In this post, I’m telling you about the free app I use called Trello, and how you can use it to keep you organized, or help you become more organized. I’ll never promise that anything can “make” you organized – that’s a mindset issue – but Trello helps me get some of my thoughts out and makes it a little easier to track what I’m doing. I’m showing you how to use Trello in your mom life today, and I hope you love it as much as I do.
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How To Use Trello In Your Mom Life
You know how you find those things that work so great, you can’t remember a time before you used them?
It’s like Google – doesn’t it feel like Google has been around forever?
Trello is like that for me. Realistically, I only heard about it a couple of years ago. In that time though, it’s become one of the most used apps on my phone. This is something I use pretty much daily.
Trello is considered a “Kanban board” style of to-do list/task organizer. If you’re unfamiliar with Kanban boards, the basic concept is you have tasks on notes, lined up in categories, and you can move the tasks/notes from one category to the other. It’s been in use a long time for offices, but it’s gotten a technological update with things like Trello.
This is a great system if you’re visually-oriented at all. If you’re the type of person who has a million sticky notes, or you write stuff on your calendar, or you use a planner, this will complement your style very well.
And the best part is, it’s FREE! My favorite price!
How Trello is Set Up
On Trello, you have boards. Each board contains lists, and each list contains cards. Cards have the “front” and when you click into them, the “back” with more details.
You can add labels (there’s even a color-blind-friendly mode), due dates, checklists, attachments, or cover images. There are also power-ups you can add to each board – under the free plan, you’re limited to one power-up per board. Most of the time, that’s enough. For the average user, you probably aren’t going to need anything other than the calendar power-up (one of my personal favorites) although if you want to set up anything recurring (say, a checklist of some sort), the Butler power-up is really helpful.
To give some idea of how I set things up – the board is usually going to be my general topic. For instance, I have one called “Missouri Travels” because (a) I’m from Missouri, (b) I love getting to see cool things, and (c) I always have a list of places I want to go, restaurants I want to try, and museums I want to check out. Hence, “Missouri Travels.”
On this board, I have multiple lists. The first list is one for local restaurants I want to try. I have a second list for other local shops or sights I want to see. I have a list for Kansas City-area things, a list for St. Louis- area things, a list for Columbia-area things (my in-laws live in Columbia so we’re usually up there every couple of months), and a list for things located elsewhere in the state.
Each list contains cards that are usually just the title of what I want to do – for instance, the Laumeier sculpture park. Sometimes, I go ahead and copy an image off of Google to add to the front of my card – all I have to do is open the card, hit Ctrl+V or Paste, and it automatically adds it as the cover image. If I have multiple images, I can choose which one is the cover image.
Since this is a board featuring different locations, I chose to use the Map power-up. I can attach a location to each card using Google Maps, and see everything on a single map as well.
When I open a card, I can see any attachments (links or even things like PDFs), the location (since I’m using the Map power-up on this board), and a description that I can add more notes to.
So for this particular board, I’ll not only add the location, but I’ll also include the website and possibly an image to remind me of what it is. I may make notes such as operating dates, costs, or if there is anything in particular I want to see.
When we eventually plan a trip to one of these areas, I can look and see what I’ve been wanting to do, and make a point to work it into our plans.
And before my fellow Missourians come at me for my lack of “the good stuff” on my STL list, we regularly go to visit the zoo, the science center, the Arch, and we’ve been to City Museum – so we know all those things are there and plan to go back!
Trello also features “teams” that you can put the boards on. In the free version, teams are limited to ten boards each. I find that’s usually enough. I like to use teams to help me organize my boards into different categories – for instance, I have a “Household” team that includes things like my rhythms and routines board, or teams for my different websites. It’s meant to help collaborate with others in a business environment, but I personally use it to help narrow down my boards into categories and make them a little easier to find.
How I Use Trello
I use Trello for everything from meal planning, to household management, to keeping track of everything blog-related. I have boards to keep track of Christmas present ideas for my family (each family member gets a list, then individual cards are present ideas or even links to the present). In the past, I used a free Zapier account to tie it in with my Pinterest so I could pin something and it would automatically go to a Trello board.
I have a board for my rhythms and routines, I have boards for what courses I want to take and what I have taken. I have a board going room-by-room throughout my home and documenting any changes or repairs I need to make.
Trello is one of those things where the possibilities are endless. If you’re needing to use it as a planner, you can use it as a planner. If you just need a visual organizer, it does that too. There are so many options.
And it’s free!
If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can use Trello, I have a download available in my resource library that features 20+ ideas on how to use Trello, along with examples of how I set some of them up and use them in my own life.
Other Trello Tricks
A couple things I think are worth noting – first, I love the ability to add a background to the boards. There’s a great selection of pictures available via Unsplash and it makes it really easy to find something appropriate that matches the theme of the board (if that’s something you want to do). I personally really enjoy making my boards have similar color schemes.
You can also use labels for approximately a million things. I might use them to categorize cards (for instance, on my Gifts board I use them to keep track of what’s just an idea, what’s actually been purchased, and what do I have already wrapped and ready to go), or I might use them to break up my day in a daily schedule and help me timeblock my day.
You can even add PDFs – the free plan allows up to 10MB per card.
While Trello isn’t 100% for everyone – I still rely on my phone and paper planner for things like scheduling appointments – it is such an amazing, versatile tool. I’m sure you can come up with something that’s useful for you.
How You Can Use Trello
I want this to stay pretty short because I want you to go try this yourself. Trello is available for both iOS and Android, along with the web app. I’ve given you a bunch of ideas on how I use it, but the possibilities are really endless.
I’ve created this board showing some of the basic features, and this printable discussing not only the different types of boards I use but how I set them up, and I’m always happy to answer any questions you might have!
I hope you try this out, and I hope it’s as helpful to you as it is to me. I really believe that an important step to feeling organized is finding the systems that work best for you, and Trello has become a big thing for me. I think even if they disappeared tomorrow, I’d still be creating Kanban-style boards for myself, because I realize that this is a system that works really well with my brain.
If you already use Trello, let me know how you tend to use it!