“Happiness is a small house with a big kitchen” — Alfred Hitchcock
Even though we don’t have flying cars that fold into briefcases, our homes have certainly lived up to science fiction predictions. Today’s smart home has programmable windows, tiny autonomous robot vacuum cleaners, and a voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) device that can understand everything from “call mom” to “define poststructuralism in literature.” . This AI device may be the brains of the house, but the kitchen is where you’ll find the hearth and heart of a home.
That’s not to say that technology doesn’t help either. Apps turn our phones into digital Swiss Army knives, allowing us to track items, reduce waste and save money. Here are some of the best free apps to keep your kitchen organized — all are available on Android and iOS and some may have optional paid upgrades.
3D house design
The first and most important step in having a well-organized kitchen is knowing how everything will be laid out. Sketches and floor plans are great, but it can be difficult to get an idea of how the room will feel once it’s finished and furnished. You would need to sit in it.
Well, you can! Construction and renovation apps take advantage of the true processing power of our smartphones and can give us a much better picture of how our future homes will look and feel. Home Design 3D strikes an excellent balance between usability and aesthetics — it’s very intuitive and the 3D views do a good job of conveying what a room will look like. You shouldn’t expect high-end graphics by any means, but it’s enough to serve the purpose.
You can add and manipulate objects, walls, doors, and windows in 2D perspective. Switching to 3D still lets you manipulate objects but gives you a better idea of how they interact. The Visit feature locks the camera at eye level, allowing you to walk around rooms and get a better sense of the space.
If you are planning a kitchen or home renovation with Home Design 3D, you may find that not all of your old furniture matches the new style or layout. Using the application, you can create a room in which you place all the furniture that needs to be cleared. Take note of the size of the room, then use a storage unit size guide to find the perfect unit for your needs, which is usually the size of a 10’x10′ in most cases. Problem solved!
Murphy’s Law says, “You will always find something in the last place you look.” Nowhere does it say that last place cannot be first. Sortly looks like the kind of app that took this to heart.
Sortly is dedicated to helping you organize your inventory. This app doesn’t have one major feature or gimmick that sets it apart. What it has is just about every option you can imagine or need to keep tabs on your supplies. This is partly because the app is also designed for small businesses, with advanced stock management and inventory options.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of these advanced features in your kitchen. On the contrary — you can set and set low stock alerts so you can plan grocery outings in advance without having to check your kitchen storage areas. You can organize your items into folders based on where they are in the kitchen or home. You can assign a photo to each item to make it easier to find in the app.
You can also update your inventory quickly after shopping, using quick actions to scan each newly purchased product. It will automatically be added to your current stock for that item.
But by far one of the most useful things about the app is generating QR code labels. For example, you can put all your cleaning products in boxes depending on the type of surface — wood care products, limescale removers, window cleaners, etc. — then create a label for each box. Next time you’re looking for a certain product, all you have to do is scan the boxes and see what’s inside.
No wasted time removing boxes from shelves, opening them and putting them back when you can’t find what you’re looking for. This is especially useful for users of storage units, where the shelves quickly fill up with nondescript cardboard boxes.
Do you have a drawer full of appliance manuals? Do you really need it, though? Textbooks are widely available online these days, but they too need a virtual drawer to be kept there. Enter Centriq.
This application aims to help you with the technical maintenance of your home and appliances. It can scan the product labels of said devices and automatically obtain the corresponding user manuals. Not only that, but it can also find spare parts, consumables, and instructional materials like how-to videos.
Devices need to undergo maintenance from time to time, and Centriq also helps with that. You can set custom maintenance periods with reminders, so you never forget to replace the filters in your dryer, vacuum cleaner or coffee machine again.
You can save your device receipts in the app, making it easy to find them if you need to make a warranty claim. The app also notifies you if any of the products you own have been recalled, an often overlooked but important convenience.
Moving into a new home can be very stressful. There are many construction idiosyncrasies and quirks unique to every home, and not being aware of them can lead to things like breaking a power line and shorting out the lights in your entire home. Centriq also helps with this, as you can record videos showing relevant piping, wiring or general information before handing over the property to the new owner or tenant.
Until our robot friends make chores obsolete, we still have to do a lot of the cleaning and tidying up around the house. Sometimes it feels like the follow-up is more tedious than the work itself.
Tody is an application that will take this task away from you. First you specify how many rooms you have and what types. Then you specify what tasks need to be done in each, like mopping the floor, dusting, or decluttering. Each task can be assigned an effort level and a recurring day.
These last two parameters are what makes the application so useful, because it can sort tasks using these variables. Feeling energetic today? Find out which tasks are nearing their due date and get rid of all that red stuff in the list. Are you tired after work but still need to clean up? Choose from some of the low effort tasks that can be done quickly. You can even assign seasonal tasks, like packing holiday decorations or mowing the lawn.
It’s time to talk about Dusty. Dusty is an animated ball of dust and fluff with a big grumpy face. It lives in the app and is your nemesis in the race to keep your house clean. The more tasks you complete, the further ahead of him you are. If you miss deadlines or keep putting off tasks, old Dusty will start catching up with you and eventually overtake you.
The worst thing is to see the joy on his face once he is in front. It instantly makes you want to pick up a feather duster. As a motivational tool, Dusty is great!
KitchenPal is an all-in-one pantry management system and recipe app. You can scan items to build and update your inventory, but you can also set expiration dates and low stock alerts for food items. These low stock items can then be automatically added to your shopping list.
However, expiration notifications are only the first step. KitchenPal goes one step further by showing you recipes for your ingredients. Your chicken breast and lettuce are about to expire? Here is a wonderful salad recipe to fix the problem.
You can, of course, save preferences like vegan, lactose-free or gluten-free diets, which will then apply to the products and recipes displayed in the app. The digital kitchen and grocery lists you create can be shared with other family members so everyone can help with shopping and restocking.
All that talk of keeping the pantry full and the appliances running can’t fail to bring up the issue of budgeting. Budgeting apps can act as a force multiplier. Once you understand your spending habits, it’s much easier to make financial decisions that will bring you greater benefits in the future.
EveryDollar is a budgeting app that helps you manage your finances, save money, and even work out that pesky debt. It doesn’t focus on automation as much as other similar apps. This can be helpful, especially if you’re just starting out, as you’ll learn faster by being more hands-on with the budgeting process.
The app uses a principle called zero-based budgeting. This means that every dollar you earn is allocated to a specific expense category. Zero-based budgeting is great if you want to avoid overspending, and it helps you get a better idea of what a balanced budget looks like. There’s even the option to create long-term savings goals if you’re planning on making a big purchase in the future.
Streamline your life
The kitchen is where a lot of things have to go right at the same time. Although it may seem daunting, experience and a few digital aids can make your job easier, helping you reduce food waste and expenses, save money for the future, and live a healthier life!