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.


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