How I Use Trello To Go Completely Paperless

How I Use Trello To Go Completely Paperless

I love using Trello for all things business related and have written about how I use it in several posts. As much as I love it for business, I never really figured out how to use it for home organization. But this past weekend, I got sick of the huge binder I use to store all of our user manuals and instruction booklets, and HAD to do something about it.

You see, a couple of years ago I decided to go as paperless as I could. I bought a little desktop scanner (this one, which I love!) and started scanning all of our paperwork, pay stubs, syllabi, etc. It took me such a long time! But, I went from having an entire filing cabinet of unorganized paperwork to 3 expandable file folders and a not-so-organized Evernote notebook. Now, I just have to do maintenance scanning to keep up with the few things I still get paper copies of.

Last November, we bought our first house and moved. Eight months before that, my son was born. Before that, I didn’t have that many product manuals, and it wasn’t a big deal to just keep them in a drawer. Add in all the instruction booklets and user manuals from baby stuff, and I needed a binder. Then we moved, and suddenly started collecting all the product information for new appliances, tv, furniture, and tools at a fast clip. My binder went from manageable to out of control, and last weekend, I got sick of looking at it sitting in all its disheveled glory on the shelf above my otherwise neat desk.

My husband will tell you that I sometimes get a wild hair, and suddenly have to, right that minute, organize something that I haven’t even noticed in months. That’s what happened this past weekend. I saw that irksome binder sitting above my desk and just needed to do something about it. After about 2 seconds of contemplation, I realized that it’s 2017, and all of those manuals should be readily available online with electronic versions that I could easily download. Once I had that realization, it was a natural leap for me to decide to use Trello to organize these.

{Side note: You may remember that I mentioned using Evernote for my other files at the beginning of this article. I don’t use Evernote very much, but I love that my files are backed up when I add them which is why I used it for my first phase of going paperless. For product manuals that I might need to reference more frequently, I wanted them to be in a place that I access a lot and where my husband can easily find them. Right now, Evernote would not accomplish this for me, but it might for you!}

So I went to work finding and downloading manuals. It took forever. I’m not kidding. It was like 4 hours straight of sorting through manuals and trying to find them online. Maybe that amount of work wouldn’t be worth it for some people, but any time I clear up clutter I feel a hundred times better and never regret it. In a case like this, it’s especially satisfying because not only do I have less clutter, but the manuals will now be more accessible, last longer, AND be more organized.

This is the process I used to add everything to Trello:

  1. I already had a “Home” board so I added a “Product Mauals” list.
  2. I added a card for each product.
  3. I added the link for the product’s page.
  4. I downloaded any available documents for the product and made sure to name the files appropriately.
  5. I attached the files to the product’s card in Trello.

So easy, and so much better! Now, whenever I need to reference one of those manuals, I can view it in Trello on any of my devices without even downloading it. It’s super-organized, all in one place, and I shared the board with my husband so he can access them, too! This is all the paper I was able to recycle (sorry about the bad lighting, messiness, and paint sample on the wall):

How I Use Trello To Go Completely Paperless

 

If you are in the same situation, you should consider doing something similar with whatever program you use for digital organization. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! Do you have any other organization hacks like this? I’d love to hear about them for the next time I get that wild hair to organize!

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