It’s that time of year again. You’re going to make a resolution to get your ducks in a row, and what a row those ducks will be in for the first week of January! By February, you’ll be back to your old habits, buried in clutter, and wearing sweatpants so disheveled you can’t even find the drawstring.
But let’s focus on that first week. Here are five free (and easy-to-use) apps to help you get organized. Who knows? You might even pick up some good habits for the rest of 2015.
Load up Sunrise Calendar (Android, iOS, Mac App Store, web). I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but it makes keeping a calendar… fun? Maybe not fun, but it definitely makes it not awful. Sunrise plays nicely with Google, iCloud, and Exchange calendars, connecting to your various accounts–Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, LinkedIn and a host of others–to automatically pull in pertinent info for you. You’ll get birthday reminders, travel updates, weather forecasts, and maps to route you to your next appointment. Adding entries is a snap, too: Just type in plain English (“Bike ride tomorrow at noon in Boston”) and the app will parse your meaning.
Mint Bills (Android, iOS, web) is worth checking out. The app links up to your bank account, credit cards, and bills to alert you to upcoming payments and–more importantly–to make sure you have enough dough to cover your expenses. No overdraft fees, no over-the-limit charges, no climbing out the bathroom window at Denny’s (again). The app is triple dipped in security features and alerts you to suspicious transactions as well.
Stylicious (Android, iOS) helps you virtually organize your closet without making you actually, you know, clean up your closet. Snap a photo of each article of clothing you own before you throw it on the clean-clothes pile, then mix and match as tops, pants, shoes, and accessories are presented in sliding carousels one after another. You can create looks entirely from clothes you own or substitute in options from the built-in shopping section as your wallet cries out in agony. There’s even a vacation planner, so you can make sure to bring the perfect outfits on your next trip.
Everyone in your family needs to grab OurGroceries (Android, iOS). As looks go, this one fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. But it’s got it where it counts. The app lets you create shared grocery lists by barcode-scanning, taking photos, or simply listing items of food you currently have on hand so you can quickly add them for later purchase. If Dad’s at the store while Mom adds something to the list, he’ll get notified (hopefully before he gets to the checkout line) so he can pick things up on the fly. One of the best things about the app is that it works between iPhones and Android handsets, syncing everything via the web.
Check out Boomerang for Gmail (Android, Mobile web, web). With barely a click, it lets you virtually snooze messages until later, clearing them out of your inbox until a date and time you specify. You get to feel the exhilaration of reaching inbox zero without deleting 500 emails in a ham-fisted rage. Boomerang also sports a “Send Later” feature: Scratch out a few emails after lunch, take off for the day, and have them sent to your boss in the late afternoon. Maybe save one for the middle of the night for an added whiff of workaholism.