How to Manage House Projects with Basecamp, by Julie Horton

About three years ago, my husband and I started into a relationship-challenger remodeling project on our house. We started in the beginning of the year with grand hopes of finishing it in time to host that year’s family Thanksgiving dinner. (Note my point in the first sentence; that was three years ago.) Outside of the fact that the remodeling is taking forever, it really is going to be pretty sweet when it’s all done.

After a few months of working with some architect-friends of ours, we finally settled on the plans and were ready to start making it happen. Since we remodeled parts of our last house, we thought it was pretty doable but not too crazy. Basically, we’re remodeling 70% of the main floor – relocating the kitchen to a different room (all new appliances, countertops, cabinets), opening up a couple walls, remodeling the living room (install hardwood, remove popcorn ceiling, take down paneling), and add a small mudroom. (Yeah, ok, I guess we are crazy.)

Since we wanted to do most of the work ourselves to save money, we started plugging away on research. As you may know, there’s a lot to figure out when you’re remodeling. Our main priorities: look stunning; do it for cheaper than other similar remodels; and do it as environmentally friendly as possible given the first two points. I was quickly racking up bookmarked eco-friendly remodeling sites and information about appliances while my husband was starting to plan the timeline. Before we knew it, we had both amassed information that was getting lost and not communicated to each other.

So we decided to give 37 Signals’ Basecamp web application a try to see if it would help us get more organized with our project, and it has been fantastic. Basecamp is an online project collaboration tool that allows you to assign tasks, gather feedback, and set milestones – among other features. Since we didn’t want to spend any more money than necessary, we opted for their most basic (free) plan. Included with this version are the following features with examples of how we used them.

The Dashboard is a high-level view of what’s going on with your project. If someone posts something, everyone sees an intro line about what was posted. Included with the intro line is the date of the posting and who posted it.