While our blog usually revolves around furniture, this week I’d like to focus on something a little out of the ordinary. You see, I’ve been desperately searching for a way to catalog and organize our inventory.

Thanks to estate sales, private sellers, and Craigslist, not only are our home and garage overflowing with pieces, but so are our two modest storage units. A further complication: many of the pieces require a bit of work, so they get moved around in a desperate attempt to free up more space. It’s a giant game of Tetris.

Since we’ve been acquiring furniture for a while now, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remember the location of individual pieces and what work, if any, is needed. Finding a solution had me at wit’s end.

Luckily, I discovered Trello, a free App that assists us in managing our workflow. Trello is extraordinarily helpful and easy to use.

Our family business has emerged from its start-up phase. We’ve entered a growth dimension that is simultaneously exciting and frustrating. It felt like too many things were going on — we couldn’t keep track. Our inventory expanded but wasn’t properly recorded. Pieces were shifted around and forgotten about, future projects were buried, and tasks fell through the cracks.

I attempted to implement various organizational systems but nothing worked for the 3 of us. Our independent To-Do lists became impossible, mostly due to only one of us (A-hem) maintaining one. Projects were largely ad hoc, with little oversight or attention to deadlines. This may have worked in the past, but if we’re serious about taking Iris Abbey to the next step, organization had to be established.

We decided to start with an audit of our inventory. Trello made short work of the task. So far, so good.

I created boards unique to our organizational needs. Individual boards can be color coded. I’ve used Trello for less than 2 weeks and developed these categories:

Trello BoardsWithin the boards, I developed lists. Take a closer look at some of them:

Blog IdeasTrello Lists

Craigslist

Michael, our son, posts some of our items on Craigslist. I access the photos and write blurbs. This should help us coordinate our efforts.

Etsy

I coordinate our Etsy Shop. Now I have a list of what needs a photo or Etsy blurb.

Priority Work Projects

This category is critical to us! David, Michael, and I had too many communication lapses on the status of items. Now we update our Priority Work Projects weekly and follow it. Look, icons are available! I gave it a red background to connote urgency.Trello Priority Projects

Projects to Work On

Ready for Avonlea

Seasonal Items

I keep adding to our shop’s holiday lists, but here’s how they looked earlier this week:Trello Board

Stored Furniture

Our inventory list! Now we know where (almost) everything is as we maintain these lists. Another feature: you can drag and drop photos for quick identification. Trello Board

Upcoming Estate Sales

I’ll have to see how useful this proves to be. If there’s something especially interesting coming up, I can tag it here.

Conclusion

I’m thrilled that Trello works for us at this stage in our business. It’s a work in progress, but I love being organized. Has anyone else tried it? How do you manage your workflow?

Ann Marie and David

 

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6 Comments on Managing Small Business Workflow with Trello

  1. Julie@followyourheartwoodworking
    September 12, 2016 at 11:32 pm (3 years ago)

    Looks like it might be suitable for me, thanks for sharing. I will keep this post for when I have time to try it out… I’m just so busy, but need the organization for sure!

    Reply
    • irisabbey
      September 13, 2016 at 2:09 am (3 years ago)

      Julie, I hear you. I found, with our business, it reached a point where something had to change. Right now, Trello works for us.

      Reply
  2. Pili
    September 16, 2016 at 5:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for all the info Ann Marie. I heard about Trello last week and I wanted to give it a try but didn’t know where to start and if it would help me.

    Reply
    • irisabbey
      September 16, 2016 at 8:20 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks, Pili. I’m a super organized person, while my husband is a little less so. We now regularly use Trello because it keeps us focused on weekly projects. There’s no randomness about starting something and leaving it half finished and moving on. My son, on the other hand, appreciates its ability to catalog our inventory. As I said in my post, we may outgrow it, but it’s working beautifully right now.

      Reply
  3. Ashlea
    September 19, 2016 at 5:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the information. I need to get my blog organized right now I just randomly post on it. As well as get my social media organized better so can receive more followers.

    Reply
    • irisabbey
      September 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm (3 years ago)

      I hope you have success with Trello. I’ve been inputing our inventory today and adding photos so we have quick visuals.

      Reply

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