How to Tame Your Email Clutter and Get Inbox Zero

As I’m writing this post I have 5 different email address (I am not even sure why) and a combined email count of over 6 000+ emails…

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You are either totally shocked or maybe your just like “Well, not to burst your bubble, but I have over 10 000 emails…” Either way today we are here to tame that email clutter once and for all.

So let’s get into it…
// TAME YOUR EMAIL CLUTTER //

STEP 1 – Write down all your email address and their passwords.
If you are like me you probably have more than one email address.

STEP 2 – Start by logging into your least used email address.
Before you just start deleting stuff, ask yourself “Do I really need this email address? And what am I using it for?” If you have a valid answer for both of those questions, you can keep it (OPTION 1). If not, well then I suggest you get rid of it (OPTION 2) (remember we are on a decluttering mission).

 If you chose:

OPTION 1 – Follow Step 3 to 9 /// OPTION 2 – Follow Steps 10 to 12

/ OPTION 1 – KEEP YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS /

STEP 3 – Let’s start with unsubscribing.
There are many useful websites out there to help you unsubscribe from certain newsletters, but the best advice I can give you is to unsubscribe manually. I know this sound CRAZY, but sometimes relying on other systems to do these things for you is not worth it (or maybe I am just old fashioned).

MANUAL – A quick and easy way to unsubscribe from all those unwanted emails, is to go to your search bar in your email account, type the word UNSUBSCRIBE and voila, all the newsletters from all your current subscriptions will appear. Start unsubscribing one-by-one.

AUTOMATIC – Alternatively, if you’re not old-school and don’t have a lot of time, you can always register with Un.roll Me {ADD LINK}, which is a site that detects all your subscriptions and helps you to unsubscribe quickly and efficiently.

It’s up to you to decide which method is better.

STEP 4 – Delete all unwanted emails from your inbox.
Most of the time you don’t want to just delete all your emails at once, so what I usually do is start at the top open an email, copy the email address in the search bar and then it will automatically search all the emails of that specific sender. Then you can just bulk delete all the emails from that source.

Otherwise, if you have the time and patience, you can go through them one-by-one, but to be honest, that would take AGES, especially if you have over 6000 emails. Also don’t be sentimental, most information you will be able to find on the internet again. In this case, Google is your friend…

STEP 5 – Clear out your spam, drafts, trash and sent mail.
Go to your spam folder, quickly check if there is any mail that doesn’t belong there, move it to your inbox and delete the rest. Do the same with your drafts and any other folders that needs some TLC.

STEP 6 – Organize those folders.
If you don’t have any folders, now is a good time setting them up, otherwise go through all the folders you have already created and organize them in an orderly fashion. Create a system that you know will work for you.

STEP 7 – Get your inbox to 0 – read, reply, and file.
Yes, this is possible. With your newly created or updated folder system, you can now easily drag and drop or move specific emails to their rightful place. This will not only keep you sane, it will also help you to find the information you are looking for much quicker. Thus saving you time.

Also, if possible, send out quick replies to those emails that have been sitting in your inbox for a while. Just go ahead and do it, you will feel relieved.

STEP 8 – Repeat steps 3 to 7, for each of your email addresses.
If you have more than one email address, go through the process again. This might take some time, but it totally worth it in the long run.

STEP 9 – Yay, you made it, now go to STEP 13.
Step 13 will provide you with a few strategies to keep your email clean and uncluttered.

——————————————————

/ OPTION 2 – DELETE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS /

{PROCEED WITH CAUTION} 

STEP 10 – Make sure your email account is not linked to any important services or profiles.
This is very important because once you have deleted an email address, you won’t be able to use the services that were linked to that email address or receive any mail. IMPORTANT – make 100% sure you won’t need this email address in the future and that it’s not linked to any important information or profiles.

I tried to find a service that can check this kind of things but I couldn’t really find a suitable one, so I will keep you updated if I find something. Rather be safe than sorry, if you are unsure if you will need the email in the future, DON’T DELETE IT! And just follow step 4 to 8.

STEP 11 – Go through all the emails on the account.
Check in every nook and cranny to find all the emails in your account, then go through each one to check if there is any important information lurking in those emails. Send all the emails to one of your most used accounts and delete the rest.

STEP 12 – Permanently delete the email address.
Poke around in your email subscribers settings and then delete the email address permanently. Voila, you now have one less inbox to worry about.

———————————————————-

STEP 13 – Maintain your newly organized email.

First of all, WELL DONE! You have now successfully minimized your email clutter. Secondly, we now need to maintain all our hard work and this might be the hardest part.

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Few tips to help you maintain your email and keep it from running wild, again:

  1. Unsubscribe regularly. I usually find myself unsubscribing from 20 newsletters, but then in the meantime, I have subscribed to 20 others. It is very important to unsubscribe regularly from newsletters or any other unwanted promotional emails. You choose what must stay and what must go.
  2. Clear out your spam, drafts and trash folders regularly. Check these additional folders at least once a week and clear out all the clutter. Remember that all your deleted emails go directly to your trash folder, so in order to delete these emails permanently, empty out the trash folder, regularly.
     
  1. Arrange your emails by date, rather than sender or subject. This one is a no-brainer. To keep you on top of your game at all time and not miss an important email, set your emails to display by date and not by the sender or the subject. Mails can get lost this way, especially if you receive lots of it. 
  1. Check newsletter and social media settings. It is sometimes possible to adjust the frequency of emails that are sent to you by a specific company or social media network. If you receive an email every time someone posts something on Facebook, you would never be able to maintain a clean and uncluttered inbox, rather opt for a daily update or even weekly update on some of your favorite sites. Go check your settings now. 
  1. Use your folders. You created folders for a reason, so use them. If you feel that they are not working right, create a system that works for you, but keeping everything in your inbox is not the answer. 
  1. Explore your email provider’s settings. Just like any other program, you always have options to create a more user-friendly experience for yourself. Google some tips which are specific to your email provider to make things more streamlined.

That is it, hopefully, now your inboxes are sorted and you have the right tools to maintain it efficiently.

HOW-TO-ORGANIZE-YOUR-EMAIL-INBOX-SIMPLY-ORGANIZE-LIFE(1)

I would love to hear from you – let me know if you are enjoying this challenge and if you found it to be helpful? Feel free to leave your comments below.

I’m a 20-something city girl, with a passion for helping people to organize their lives. I am totally crazy about my husband, chocolates, cats and coffee. I love writing about anything that can simplify your life, so that you can enjoy the important stuff like family.

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