Review: Bring order to your domestic chaos with free Cozi Family Organizer for Android

Bring order to your family's chaos with the power of your smartphone (and this free Android app).

There's busy, and then there's Super Mom (or Dad) busy, which brings us to Cozi's free Android app. Cozi's motto is "Family life. Simplified." Cozi lets you share common messages, calendars, shopping lists, and anything else you need to keep your family organized and informed. And where better to do it from than your smartphone? Cozi's app is free but ad-supported, which means ever-changing banner ads. But some of the ads we saw offered coupons and discounts on products that actually might be of interest to the resident decision maker, so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all (and it keeps the app free). We tried Cozi on a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.1.1.

When you first run Cozi, you'll need to create an account, which involves entering your first name and an e-mail address, creating a shared family password, and entering a household name and ZIP code. Cozi displayed our family's name above its menu, and there's a place for a family photo, too. Cozi's menu offers a Calendar, To-do and Shopping Lists, a Journal, and Settings. A sub-menu lists items available with Cozi Gold, a paid upgrade. We opened the Calendar, which displays a scrolling daybook view beneath a search field and a quick-access calendar feature. To set appointments and events for other family members, you first need to visit the Setup Household page and enter adults, children, and device settings. Once they're entered, all your kids need is the shared family password to access not just the calendar but also Cozi's lists and other features, and not only from their Android devices but also desktops, laptops, or any Cozi-compatible devices. You can create and save grocery lists with the Shopping List tool, while the Journal feature is a quick and easy note-keeper that lets you attach images to entries.

The family that droids together...well; that doesn't work. But Cozi does! And if your kids can't pull their eyes away from their phones, Cozi at least gives you a chance to stay in touch about what's going on with each other.

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