home renovation project in Todoist

How to organize a home renovation project in Todoist

Setting up my home renovation project in Todoist is one of the things I wish I had done much earlier in my life. Better planning and a more productive way of working really make a big difference.

Doing a home renovation often becomes a challenge, both in terms of planning, time management, budgeting, logistics, and endurance. It can set your relationship on a test as well.

If you read all the way to the end, I even have a way of using Todoist to make sure that my marriage holds through demanding home renovation projects.

Setting up a home renovation project in Todoist

You can set up a home renovation project just like any other project in Todoist. However, this is not what will make a big difference like what my wife and I experienced. I have said before that one of the major strengths in Todoist is it’ s flexibility.

The flexibility I’m talking about is the way you can use sub-tasks so that one thing depends on another, and contexts to group seemingly unrelated stuff together.

home renovation project in Todoist
Organizing your home renovation project in Todoist reduces the number of things you have to worry about. (Picture: Stocksnap)

Organizing general home maintenance in Todoist

General home maintenance like painting windows and outside paneling, as well as replacing parts of a fence may not be what comes to mind first in terms of a renovation project in Todoist. But this is where I first realized that I could use Todoist to save time.

Let’s take the example of painting windows, door frames and the top of the railing white. I started by making a separate action in Todoist for every place that needed to get a fresh layer of white outdoor paint. Pretty soon I had spots all around the outside of the house, as well as the garage doors.

After looking at the mess of small tasks, I realized that if I used white outdoor paint as a context, I would end up with a to-do list for when I was walking around with the paint bucket. With that, the context rPaintOutWhite was born.

(I start all the labels with “r” so that all the renovation labels/contexts are sorted together.)

This may not sound like a big thing, but this enabled me to register all places in need of painting or repair and filter the task based on the paint or tool I was using. This turned out to be both a time saver and something that made the dull tasks involved in maintaining a property a bit less dull.

Remodeling the kitchen using Todoist

wall cabinets project in Todoist
Parts of the wall cabinets project in Todoist. (Picture: Bjørn Christian Finbråten)

Remodeling the kitchen gave me the chance to utilize another part of Todoist’s flexibility. A kitchen is in a way a collection of “systems.” You have water, electricity, lighting, wall cabinets, etc. All of these systems consist of a number of parts and sub-systems.

To install the kitchen counter you need cabinets, cabinet doors, drawers, the countertop, the sink, molding, handles, shelves, hinges, screws, and so on.

The first thing I did was to register all the parts as tasks in Todoist. All major items, like each cabinet, became a task. All parts that made up the cabinets became sub-tasks.

These tasks and subtasks were but into my shopping list project. As soon as I got home from the store, I made sure that I had all the pieces before I moved all the tasks to the Install cabinets project.
When I was done installing, I marked all tasks as complete.

By using Todoist this way, I was able to make a shopping list, make sure that I had all the parts needed to start the installation and keep track of what was left to do.

Picture: Unsplash

Managing a bathroom renovation using Todoist

Not wanting to do the handy-work in the bathroom myself, this was more of a management project than a home renovation project in Todoist. When you have other people doing renovation work, you really have to make sure that you give the proper instructions and remembers to check outstanding issues before they leave.

When you want to have an extra power outlet, this has to be in place before the tiles are covering that spot. You also have to remember to tell the painter to fix that small dent in the ceiling. The solution to all of this: Labels in Todoist, or what in GTD is called agenda contexts.

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I used the following labels in Todoist to manage the bathroom renovation project:

  • rBathTiler
  • rBathCarpenter
  • rBathPainter
  • rBathPlummer
  • rBartElectr
  • rBathWife

Pay attention to the last label. I use this for remembering to clarify decisions with my wife. This is crucial if you want your marriage to last beyond the completion of your renovation project.


Setting up a home renovation project in Todoist is not rocket science. It’s about identifying “systems” that can be added as tasks and sub-tasks, and it’s about using the labels in Todoist to create contexts that enable you to do all the things you can do with whatever paint or tool you have ready.

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