Digital clutter: Email

There are 2 kinds of people: 267 unread emails or 0 unread emails.

I’m positive I don’t have to say which one I’m in! I like to use my inbox as my to-do/follow up list. Currently, I have 4 emails in my personal box:

  1. Booking confirmation for a work trip I am currently on (holding onto it for the confirmation numbers for checking in)
  2. Email exchange from my insurance agent (I am waiting on a refund from them so I want to make sure I get it and will follow up with him if I don’t get it after 6 weeks)
  3. Scholastic book order through the kid’s school (I will delete it when I get the books)
  4. Evite to a birthday party (waiting for the husband and me to decide what our plans are that day since I am out of town earlier in the day)

That’s it. I should be able to delete 1, 3, and 4 within a week or two. Sure, some more may show up in the meantime, but I like to keep it pretty low so I’m not overwhelmed. I could print #1, put a reminder on my calendar to follow up on #2, assume that #3 is going to happen, and ignore #4 til I get the reminder notice. But I’ve found that this system works for me. It may not work for you.

I am also sure that over a thousand emails in your inbox is not working for you either. Here are some quick ways to get that down. First, delete any emails over a year old (or less time if you’re feeling especially brave today!).

Next, make some folders and sort if you need to keep anything. If you have emails from teachers, make a folder for each kid’s school. Some people like to put all their coupons into a single folder or multiple folders with one per store. Then you can pull up the folder that you need when you’re at the store. If you do a lot of traveling, keep all upcoming trips in one folder.

Third, unsubscribe! We talked about this a bit during our Week of Me. If there are any ones that you no longer need or never subscribed for, get rid of them. You don’t need to get any additional emails a week, especially if you’re the type that looks at each email when it dings. I don’t think I get a single promotional email any longer. I’ve managed to get out of every single one. I know you’re thinking, “But what about when I need a Walgreens photo promotional code?” Just Google it. Pretty much any store that I get stuff from (business cards from Vista Print, holiday cards from Tiny Prints, photos from CVS) has codes online that you can get when you need them.

Last, mark stuff as spam and delete it. If it’s something you don’t want to see, get rid of it. And ensure it doesn’t come back in the future.

Clearing the email clutter is a great way to stay organized for the future and make sure you don’t miss anything important in the future.

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Organizing Champaign-Urbana

Professional organizer in Champaign-Urbana, with a philosophy of reduce, arrange, maintain.

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