Pop culture tends to portray family gatherings as wholly happy and relaxed occasions, but as most of us know, reality is a different story. Even so, technology can help you compensate for the stress that often accompanies these get-togethers, letting you save time, stay more organized and stop worrying you might forget something crucial.
Keep reading to discover some apps that could make family dinners and parties more enjoyable than ever.
There’s nothing that derails productivity in the kitchen quite as quickly as realizing you forgot to pick up a necessary ingredient. Suddenly you go from making good progress to staring wearily at the parts of the meal you’ve already prepared and wondering how to continue in the most efficient way.
The Instacart app can help you out of this upsetting and all-too-too common situation. After registering an account, connect with shoppers who are already at familiar stores in your area, such as Whole Foods Market and Target. Once you put in a grocery order, one of those shoppers will bring the items to your doorstep in about an hour for a modest fee.
This handy service has an app for Android and iOS. Also, because there’s no need to leave home to hurriedly pick up forgotten ingredients, you can focus on making other parts of your meal so everything’s ready before family members arrive. (Free for iOS and Android)
A family get-together isn’t complete without plenty of photographs. However, it’s a hassle to pass around each smartphone and point-and-shoot camera so everyone can have copies of the pictures. An app called PicFrame makes it simple to share pictures among friends and family members. Download it and streamline the memory-capturing process by using just one smartphone to collect all the pictures. ($0.99 for iOS and Android)
Figuring out the guest for your get-together should be a responsibility on the top of your list. Once you’ve accomplished it, use the Hobnob app to create and send your invitations. Made for today’s smartphone-dependent society, the app lets you distribute the invites via texts. What’s more, guests can RSVP, make comments about the event and share photos, even if they don’t have Hobnob. (Free for iOS and Android)
This app combines a to-do list and calendar, so it’s especially useful if you’re trying to stick to a schedule that requires getting particular tasks done by certain dates. Also, time and location-based reminder notifications mean as long as you’ve entered information about tasks in the app, taking care of those things won’t slip your mind. (Free + Premium Options for iOS and Android)
Alas, developers haven’t dreamed up an app that tidies your abode for you, but at least the Clean House app makes it easier to see what needs to done when, so everything is sparkling before the first family members show up.
This app features a rotating chores schedule and automatic notifications, so you don’t have to waste time wondering whether it’s more important to change the sheets on the guest bed or dust the living room. Add chores to the system, indicate how often you’d like to be reminded to do them, and the app takes care of the rest. (Free for Android)
Sometimes entrusting your toddler’s care to someone else for an evening is the easiest way to focus on tackling the finishing touches of your gathering. Or, maybe you have a newborn and would rather not subject the infant to the noise and unfamiliar faces of your family event. Download the UrbanSitter app to find babysitters and nannies near your home. A simple reviews and rankings system lets you pick top sitters speedily and confidently. (Free for iOS and Android)
Family gatherings can cause dread in even the most committed hosts and hostesses, despite the desire to mingle with all the attendees. These purposeful apps will let you avoid most of the tasks that create hassles, so you’re more at ease among the people you care about.
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