How to Declutter Your Inbox, part 2

Yesterday I shared my Fast & Furious method of cleaning out an overflowing inbox. Today I’ll share my more thorough method.

Deep Cleaning – This is actually my favorite way to declutter my inbox. It does take more time, but it’s far more thorough and it has an added bonus. I actually UNSUBSCRIBE from the numerous lists that I don’t care to be on any longer. This will make for a much lighter inbox going forward. Even if I use the first method because my old, not used much, email account has maybe 9,000+ messages (just a hypothetical number, of course!), I will still use part of the Deep Cleaning method to get myself off of those ubiquitous lists.

For this method, I look at the sender of the first message in my list. Let’s say it’s Unicorns R Us (a fictitious company, as far as I know). Maybe I signed up with them earlier this year because my friend’s daughter was having a unicorn-themed birthday and I could get a 50% off coupon for my first (and only, it turns out) order. But somehow, I never got around to UNsubscribing. So I type in “Unicorns R Us” in the search bar and it brings up 37 messages (they send more than one a week!) which I have conveniently skipped over every time I peruse my email.

I click on the first one, scroll to the bottom to locate the unsubscribe option, and click it. If there are further steps in the process, I jump through those hoops, and boom – I’m unsubscribed. I click the back arrow and it returns me to my list of 37 messages. I select them all and delete them. Done and done.

Now I go to the next message. It’s from Goulet Pens (who I love, btw). I search out all of their messages and there are about a dozen. I don’t want to unsubscribe, because I love them after all. I scan the messages and notice that one of them is for an order I placed a couple of days ago. So I still select all the messages, but then I uncheck that particular message so that I can keep it until my order arrives. But I go ahead and delete the rest.

I continue this process through my entire inbox. Yes, it’s a bit time-consuming. Sometimes I have to do it in a couple of chunks. However, I have knocked out THOUSANDS of email messages in a few hours without just blindly deleting everything.

Once I’ve gotten everything cleaned up from the above process, I deal with the few messages that are still left. Sometimes they just need to be filed (according to my own personal system), archived, responded to, or read and deleted. Usually I’ll find that I have fewer than 4-5 messages, if not ZERO. This is such a wonderful feeling, plus it’s much easier to maintain because I’ve gotten off of so many lists.

I’m sure there are other methods out there, but this is what has worked for me for a number of years now. Let me know if you try it, what you think, or if you have a different, yet fantastic method of decluttering your inbox.


How to Declutter Your Inbox, part 1

inboxesI don’t know about the rest of the world, but I have 4 email accounts (actually, there are 1-2 more, but we’re not discussing them today) and sometimes my inboxes get a wee bit out of control. Through the years, I’ve come up with a couple different ways of dealing with the incredibly overflowing inboxes.

Fast & Furious – this method is super fast and works really well for an email account that you don’t use often or gets a lot of junk that you don’t really care much about and you just don’t have the time to sit down and deal with it all.

I chose a particular date in the past, usually about one month back. If I were doing it today (November 19), I would probably go with September 30 (I tend to go in whole month increments. Just because). I would select ALL the messages from September 30th back in time and move them to a new folder I create called “to delete 093018” or something equally clever.

Now that leaves me with one month of messages in my inbox. While it can be a lot, it’s pretty easy to zip through, selecting all that don’t matter, and deleting them. Take a quick peek at the rest, file or delete as needed, and voila! Clean Inbox!!

Oh, that cleverly-named folder you created? In another month (or two or three; whenever you think of it). Just delete the whole thing. You might be wondering why you even created it in the first place. While I don’t like to hang to things I might need, there is a chance that I could need/want something from those previous months since it’s so piled up. So it’s kind of a security blanket, if you will, so that I’ll still be able to find it. And if I never needed anything? Oh well. No harm with holding onto those messages for a couple of extra months. They’d have probably still been floating around in my inbox anyway. Of course, if you like living on the edge and don’t need no stinkin’ safety net, just delete them in the first place and don’t bother with said cleverly-named folder.

Because the second method requires a bit more time, I’m saving that one for tomorrow. What do you do when your inbox is out of control? I’m curious to know how other people handle it.