged. Little provides great age-appropriate activity ideas for any time of day, plus a library of kid-friendly videos for those times when you just need a few minutes to [insert sanity-restoring moment here].

Goal Tending.

I've got dreams, you know. I'm going to drink more water. I'm going to workout at 6AM before the kids wake up. I'm going to drink a protein shake and take all my vitamins. The tool that helps me make these dreams a reality is an unassuming little app called Lift. It simply gives me a daily checklist to swipe as I get things done, and offers me words of encouragement and the ability to tap into a community with similar goals to cheer me on.  For me, having a list to refer to is half the magic — getting in touch with what I want to accomplish each day puts my goals front-of-mind, which helps me reach milestones and change habits.

Bandwidth Buddy.

When I give my acceptance speech for the imaginary “Best Homekeeper” award I’m not getting, I’ll be sure to thank my wireless router. Without it, I’d be alone in the wilderness and my home would devolve into chaos. Okay, that might be a tad dramatic, but I rely so heavily on being connected (to the cloud, to e-commerce, to my husband, team, friends...), that when there’s not enough bandwidth the whole system goes down. The Belkin AC900 Dual-Band Router can make all the difference in the world if your son’s a gamer, your daughter’s a Skyper, and your husband is binge-watching Breaking Bad.  And set up is a cinch, right from your smartphone or tablet.

How do you use technology to help at home? Tell us what apps should make this list.

~ Carley Knobloch

Carley Knobloch is obsessed with helping people use technology to make life easier (and more fun).  As a Today Show contributor and HGTV host, she explores the world of home control and makes tech accessible to even the least savvy.  On her blog,, she writes about the intersection of home, style, and digital life.  She’s appeared on CNN, Fox News, EXTRA, and in Real Simple and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.  She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, springer spaniel, and myriad tablets. Follow her on Twitter at @carleyknobloch.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.