How to Declutter Your Email Inbox
The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
Here on OrgJunkie, we talk all of the time about decluttering our homes- our dressers, our drawers, our closets, our cabinets…. but electronic clutter is just as important to eliminate! Sure, it doesn’t take long to delete those few extra emails every time you check in your inbox…. but you know when you have those days when you only check email once and your inbox has 215 new messages, and in your haste to delete all of the “junk” you accidentally trash the notice about your child’s school yearbook payment being due? And then your child ends up being the only one not to get a yearbook in June? (Not that this has ever happened to anyone I know…. ahem).
1. Ruthlessly Unsubscribe!
Declare February your dedicated unsubscribe month! Every single time you check your email- before you delete a store sales notice, an industry newsletter, a facebook group update notification- ask yourself if you really need to be receiving this information in email form. Chances are- if you are quickly deleting it- you don’t. I know that I will enter my email address on a retailer’s website all of the time, so that I can get a discount code or print a coupon to use that day. But that doesn’t mean I need to stay in a committed relationship with their daily email list! And certainly- the less sales notices I receive, the less tempted I am to click through and check out what’s on sale… and spend money that I don’t need to be spending!
Every email newsletter should have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom. Yes, sometimes it can be hard to find- but it should be there. For emails generated as notifications (such as from Facebook, Yahoo groups, etc), you will likely need to log into your account and change your account preferences to stop receiving those emails.
2. Read and File
Set up a system of email folders- so that when you read an email- you can immediately file it into the proper folder for reference later if needed. The goal here is to keep your main inbox empty of all emails except ones that you have not yet read, or that you need to reply to today.
I know that some folks like to have certain emails directed immediately to a specific folder upon receipt (such as emails from the soccer coach funneling right into the “Soccer” folder)- and never have it pass through their main inbox. Personally, I am not a fan of that practice- I like to see everything once, read (or scan) it and then either delete it or file it. I don’t want to have to check several folders for unread messages each day- I worry that somtehing important will slip by me.
3. Once a Day- Clean Up the Inbox Until It’s Empty
I try to do this first thing each morning and then again at the at end of the day. I start at the top and either respond, delete, or file each and every email until my inbox is empty. If an email creates a longer-term task for me- I’ll add the task to my weekly to-do list and then file the email in the proper folder until I am ready to tackle that task. I don’t need that email staring at me from the inbox all week….. because I will be tempted to open it and spend time working on that issue- when I have other priorities to meet!
So are you ready to declutter your email inbox? And can I get any testimonials from fellow empty-inboxers?
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!
Have a great weekend!