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9 must-have tech tools for an organized family

Say farewell to chaos and hello to a smooth school year with these online tools that will keep your family on track, on schedule, and on the same page.

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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Just ask any Evernote user: it can be life-changing. Here’s a tool that helps you remember anything and everything: What did I sign up to bring for the back-to-school class picnic? What’s the room number of my son’s AP Physics class? Which brand of energy bars were you supposed to pick up for the soccer team? So many things to remember. If you use Evernote on every device you have, you'll remember it all. Snap a pic of the picnic sign-up, room number, or energy bars. Then access the information just when you need it. Found your daughter’s math homework on the floor? Scan it and drag it into Evernote. She’ll be able to pull it up when she desperately needs it at school. Wish the kids would put the dishes in the right cupboards? Take a photo, annotate it — by drawing right on the image with your finger or a stylus using the Skitch add-in — and share it with them. They can use it as a reference even if you aren’t there to help. Get the entire family to add what they need to an Evernote shopping list and you’ll no longer have to take multiple trips to the grocery store. It doesn’t matter what device you or the kids use — there is an app for all of them. Or, if all you have handy is a borrowed computer, you can access everything from the Web.

Evernoteis free for the basic package; Evernote Premium is $60 a year. Apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows, Mac, and the Web.

Bottom line: Make yourself smarter. This tool will remember everything — photo, voice note, videos, jotted notes — and find it fast with its super search skills. It can even find text in a photo.

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column in Family Circle magazine, the Family Tech blog at, the Spark! Blog at and has written about technology for dozens of national magazines.