Household Slack


Hi all,

Been a while since my last post. It has also been a while since I did something interesting that was worhty of a blogpost. Bought a house last year, brought along with it a lot of stuff that needed to be done, a lot of to-do lists, a lot of sharing ideas for wall colors back and forth between me and my significant other. We used to use Facebook Messenger to talk to each other when not physically in the same room, but we don't like Mark anymore. So then we switched to Hangouts, but we don't like Google either anymore. So we switched to Slack, since I'm an IT guy, and IT guys love to use slack.

So anyway, in this blogpost I'll be talking about how we (the missus and me) use Slack to manage our daily lives.

General Usage

90% of all activity happens in a Direct Messages conversation between me and the missus. We chate back and forth, share links, post pictures. The usual stuff.

The other 10% is where it gets interesting. Has this ever happened to you: The missus asks you to clean the litterbox of the cats when you get home, and ofcourse, since you're a man, you forget to do this. And all hell breaks loose. Well, it won't happen to you anymore!!! Just type the following in any channel or conversation:

/remember Litterbox cleanup @5PM tonight

And the missus doesn't even have to tell me to clean the litterbox, she just does this now:

/remember @Vuokko Litterbox cleanup @5PM tonight

Very handy!

Channels

But we all use Slack, and we all know that the real power of Slack lies in the channels. We have quite a few:

  • #cats: Where we post pictures of our two little sweet cats (fyi: they're not little, one of them weighs almost 8kgs)
  • #food: Every Friday we go grocery shopping for the entire week that follows. So every week we pick a bunch of recipes, add them to the #food channel, go grocery shopping with our list (there's a different channel for that) and then every evening, no matter who gets the honor of cooking that night can just click open Slack, and get cooking. Conversations like this are in the past: “Are we gonna make Jeroen Meus spaghetti or were we planning on making Piet Huysentruyts spaghetti?”
  • #general: Every team needs a general room, we actually almost never use it… Only our Roomba and other smart things post notifications here
  • #ikea-ideas: Remember that I told you we just bought a house? Well, every so often we visit Ikea to get some boxes to organize stuff or so, and we have a little shopping list for Ikea and some interior design ideas in this channel.
  • #plex: I run a plex server, and whenever my automation adds new content, it's posted here. This way the missus is notified when there's a new Grey's Anatomy available.
  • #shoppinglist: A thread for every store we frequently visit.
  • #todo: A list of things that need to be done in the house. Not timebound, stuff like: “Fix this thing”, “Clean up that”
  • #links: A list of links, to the plex server, to the home automation dashboard, to stuff on the internet
  • #debug: More verbose messages from my home automation, plex, other things

Cleanup

Ofcourse we all know that Slack isn't free, or well, it's not free when you have more than 10.000 messages. So we need to clean up after ourselves. There's an excellent project here that does just that: https://github.com/sgratzl/slack-cleaner. Just let it run on a cron every day, and every day messages in debug or plex are removed that are older than a few days, private messages between the missus and me have a 2 month retention period setup and messages in the other channels are manually deleted when they're not relevant anymore.

Retired Channels

The beauty of Slack is that you invent channels when needed, and can remove them once they become irrelevant. For instance, a while ago we were planning a trip to Centerparks. So we created a channel with a thread for all the stuff we had to bring along, and once the trip was over, the channel was removed.