I live in a condominium (it’s called a sameie in Norwegian). The building is not very big, but it houses 7 apartments and 6 dormitories in a shared loft.

Previous solution#

When I first moved here documents about the building etc. was stored in a cardboard box and more recent documents were stored in Dropbox. Most of the digital documents were labeled poorly, which makes it difficult to browse through to find information fast. I’ve created a system for all the financial and organization stuff, which seems to work fine, but it’s still inconvenient to lookup info fast. And I still haven’t gotten around to digitalizing the cardboard box of documents.

Initially all of our communications were through Facebook Groups, which worked until a thread/post had become stale and someone would just create a new post and restart a previous discussion. DMs were also common, and there wasn’t any distinction as to where you were supposed to message someone, via Facebook Messenger, SMS or e-mail.

Throughout our building there were a mix of old and new documents on notice boards. And most of the stuff on these notice boards got outdated fast, and no one in our building has a printer (that I’m aware of).

To summarize:

  • Document storage: Dropbox (and a cardboard box for older docs).
  • Communications: Facebook groups (Messenger, SMS or e-mail for DMs).
  • Physical documents: Old and new hanged on notice boards around the building.

New Solution#

Storing documents is important, and Dropbox is fine for that, and everyone has become accustomed to how it works, so I felt like we didn’t need to move to a different provider. The only new thing here is that I’m going in and renaming files as they are uploaded to make it easier to find them later.

I moved all of communications over to Slack. The way we use Slack at work convinced me that this is the proper way to communicate efficiently. And this has worked out very well, we loose thread less often, however the new Slack free-tier is limiting us in terms of searchability, but we are getting by. And by going over to Slack we haven’t eliminated the problem of where to DM someone. I still get SMS, e-mails and Slack DMs.

And now comes the cool part: For all of the stuff on our notice boards, I made a website. On our notice boards we kept a list of every resident and owner of the building and a washing list, where to recycle etc. So I created a super simple website with Craft CMS with our craft-starter from work. I made the site to have support for announcing upcoming meetings, events, which apartment and dorm is washing this week (and the upcoming weeks), where to recycle and much more. I also made a nice overview of everyone in the building, owner or resident, this page is protected by a password, so that this information stays out of the public’s eyes.

Screenshot of the website I made.
The super simple website for the building I live in.

I made the website with a focus on being scaleable, so I’ve also created more pages with other details, such as:

  • Useful links
  • Dugnad (I dunno the English word for this)
  • Building expanses that everyone is required to pay
  • House rules

I’m planning on creating more pages as I figure out what more is useful to have on there.

And to fix the issue by having to reprint all of our documents to the notice boards, I created QR-codes with URLs for the most important webpages. So now we don’t have to reprint every time one of these documents/webpages get updated.

An added benefit of having most of our document creation process on the website makes it very convenient to announce new meetings, as I can just generate a PDF of that page/post and attach to the e-mail I send to everyone. Then they’ll have the static copy of the meeting-announcement with a link to the actual post in case it gets updated.

We’ve been using this for two weeks now and I’ve found it super helpful for my needs. I can even link to stuff on Dropbox whenever I’m referring to a document. It’s also super cheap, I bought a .no-domain with a web-hotel on Domeneshop for 350 NOK ($35) a year.

To summarize the new solution:

  • Document storage: Still Dropbox.
  • Communications: Slack (with the occasional SMS or e-mail for DMs).
  • Physical documents: QR-codes (with URLs) hanged around building.
  • Creation of documents: Via a website made with Craft CMS.