How to Spring Clean Your Email Inbox
Last week I wrote a post all about spring cleaning your social media, and a few tips to get you started. I was going to include clearing your inbox in the same post, but when I started writing about it, I realised that it was so long that it could be a post all on its own. (Sad, I know.)
Clearing your inbox can feel WONDERFUL. Depending on how many emails you have backed up in there it could take a while, but it’s worth it. So, if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the cluttered mess that is your email inbox, here are a few ways to get that mess sorted out for good.
How to Spring Clean Your Email Inbox
Delete Old & Irrelevant Emails
Start by going to the very last page in your inbox and delete all the emails that are crappy and not needed. This includes old e-receipts, newsletters, reminders, and anything else outdated. Keep going until your inbox only contains the relevant, important, and nostalgic stuff that you just can’t delete. Doing this leaves you with a clear picture of what is actually important and what you need to follow up with. Not only that, but I bet you’ll discover some nostalgic gems that you totally forgot about.
Pro Tip: It’s easier to go from the last page rather than the first because if you delete a load of emails from page 1, more from page 2 will keep coming back up to page 1. (If you see what I mean.) But if you go from the last page, there aren’t any behind you in the list so you can focus on one page at a time.
Even just deleting the old and irrelevant stuff will feel so much better, but if you want to step it up a level, create a few folders to sort the rest of the emails into. I have folders for receipts and purchases, house stuff, nostalgic stuff, and a few others. I have a different inbox for my work and another one for my blog, so everything is separate. But if you do everything from the same email address, consider splitting everything into work, blog, family, or whatever else you need to make sure everything has its own place.
Then comes the fun part: actually sorting all the emails into the folders. It shouldn’t take too long, and once it’s done, you can marvel at how clean and empty your inbox looks!
Automate the Process With Filters
That’s pretty much where I stopped in sorting out my inbox, and when new emails come in, I sort them into the right folders manually once I’ve read them. However, if you want to go a step further and fully automate the process so you don’t have the possibility of your inbox falling back into a god-forsaken mess, you can automate the whole sorting process with quick and easy filters. I’m not sure about other email providers, but I use Gmail, and it’s SUPER easy to add new filters so that everything automatically falls into the right folders.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go into your Gmail settings. (Click the cog icon on the right-hand side and click Settings.)
- Go to ‘Filters and blocked addresses’.
- Click on ‘Create a new filter’.
- Fill in one of the relevant boxes (e.g. if you want your water bill to go into a folder for house stuff, enter the email address from the company that sends your water bills).
- Click ‘Create filter with this search’.
- Select where you want the email to go. Apply a label to it if you want it go to into a folder. You can also choose to auto-delete certain emails, which is great for ones that don’t automatically go into your spam folder, or newsletters you’re sick of seeing but can’t be bothered to unsubscribe to. (Although I would recommend unsubscribing.)
- Make sure you select ‘Also apply filter to matching conversations’ at the bottom. This will make sure any emails already in your inbox will be sorted into this folder too.
- Repeat the process for any emails you want to sort. If you forget a few, you can always go back in and add new filters every time you get a new email in your inbox that hasn’t been filtered.
Get Rid of Old Subscriptions
As I mentioned above, it’s always better to unsubscribe to emails you’re not interested in anymore instead of just deleting them. OK, you could set up a filter for all the emails you don’t want to see so they go straight into the bin, but that’s so much more effort when you can literally just click the little unsubscribe link in an email and never get them again.
It’s also useful to the person sending you the emails in the first place, especially if it’s another blogger or small business rather than a big company. Most email marketing platforms show the user stats for each email they send, including how many people opened the email, engaged with it, or ignored it and deleted it without even opening it. It can be pretty disheartening to see people sending their emails straight to the bin, so help them out by unsubscribing. OK, it’ll be one less subscriber for them, but it’ll be one less person reflecting negatively in their stats. Us bloggers have got to work together!
A great way to manage your email subscriptions is with Unroll.me. It’s a free site that lets you bulk unsubscribe from a ton of newsletters and other emails that you don’t want, and often don’t even realise you’re subscribed to. I tend to do this every couple of months. The first time I did it, I removed an insane number of subscriptions to things I liked when I was a teenager, and I have absolutely no interest in now. It’s a good way to get rid of the rubbish, and it almost feels like you’re cleansing your inbox. Like a detox… but for your inbox.
Let me know if this helped you, or comment below with any other tips that I might have missed!