Decluttering Email???

The email decluttering project has really gotten me down.  I received 85 emails yesterday.  How can I keep up?  I’m back up to 5460 unread emails in my Inbox.  Maybe it will help if I categorize them and then be even more ruthless about unsubscribing to some things.   Here’s my list of categories (1 hour and 17 opened webpages later):

About blogging, writing, or from bloggers I follow:  7
Career stuff like LinkedIn, USAJOBs notices, Slideshare, etc.: 10
Store coupons, incl stuff like notices from Amazon about books on sale: 17 YIKES
Interesting articles from sites I subscribe to, ranging from to 10
Notices from foundations (not asking for money, just updates and the like): 8
Academic listservs or other notifications: 8
Receipts for purchases, bank statements, credit card balance notices, etc.: 10
Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Cute Overload: 3
Foundations or sites asking for $ or action: 4
Travel: 3
Cartoons: 1 (, my favorite, please go and look at them!)
Knitting/Crafts/Making music: 2
Recipes or food: 3
Ancestry or genealogy: 1
Surveys: 1
ecard suggestions: 1
About Moldova (where I did my fieldwork): 2
From me (at work) to me (at home): 1

OK, this list makes 92 emails, but somewhere along the way, I started counting ones that had come in overnight and I’m not going to go back and do it again.  I did unsubscribe to about 5 of them that I really don’t read anymore, do anything with, don’t shop at anymore, etc.  It’s a bit embarrassing that the most emails come in the category of shopping, but I was surprised about the number about career improvement.  As with anything, I seem to have built a bit of time in my day to read or think about career improvement, rather than just improving my career!  I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with that or similar time-management dilemmas.


10 thoughts on “Decluttering Email???

  1. OK…tfoz,
    I have been thinking about this, and I have an idea of how I would do this. When we were talking about feeling out of control and things like that on my blog…and I started thinking how much clutter plays into that, at least for me. I always feel so much better without clutter. Now this may have nothing to do at all with your decluttering, as most people have clutter. But I know that I have areas that are totally clutter free, (though few with my kids older now, and throwing things everywhere and me unable to pick them up constantly, which irritates me further, and also areas of clutter which I avoid)… When I see the clutter pile up is usually when I know I am feeling more out of control in an area of my life. That is just me though.

    As far as email..that can be a killer I think for most people. But it can also be an area that we like to control. Mine is my closet and clothes. I finally did “the purge”. I threw out at least a 70 to 100 articles of clothing, cleaned out my entire bedroom. I had to pay someone to help me due to moving things and such like that, but I also needed someone to say…”girl, you are never going to wear that, have you worn that since 1983?”..LOL!

    I also cleaned out my email. it took me like two weeks. Every day I would unsubscribe to things. Now mine was a lot less than yours but I check mine every day. However I would get like 100 to 200 per day. I started noticing emails that I had no idea why I was even getting. Sooo…

    I would maybe try something like this:
    You have your list of what you want to keep.
    I notice you said you had folders for those things. I love the email folders.

    I would move all of those into your folders with those folders clearly listed with those named on the folders.
    Before I move the things into those folders, I would go thru the folder you already have for those things. Clear out what you may not want or need in them. Orrrrr…make a folder named “Recipes 2” and put the newer ones in that folder.
    This way you can know your newer mail that you HAVE READ AND ARE WANTING is in the newer folder.
    Still go thru the older folders.
    Make folders for every area you want to keep.

    Now…here is the next thing — the 5000+ emails. Go back a MAXIMUM of one month and SEND THE REST TO TRASH. yep.. I do not think you will miss them anddddd..they will stay in trash. You can still go there after you have gone thru and organized your recent mail. Have appropriate folders. And unsubscribe to what is coming in. It will be much more manageable for you this way. You will not panic knowing they are there. ( you could make a MISC file for the 5000+ but you are trying to purge. I only missed one blue sweater out of the three purges I have done over THREE YEARS OF closet purges..:)

    If that system does not work for you, it may give you an idea of some sort of system that may be more manageable for you. Because it is so nice to be able to actually enjoy your email. I know it is for me now. And the occasional straggler gets unsubscribed to or a folder is made now with no effort. 🙂

    Yes, this was long, but I am wordy. 🙂 I do wish you luck either way. -CC

    1. WOW, these are great ideas, thanks so much!!! I think I would have to make a MISC folder for the 5000 emails (even though you’re probably right, I wouldn’t miss most of them, but it’s the few gems that I might freak out about later), and you are ABSOLUTELY right–when clutter builds up at home, then I feel less in control in the rest of my life. Sometimes I think I don’t even “see” it; maybe I am preoccupied with other things, and then I look and think, “oh my gosh, how did that big tumbling-over pile happen?”

      I have ALMOST gotten a handle on the closet. I intend to put a bunch of things up for sale on ebay this year. I went through an ebay binge a few years ago and got several things that don’t fit, but would be perfectly fine for others.

      OH, and we keep laughing about how I wear things (just around the apt) that are 20+ years old. I think I will make a post about “my oldest t-shirts”. That will be fun. Then I should get rid of them. : )

      You are very inspiring and have such a great outlook on life!!!

      1. I am glad it helped to give you some ideas…
        Def keep some old stuff though, hahaa, at least your absolute fave things from 20 years ago…
        Those are classic memories. I have some. I would LOVE to see a post on those. T-shirts are the best!

      1. WOOT!!!! haha..I do not know about genius but I am so happy for does feel great doesn’t it.
        Believe it or not I finally figured out my bookmarks had a bookmark manager where you can make folders!! LOL!!
        Everyone was sooo mad at me bc I had over like 300 and so weird bc I took alll day yesterday and put them in folders…Alex showed me how to do it and was like there ya go…hahahaha
        Amazing how many you start deleting after that process…wowww.. but I too feel awesome without having to scroll thru them…knowing they are in folders…

        Yay you!!! Go 2015!!! The unclutterd more relaxed tfoz… I am smiling 🙂 xx -CC

  2. I have been working on decluttering my email recently as well… Still a work in progress, but I really found that stopping the influx of junk was the first step for me. Mailing lists, flyers, coupons… I don’t want any of them.

    1. Also, I found that I have some apps on my phone for stores I visit often, so I could get rid of the emails I also get from those stores with their coupons. Too much redundancy!

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