Organization | A Simple DIY Smart Home


I’m sure you know the old adage that “organization is the key to success.” Personally, I find it a tad too procedural and would much rather people consider passion or innovation as being key to success- but that’s a rant for another day.

Keeping organized is incredibly important.  Especially in our every day lives.

In my opinion, the purpose of a smart home is to make things more convenient not more complicated. So when I began piecing together my ideal list of things I’d like our smart home to do – organization was key. That said, I needed to define what it was that I wanted to organize. So I began looking around our house for things that were meant to keep us organized but just weren’t getting the job done.

Here’s the first thing that came to mind.

That’s right. Our calendar. We had tried to stay up-to-date but quickly realized that we just couldn’t keep everything in sync. We are young, we are newlyweds, and we are busy. We’d jot things down on occasion but weren’t really consistent.

On the flip side, we were great at keeping our individual iPhone calendars up-to-date.  So I decided what better way to create a Donnelly family calendar than by syncing them and making Mission Control (aka our iPad) the master. So we did.

It was actually pretty simple due to the fact that calendar syncing is a built in function of iOS.

All it took were 2 simple steps:

1) Sync iPhones and iPad with iCloud.

2) Assign specific colors to Katie, Josh, and Family calendars.

Once it was all setup and the iPad was mounted back in place, everything worked flawlessly. I was actually disappointed that we hadn’t thought to do this sooner.

Now we have our master calendar in the kitchen that we check and edit while we’re home and access to that same calendar from each of our phones to edit on the fly.

The second thing I wanted to organize?

The dreaded grocery list. As I’m sure you well know, K is a phenomenal $$ saver so when we were married we agreed that making a grocery list would be a great way for us to stay on track. It would allow us to head to the grocery store knowing exactly what we needed, exactly what we would use coupons for, and exactly what items we’d be coming home with… Let’s just say that was short lived.

As with the calendar, we quickly realized that we couldn’t keep things in sync. We’d jot one thing down on our phones, another in a text, another on a scrap piece of paper, and another on the list on the fridge. There had to be a better way.

So began my grocery list app research. You know Apple’s slogan “there’s an app for everything” ? Well, in many cases there’s multiple apps for everything. So how do you find the best? You set standards.

My ideal grocery app needed to:

1) Sync flawlessly between our phones and the iPad

2) Have an intuitive user interface

3) Be a checklist that could be checked and unchecked

3) Fully functional in landscape mode on the iPad (because we use it mounted horizontally)

4) Look Pretty (nothing worse than a poorly designed app)

Let’s just say I set the bar pretty high. I looked through hundreds of apps and admittedly made a couple of bad purchases along the way- but in the end I found it. So hopefully my time, research, and poor spending decisions (don’t tell Katie) will help save you a bit of time and money.

Paperless. The good news is that they have a free version that gives you full functionally minus device syncing. So it’s a great way to give it a whirl without monetary commitment.

For me, it was perfect. I gladly shelled out the $2.99 to the paperless team and began organizing.

Note: device syncing requires a dropbox account which is free and takes less than 2 minutes to setup. Once you have this setup and you link paperless to it, you’re set. You’ll never have to think about it again. Don’t let this intimidate you. Syncing is automatic.

So now, when we realize we’re out of milk, we shut the fridge door and add it to our list. Or when I’m at the office and have a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies (my favorite btw) I can add it to the list from my phone and it will update across all devices.

The best part is that you always have your list on hand. Always. Gone are the days of the “oh-crap-I-left-it-on-the-fridge” moments as you pull into the grocery store parking lot.

Do you use apps to stay organized? What apps do you find useful?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: