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.

Decluttering Email

In a post last week, I wrote about making this year, “THE YEAR OF DECLUTTERING” (read in booming voice).  I forgot to mention that the commitment also includes emails.  About one and a half months ago, I had 10,000 unread emails in my inbox.  Yep, you read that right, 10,000.  Before Christmas, I got it down to about 8,000, but then with all those “buy this awesome thing” and “Christmas sale” emails, and then with the New Year’s “donate money to us before it’s too late” emails, the number had crept back up by several hundred.  Well, over the past few weeks, I’ve got it down to 5,210, as of this morning!!!

The so-called backlog happened because I used to leave emails unread when there was something important in them, when I had to go back and do something with them, but then it got out of hand.  I think I know how hoarding can creep up on you, because the emails certainly did.  All of a sudden, it became overwhelming to deal with them and I would just ignore them for a while, which only made it worse.

I used to be able to set my phone so it only showed 50 emails at a time, so on any given day, I only had 50 unread emails showing there.  That made for some sanity.  But with a new phone about a year ago, they ALL show up, and I got shamed at work when someone noticed the 9,000+ icon on the email app on my phone last November.  Yikes.

ANYWAY, I got the number down by being ruthless in getting rid of things that are sentimental, like Cute Overload emails and other things that I will probably never read or are stored on their own site that I can visit anytime.  I also put a bunch of items in mail folders, which eliminates the unread email problem yet gives me a sense of security that the emails are there if I really need them. You might say that’s cheating, but it is still a kind of achievement, I say.  Also, things that remained unread from a couple of years ago now are no longer important, so they are easy to get rid of!  HA!  : )

In addition, I unsubscribed from a bunch of lists, but that’s also hard to do.  I have a lot of varied interests, from crafts/knitting/crocheting to wilderness conservation to genealogy to current events to research topics for work, etc.  I’m afraid if I unsubscribe from a list, I’ll get out of touch, or even forget to check on events in that “world,” yet I don’t want to give any of them up.  Does anyone else have this problem?  In my ideal world, I would have a job that links all of my loves, but I don’t think such a job exists unless I can do research on wolves while fighting for wolf rights while also knitting wolfie sweaters to sell on the internet in a library where I can study genealogy when I get over-wolfed.  (Just for the record, I’m not only interested in wolves.  I could just as easily knit sequoia treeish trunk warmers for baby elephants.  I’m easy to please like that.)

Hope you have a great day and do some decluttering yourself!

2015: The Year of Decluttering

So, when I ventured to tell Elrond Hubby that I wanted to make 2015 THE YEAR OF DECLUTTERING, he said, “What?”

I repeated my goal.

“I heard you,” he said, “I just couldn’t believe my ears!”

Yes, I have a clutter problem.  Or rather, WE have a clutter problem.  Elrond Hubby moved to where I live last spring.  For the previous 5 years, he was in the city where we used to live together, still going to school, while I had moved to this new place working at my current job.  In 5 years, we accumulated a lot of individual household stuff that we wouldn’t have needed if we’d lived together, like pots and pans, furniture, and just all the little stuff that makes a home a home.  So, there’s all that.  And our apt. here is smaller than the one where he was living, so we are feeling the squeeze of too much stuff!

The clutter issue was compounded in 2013 when my dad passed away just a couple of months after my brother passed away, and I got all my dad’s stuff (no sibling to split stuff with, you see).  My dad had A LOT of stuff.  He had a clutter problem, too.  Then, you know, it’s hard to get rid of stuff right after someone passes away.

In the country where Elrond Hubby grew up, friends and family members come into a loved one’s house after his or her spouse has passed away and do some of that first round of cleaning for them.  When his dad passed away, his mom’s sisters came in and took all his dad’s clothing out of the house.  Hearing that made me gasp, but I can kind of understand that doing so can help a person stop dwelling on the death of a loved one and maybe remember them in a different way.  We have been dealing with my dad’s stuff little by little, but some of the more mundane things are triggering less emotion in me now, so I’m ready to let them go.

SO, 2015 has become the YEAR OF DECLUTTERING.  I already started a bit in December when I bought a scanner that scans front and backs of pages and holds 25 pages at a time.  I’ve already scanned about 86 different documents.  We shred most things, but our shredder is about broken, so I need to get a new one!

We also have about 700 DVDs from my dad’s place, a room full of books that is bursting at the seams (grad school, plus I worked in a bookstore for several years), folders with class notes, that endless supply of piles of paper that seem important to keep at the time, and a bunch of clothes that we need to sell, consign, or just donate.  Oh, and yarn.  I go through periods of buying a lot of yarn and other craft/knitting/crocheting stuff.  So now I’m making an afghan.  Pics will be posted when I’m done!

I think clutter helps me stay invisible.  I hide behind stuff instead of dealing with it, accumulate stuff because it makes me feel good.  This year, I’m trying to stop that!

The FlyLady has a great site for helping people take control of their homes.  I would like to follow her daily plans for ridding oneself of CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome), but mostly I don’t.

So, I plan to post weekly how I’m doing and see if anyone wants any of our stuff.  We will probably dispense with stuff locally, but if we can’t, or feel it’s more valuable to an audience online, then we might try to sell it on eBay or use PayPal for an exchange or something like that.

Movies gone through this week:  about 150.  94 will go.  56 will stay.  There are some gems in the ones we will keep, such as George Lucas’ THX 1138, and the extended DVD set of Once Upon a Time in the West, and the 70s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

I found this app to help manage the list:  Libib.  I don’t know all its features yet, but it seems useful so far.

Here’s our site on Libib, if you want to see the movies we are getting rid of.  If you feel strongly about wanting any of them (most are pretty generic), please let me know!

Here’s a summary of January so far:

# Docs scanned:  86

# Movies divided into “keep” and “go”:  150

# Trash bags of paper recycled:  0 (working on filling up one bag)

# Skeins of yarn used:  2

Other stuff given away or recycled:  1 box magazines!

No progress on the things below, but I’m working on them!

# Books read & passed on:  0

# Knitting/crocheting projects completed: 0

# Clothes consigned: 0

# Clothes donated: 0

Don’t be invisible!  Big hugs to all!