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Using Trello to Organize Your Home and Homeschool

I admit it. I love to organize. The very thought brings me happy feelings. Unfortunately my love for organization often leads me to try every new organizational tool that I stumble across. New to do list organizer? Yep, I want it. New meal planner? Of course I need it. New homeschool planning software? That's exactly what I've been looking for!

I used to be a pen and paper organizer. I faithfully carried around my pocket planner. And when I first began to homeschool, I had a giant organizing binder that organized everything from my daily to do list to homeschool lesson plans to homemaking chores and meal plans.

And then the days of pen and paper organizers began to fade away. I confess that I envied the very first "Palm Pilots" although they were out of my price range. But thanks to laptops and smartphones, my hard copy organizers soon began to give way to digital organizers.

A few years ago, I realized that I had a problem. I had lots of different digital organizing systems for different parts of life. I had my Google calendar for my personal to do lists. I had homeschool planning tools for homeschooling organization. I had meal planning programs to save my recipes and do meal planning. I had different organizing tools for my blog and business related information. Everything was scattered throughout all different platforms.

Trello video tutorial

And then I met Trello. If you haven't come across Trello yet, it's an awesome visual organizing system. It's a project planning tool that can be used by individuals or by business teams. Best of all, most of the features are free. Trello has come to be my all-in-one organizing tool. I use it for everything from my daily and weekly to do lists to blog planning to meal planning to homeschool planning.


I recently published a tutorial for setting up your first Trello board on my YouTube channel. I'm sharing that video here. If you'd rather have a tutorial to read, keep going to see screen shots and a step by step how to for getting started with Trello.


The first thing you'll need to do is set up a free account at Trello.com. Trello does have paid versions as well. But I've always used the free version and haven't needed extra features so far.

Once you login to your account, you'll see a page with all of your boards. You haven't created any in your account yet, so that's what we'll do first.


Trello organizer

Right now, you have a little grey box that says "Create new board." You are going to click that box. 

Trello for organizing

You'll have the opportunity to name your board and designate it to a team. I have my boards grouped by category now because I have so many. But if you choose "none" as a category for your first board, that's fine. You can also choose to make your board public or private. My boards are currently all private because I don't share them with any team members. If you'd like to use Trello as a project manager with a group, you can change the settings for your boards.

Trello boards

The default color of your board is blue. You can see a menu on your right-hand side. Let's see some of the choices and features you have for your board.

Trello menu

You can choose a background for your board. If you pay for some of the upgraded versions, you have picture choices for backgrounds, and you can upload your own pictures.

Learn how to use Trello

The "Filter Cards" option will allow you to filter the cards on your board by label. Right now, you don't have any labels set up, so we'll come back to those.

Trello for organizing

The "Power ups" option has some fun choices. Most of these I don't use on my basic boards, but I do like to click Enable on the Calendar power up here. So click it, and I'll show you a cool feature later.

Trello as a calendar

The "Stickers" option gives you a variety of stickers you'll be able to use on your cards. Trello is a very visual system. These stickers can make cards stand out so that you'll be able to tell certain information about them right away. Again, you can have more sticker choices if you have the upgraded versions.

Trello stickers

If you click the "More" option on your Menu, you'll see several more options. You can set up labels in this section (or on your cards later). You can choose to copy everything on this board to another. You can print or export the whole board. You can also click the "Email to Board Settings" option to find your board's email address. If you email this address, you can send something directly to the board.

Right now we won't use any more of these settings.

Trello settings

Trello is set up with boards, cards, and lists. We've created a large board. Now we're going to make some lists on that board. Click "Add a list" and name your list. I'm naming my first list "To Do List."

Trello lists

I also made an "Around the House" list.

Trello for organizing

Now that we have a couple of lists, we're going to put some cards in our lists. I've clicked "Add a card" under the To Do List. I can type whatever I want on the front of this card. I've titled it "Write lesson plans."

Trello cards

Once I've hit Enter or the green Add button, I can now click on that card to find all kinds of neat things to do with it. In the Add Comment space, I can write a comment or even add a link. So if I have a website that I need to consult when I write my lesson plans, I can add it right here on the card.

On the right hand side, you even have the option of Attachment. This lets you upload an attachment or connect one through Google Drive or other services. This can be very handy if you're working on a project that has certain files to go with it. Now you can keep those files right with the card they go with.

Trello card descriptions

I can assign a due date for my card. I can add the date and even a specific time. You can choose not to add a due date as well. On my Menu Planning board, I have lists of recipes. On the recipe cards, I obviously don't need a due date.

Trello due dates

Now I'm going to use that labels feature. Click on "Labels." You'll see any labels you already have or choose "Create a label" from the bottom. Name your label and choose a color. Labels are great because they let you look at a card and see at a glance that type of card or what the card has to do with.

Trello labels

I chose to make a Homeschool label and use the pretty light blue color. I will offer a caveat here. There are a limited number of label colors in the free plan. Eventually you'll run out and may have to use the same color for different labels.

Trello labels for organizing

I'm going to add another card. This time I'm adding it to the Around the House list. I've added a Clean the bathroom chore- everyone's favorite task.


Again, once I click on my card, I have the options to add dates and labels. I'm going to set a due date for this card as well.

Trello for planning

This time I'm going to create a pretty orange label called "Housework." Now when I glance at my cards from the board overview, I'll see right away which tasks go in which categories.

Trello visual planner

Now that you have some items on your board, you might want to be able to see due dates on a calendar. I have a hard time just looking at my card lists and visualizing how they're going to fall on a calendar. And sometimes it's important for me to see that I have too many things scheduled for one date.

Do you remember that we enabled "Calendar" on the Power Ups? Look at the top right corner of your main board screen. See the word "Calendar"? Click on that word.

Trello boards

And, voila! You can now see all of the cards on your board placed on a calendar. Just scroll to see further months.

Trello as a calendar

One great thing about Trello is that you can easily drag and drop cards into different lists. You'll notice that I created a Completed list. 

Trello lists

Now I can drag and drop the Clean the bathroom card into the Completed list.

Trello ease of use

It's also easy to move a card to a different board. Click on the card to open it up. When you click on Move on the right hand side, you'll see a list of your boards and then all of the lists on that board. You can choose the board and the specific list where you want to move your card.

This becomes super handy if you're working on a project where you might need to move a task from place to place.

You can also click the Copy button (right under Move) to copy a card to another board and list without moving it off of the current board.

Moving Trello cards

When you have completed a card and are no longer working with it, you can choose to Archive it by clicking "Archive." The card will then look like the one below. You can close it, and it will remain in Trello, archived but able to be reached. Or you can choose Delete at the bottom right to get rid of the card forever.

Trello archive

And that, my fellow organizer lovers, is Trello. It's an awesome all-in-one organizer with unlimited possibilities. I use mine for so many things.

If you need help or want to know more, you can always click the circled "i" in the top right corner near your account name. From there, you can find the Trello blog that offers many tips and tricks for productivity and workflow, the Trello help desk with articles for getting around Trello and making it work for you, and more.


I hope that you've found a new great tool or learned a little more about what Trello can do for you. What is your favorite organizational tool? Let me know in the comments.


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4 comments:

  1. Trello sounds like a fascinating program to use. I will have to look into it further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite thing is that I can do so much with just the free version. I love it!

      Delete
  2. I actually use the calendar power-up with due dates in my recipe board for meal planning.

    It can also be shared with my Google Calendar so I can view everything in one place. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that it has the calendar feature! And I've messed around a bit to use it for meal planning.

      Delete

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