Field Guide: Home and Families

Let's be real. Work doesn't stop when we log off — we still have people to care for, birthdays to plan, a house to buy, and so on. Basecamp can help you manage and organize these projects ✨

In this guide, we'll share a few examples on how folks can use Basecamp for their personal projects.

Jump to:


Projects are at the heart of Basecamp. Have a birthday coming up in your family? Caring for your father-in-law? Buying a new house? Create a project for each of these and invite all those involved!

Basecamp is meant to be simple, flexible, and personal. Every person with access to a Basecamp account can customize their own Home screens because what works for you, may not necessarily work for others.

Here's an example of a Home screen that uses Project stacks:

Screenshot of a Home screen with three project stacks named

Nice and tidy, right? Let's take a peek to see what's inside these stacks:

Screenshot of the

Screenshot of the

Screenshot of the

And, here's a Home screen that uses just color coded projects:

Screenshot of a Home Screen with seven project cards — one blue card named “Dad’s care,” two yellow cards named “Family scheduling” and “Kid stuff,” two green cards named “New House!” And “Selling house,” and two pink cards named “Teddy’s 40th party” and “Spring break vacation”

💡TIP: Want to quickly jump between projects or people? Use the Jump menu!

Project tools

Each project in Basecamp has a variety of tools to choose from: Message Board, To-dos, Chat, Card Tables, Schedule, Docs & Files, Doors, Email Forwards, and Automatic Check-ins — mix and match based on your project's needs. You'll find that you may not use all of them and you may use more than one of them.

Here's the tool setup for a house buying project:

Screenshot of the “New House!” Project page with the following tool setup: Message Board, To-dos, Chat, Docs & Files, Schedule, Email Forwards, and two Doors — one named “MLS” and the other “Mortgage portal”

Most of the tools used here are pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few used here that deserve a bit more attention.

The Schedule tool is perfect place for you to see any dated to-dos and the realtor to pop in upcoming showings. While we didn't do it in this project, you can always add in a second Schedule tool to keep the showings/events and dated tasks separate. And, everyone involved can sync the project's calendar to their external calendars:

Screenshot of the project’s Schedule tool with a spotlight on the “Add this schedule to HEY Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal…” link

Any emails related to the buying process like ones from the mortgage lender can be forwarded right into the project's Email forwards tool. The buyers can even reply directly to the lender's email here too:

Screenshot of the project’s Email Forwards tool with spotlight on the ‘Reply” section with the following message outlined in a red rectangle: “Anything you write below will be emailed directly to People with access to this project can see your reply too. Add a private comment instead…”

Or, just leave a comment for other project members:

Screenshot of the project’s Email Forwards tool with spotlight on the ‘Reply” section with the following message outlined in a red rectangle: “NOTE: only people with access to this project will see what you write below. The original sender ( won’t see your comment. Reply to instead…”

Lastly, Doors are fantastic for projects that use other services like the buyers' MLS account and mortgage portal:

💡TIP: Notice that you' re using the the same tool setup over and over again? Make a template!

Inviting people

Sure, there will projects you'll create for just yourself, but most of the time, you'll be working with others. When inviting people to your account, you'll choose between three user types: Employee, Outside collaborators, and Clients.

Screenshot of the “Who are you inviting page?” with the following options: Someone who works at The Littles, An outside collaborator, partner, contractor, guest, etc., and A client you’re doing work for

The people you add as an Employee will be folks you trust in your account. They'll be able create new projects, add new people to projects, and opportunity to have administrators or owner powers.

Those people added as Outside collaborators will be folks that you trust in the projects you've added them to. They can see everything posted in projects, but they cannot create new projects, add others to projects, or the opportunity to have administrators or owner powers.

In the New House! project, the buyer's brother was added so he can stay updated and chime in if needed (he'll be the appraiser).

Here's what he sees when logging into the account:

Screenshot of a Home Screen with two project cards named

And when he opens a project, he'll have the same view as the people added as Employees, except there won't be a "Setup people" button to add new folks to the project:

Screenshot of the “New House!” Project page with the following tool setup: Message Board, To-dos, Chat, Docs & Files, Schedule, Email Forwards, and two Doors — one named “MLS” and the other “Mortgage portal”

And finally, anyone added as a Client will have the most restrictions — they'll only be able to add, edit, and view the items made visible to Clients.

In the New House! project, the realtor was added as Client. This way, the buyers can keep items private from their realtor like mortgage documents.

Here's what the realtor, a Client, sees when they log in:

Screenshot of a Home Screen with one project card named

And, when they open the only project they have access to:

Screenshot of the “New House!” Project page with the following tool setup: Message Board, To-dos, Chat, Docs & Files, Schedule, and Email Forwards

If either an Outside collaborator or Client tries to "Make a new project," they'll see a message like this:

Screenshot of a pop-up window that reads “Only people who work at The Littles can make new projects, or add/remove people on projects. Reach out to this administrator if you need help: Rob Little”

💡TIP: You can change user types from Outside collaborator to Client or vice versa at anytime.

My Stuff

The "My Stuff" section is dedicated to everything that pertains to you specifically: assignments, bookmarks, schedule, drafts, recent activity, and a report of any boosts you've received:

Screenshot of the “My stuff” showing the following options: “My Assignments”, “My Bookmarks”, “My Schedule”, “My Drafts”, “My Recent Activity”, “My Boosts”, and “Recently Visited”

Let's head over to the "My assignments" page to take a closer look 👀

There will be three tabs here — one for tasks assigned to you, your tasks with due dates, and stuff you've assigned to others:

Screenshot of the “My Assignments” page with several lists of uncompleted to-dos

💡TIP: Prioritize your assignments by shifting some to the "Up Next" section or to move it back down if it's no longer a priority (just hover directly to the left of the assignment and click the arrow that appears).

Communicating with others

With any collaboration, communication is key. Stay in touch by using:

  • Pings: private conversations with other people on your account. You can create 1:1 or group Pings to chat privately and in real-time.
  • Chats: A group chat for all project members where you can discuss things related to the project.
  • @Mentions: Use this to draw someone's attention to a specific discussion or to-do anywhere in your project.

💡TIP: Download the Basecamp app, so you can bother your brother more from any device 😉

Staying updated

Here are the different ways you can keep up-to-date with everything happening in your projects:

  • Notifications: Customize your preferences so you're alerted about the things you care about, like new photos or trip plans. Add the items you don't want to forget about to, you guessed it, Don't forget.
  • Activity: Glance at the latest activity in each of your projects, and catch up on what you missed using the built-in reports.
  • Automatic Check-ins: a project tool, which you can use with your family for fun recurring questions like "What made you smile today?" or "What's one thing you learned today?"

That's it for now! We hope this guide helps you accomplish all those big and small projects life throws at you. And if you need any assistance with Basecamp, you can check our our learning centerhelp pages, or send us a note at Support. Happy Basecamping!