I recently purchased a new home with my wife, and in our moving frenzy we searched for ways to make it easier to track house issues, to-dos, and projects. We found a few resources like BrightNest and HomespotHQ, but neither offered exactly what we wanted and seemed a bit too “revenue focused” – that is, trying to sell us products for our new home thinly veiled as advice. We even saw someone using Github!
At work, my coworkers and I were using Trello to track our web software development projects, and while using it one day I realized it would probably work great for house issue tracking! I set up a Trello Board (“House Maintenance”) and invited my wife. The ability to sign in via Google OAuth was a nice feature (no extra passwords to memorize!).
Here are some of the features of Trello and how they work great as a House Management app:
- Draggable “Cards” – each card is either a to-do or project for us. These can be moved between lists. We have lists for Outside, Bedrooms, Living/Dining, Kitchen, Bathrooms, General, In Progress, and Complete.
- Members – Either me or my wife or both can be “assigned” each card.
- Card Activity Log – A running comment discussion attached to each card lets my wife and me have a targeted discussion about each item, or updates on the progress of the task.
- Due dates – We set due dates for “events” that are going to happen – like the two-time-a-year leaf collection – and Trello illustrates those due dates on the cards, as well as emails us a few days before the due date.
- Labels – We use the color-coded labels as priority/status. Our labels are Urgent/Soon, Someday, Need to Purchase Something, and Need to Hire Someone.
- Checklists – Helps us break down tasks into manageable chunks. Our “Paint Office” card actually has 6 checklist items in it – Choose color, buy paint, paint, touchups, paint trim, etc. Trello shows you a status gauge on the card of what percentage of the checklist items you’ve completed.
- iPhone app – We can access our list at any time.
- Attach Files – Using the Trello app, we can easily take photos of research for tasks with our phones and upload them to a card as an attachment (paint chips, for example).
- Trello Notifications – When one of the cards that I’m assigned to is modified, or if Kate @ replies me in a card discussion, I get an email summarizing the changes.
The entire board is a “status” of all our projects – not started, started, and completed The “Filters” functionality allows you to see only certain views of your data that are pertinent to you (I like the “Urgent tasks that are assigned to me” filter).
Trello has worked out well for us so far. The one thing it doesn’t offer is ideas for house-specific things that we should be doing (like replacing the furnace filter) – we have to remember to add those things ourselves.
What do you use to manage your house?