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7 steps to "Clearing the Clutter" from your Trello Drawers

With 2020 only a few weeks away I am aiming to start the new year off right, and that includes simplifying and clearing clutter from all aspects of my life. Since I use Trello for everything, it made sense to start there. Here are the steps I followed to declutter and re-organize my Trello drawers. Here are some steps I used that I hope you will find helpful if you decide to do the same.

1) First, I started by looking at the boards I use most often. You can highlight boards you want to easily find by clicking on the star feature. Once you star the board, those boards are displayed at the top of your boards drawer, and you can rearrange them by dragging and dropping them. You can arrange the alphabetically or just in order of the ones you use the most, whatever works best for you. 


2) Next, I reviewed all remaining boards and closed old boards that I was not using (I can always re-open them if I decide they are needed in the future). If you want to permanently delete a board, one that will have no future value you can do that too. This feels so good, just like cleaning out a dresser drawer, so you have more visual space for the possibility of creating new boards. As you can see from my boards in the photo below, I had some major decluttering to do (closing and deleting boards). How on earth did I accumulate so many boards, and I call myself a minimalist ;)

my boards.png

3)Next, I opened up my Master Board (the one I use 90% of the time) and I added one of my favourite power-ups: the card-aging power-up (pirate view). This Power-Up helps you see cards on a board that haven’t been touched in a while. I prefer the pirate mode (as it is more fun that the original). The cards will tear, yellow, and crack like an old pirate map when it is enabled. It gives a bird-eye-view of your board and shines a light on what cards need attention, or perhaps cards that you had forgotten about that can be completed or archived.

card aging.jpg


4) If you have a "done list" on your main board where you move all your cards that are completed, I would recommend either archiving the cards in this list, to clear the clutter as you can always search for archived items if you need to find something in the future. However if you need to access these items in one spot easily, you could create a separate "done" board, and then either have lists by month or by year, and you could move the cards every month to this completed items board. You never have to look at the board, unless of course you look some inspiration to look back on all the progress you made. That way you don't have that overflowing list of 2-3 years of completed cards staring you in the face every day on your main board. 

5) Next group cards that could possibly be condensed to one card with a checklist inside. Sometimes I create a bunch of cards on the fly and it accumulates quickly which really clutters up my board. 10 of them may all have to do with the same project - so I take the time to create one card with a checklist inside, and archive all the separate cards.

The same is true if you have a checklist and it's 95% completed for the longest time, you could opt for taking that last item and turning it into a card so that you can archive the rest, and then focus on that last item that is taking more time.


6)Next review notification frequency, are you getting bombarded with email notifications that you are now ignoring? You can set your notification email preferences by clicking the Notifications button in the header and selecting "Change Notification Email Frequency". The options are "Never", "Periodically", and "Instantly." "Instantly" is the default and any unread notifications in Trello are emailed out as soon as possible, which can really clog up your inbox if you are not on top of them all the time. 

7) Carve out some time to review every card on your board. When my board becomes chaos, I move everything into an incoming list and then do a full review of all items. For example, does this card need to be completed today, tomorrow, this week, later or someday. Then I move the card to the corresponding list. I wrote an article previously on the full potential of a day with some great tips: life repair day and multiple-put down technique (aka pomodoro technique). Some day I hope to achieve "Trello Zero" a bit like "Inbox Zero", where every single item on my board is completed. I think that may be something that can only be accomplished once or twice a lifetime, correct me if I am wrong and you have achieved this prestigious accomplishment. 

Bonus) Lastly, consider some new backgrounds to freshen things up. You look at the same background all the time, a change of scenery may spark more productivity and idea generation. Like a new landscape or window view.


I would love to hear your thoughts on these seven tips, are there any gamechangers that I am missing? What works for you in clearing the clutter from your Trello boards?


Oy! This is an eye-opener on how much "stuff" you can accumulate in a digital realm. I'm going to be looking over my boards now on Christmas break to cut down the clutter. 

Here's a few tips we have in place to help:

  • We use Butler to move completed cards to a Done board to keep our active Project board clutter-free!
  • We use Butler to archive cards more than 30 days old on one of our boards that tracks Google/iOS releases and deployments of our websites. This has been a game changer since enabling it just over 2 months ago. The board runs much faster now that over 3,000 cards have been archived from its lists.
  • Before the restrictions on # of boards for free users, we had a board per project and used the colors to indicate what type of project it was - blue was events, purple was notes, yellow was websites, teal was magazines, etc. This was very helpful for locating projects quickly in our growing list. Now we use labels!

Thanks for detailing your steps!

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Thanks @carrie_eandm I agree, it doesn't take long. Some of those boards were from the inspiration boards site, that I had saved for inspiration. Not nearly as bad as it looks, it only took me about 30 minutes to sort through the archive, delete and keep pile for those :)

Those are awesome tips, I really need to start using Butler more, such a savings of time, energy and mouse clicks. Wow 3k cards in 2 months, that's impressive and what a great example of clearing that digital clutter. 

Great way to end the year and have a tidy work space to start the new, @Jodi LeBlanc !

Thanks for this!

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

Thanks so much @Jonny Adams - feels good to be ready to start 2020 on a high note :)

Oh my gosh, this is my first time seeing the card-aging power up and it's SO smart. I've only been using Trello for a few months but it's exciting to see how everyone makes it their own.

Like Jodi LeBlanc likes this

Thanks @Samie Kaufman - Your Gal at Gliffy , I agree. It is so nice to be able to adapt Trello in so many ways for personal and professional. #Trelloforlife


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