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Automating cleanup: A way to use Butler to keep your board tidy

I work on a team that gets a lot done. We track all our work using Trello cards. Each task has a card on our board.

Here's how we make sure our board stays usable, fast, and organized: We use Butler to automatically manage archiving of old cards, and lists! 

Our board's list set up is basically: To Do, Doing, Testing, Ready for Merge, Done.

I'm going to focus on that last list here: Done.

At first, having a single "Done" list is fine, but as you approach a very large number of cards in that list, things might start slowing down - this is because Trello needs to load all those cards when you open up the board, and then render them. If you archive cards or lists, this no longer needs to happen, and the board remains super fast.

So here's the system we're using to automatically ensure that happens: we have multiple "Done" lists. Each month, Butler automatically renames the last month's "Done" list to something like "Done 2021-05", and archives the list from a few months before.

That way, we still have historical context on our board, our tasks are logically grouped by year/month, and they're still searchable via Trello's card search, should we ever need to find them!

Here's what this command looks like:

Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 3.00.34 PM.png

Breaking down the components a bit: "Done {date-3m~YYYY-MM}" translates to "Done 2021-02" (assuming now is 2021-05). This uses Butler's date arithmetic and formatting feature.

"Done {date-1d~YYYY-MM}" translates to "Done 2021-04" (the command runs on the 1st of the month, so subtracting a day gives us the last day of last month).


This is our "set it and forget it" way of making sure our board stays updated, relevant and speedy!



Wow, that was very helpful. I'll do it right away. I would love more tips like this.

I did exactly this!!! Except I added an extra step that sends these lists to another board called "Archive." I prefer searching through cards that are visible on a board rather than using either the "Archived cards search tool" or the Trello search box. Just keeps it consistent for me. The whole process has saved me several times. Thank you for explaining the more advanced syntax for dates! I will definitely change mine to match.

Like Felix likes this

We are giving this a try. Hoping it's just what we needed!!! :)


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