My Quickest ‘Quick-Tip’ to DeClutter Your Inbox

posted by Andrea | 04/26/2016
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email quick tip

Although I rarely do massive amounts of deep cleaning at any point in the year (I try to spread it out so I’m not overwhelmed), I do find that almost every April, I get fed up with ALL paper clutter (photos, files, piles, books, magazines, emails, etc.)

It doesn’t matter if it’s physical paperwork sitting in my filing cabinet or digital paperwork in the form of Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, or even emails — I’m on a mission to purge, purge, purge!

Part of my anti-paper-clutter mission is because we usually file our taxes in February, get the tax return in March, and by April, I’m just ready to be DONE with any extra paperwork.

This year, I’ve been especially ruthless with email clutter.

I realized that I was spending more and more and more time checking, reading, filing, and responding to emails, and I wanted (and needed) a change. I didn’t want to open my inbox and have 100 emails after just 1 hour… or feel like I would be totally overwhelmed with the quantity of emails if I didn’t check it regularly throughout the day.

So at the very beginning of April (when Dave was home for Spring Break), I sat down and tried to figure out what I could do so my email wouldn’t take up as much time.

At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what other systems I could implement. After all, I already use several Canned Responses to greatly reduce the amount of time I spend responding to frequent email requests. I also already use filters to neatly file almost all my emails into appropriate folders that I can then read when the time is right (example: I file all my various VA emails into separate folders and then I read them when I’m working on projects for each client).

I have certain emails color-coded or “starred” for easy access and reference later on, and I have a pretty efficient process for how I handle reading and responding to emails.

Then it hit me… I’ve been getting lots and lots of subscription-based emails (some that I signed up for, some that I didn’t). I’ve also noticed a larger quantity of junk mail and spam mail that I was wasting time opening, scanning, and deleting because it wasn’t relevant.

Right then and there, I decided that I would unsubscribe from almost every single email I could… and I did! 

I simply typed the word “unsubscribe” into the search bar at the top of my email inbox, and was AMAZED at the LONG list of emails that popped up!

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I just started clicking on each email, scrolling to the bottom, clicking on the “Unsubscribe” link, and unsubscribing — over and over and over again!

I went through a handful of emails each day for about 4 days (usually 10-15 minutes per day) and since then, I have continued to click the “Unsubscribe” links at the bottom of any email I get that I no longer want.

Ahhh… I love seeing this message pop up on my screen!

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Many of the emails I unsubscribed from were for deals or coupons that I subscribed to years ago. Some were newer subscriptions I decided I just didn’t need to read anymore, and a few were other blog posts or websites I subscribed to over the years and have just decided to let go for now — mainly in the interest of time.

I have nothing against any of the companies, blogs, websites, or brands who were sending me the emails (especially since I did actually subscribe to most of them myself). I’d just rather spend my limited amount of focused computer time working on my blog posts, my digital photo albums, or my Virtual Assistant work versus reading through emails I don’t really need.

Although it did require a little bit of time up-front, I am honestly amazed at how much less time I have spent dealing with emails over the past month!

Now, it just takes seconds to click “unsubscribe” if a new, unwanted email makes its way into my inbox!

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And yes, I realize the irony of ME telling YOU that I’m unsubscribing from various blogs that are emailed to me — because I know many of you are reading this post in your email right now! 

Truthfully, If you do not feel like your life benefits enough from the content of my blog posts to spend 3-5 minutes reading them each weekday, I hope you don’t feel bad clicking the “unsubscribe” link (it’s right down there at the bottom for those of you reading this in your email!)

The point of my blog is to help you simplify — not to clutter up your email inbox. I will not be offended 🙂

So that’s my quick-tip for today…

If you’re feeling overrun with too many emails and an over-crowded inbox, set your timer for 15 minutes and see how many emails you can unsubscribe from.

Then, continue to regularly click that “unsubscribe” button or link at the bottom of any future emails you no longer wish you receive.

After a couple weeks of doing this regularly, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results! 

Looking for more email tips and tricks?

Here’s the link to all my posts about email clutter and organization.

Do you have any quick-tips to declutter your Inbox?

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13 comments

  1. barb

    04/26/2016

    I must be doing something wrong, when I put in unsubscribe in my search mail, it tells me it can’t find anything, and believe me, I have hundreds of emails that I don’t want anymore and would really like to have those cleaned up. Help!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure what to say Barb — just make sure you’re typing it in the Search Bar of your email inbox and not actually within an email. You’re right, you should pull up a TON!

    [Reply]

  2. Dawn Kaestner

    04/26/2016

    I love these tips! I would also love to know (in a someday post!) how you best utilize Dropbox. I am new to it and am trying to balance my document vs. photo archiving. I also use Shutterfly but am a bit scared of my android phone for uploading. I find security in my desktop:)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Dawn,

    I actually don’t keep any photos in Dropbox — only documents. All our photo are on Flickr or iCloud (for apple phones) We also back up our computers (and photos) to a portable hard drive every month.

    [Reply]

  3. Erica

    04/26/2016

    Great tip! I’ve been working on decluttering my inbox as well, one thing I’ve done is unsubscribed from all the blogs I follow (including yours…sorry!) and started following them in wordpress.com, so I can still read them. I’ll try your tip too though.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No worries! That’s great that you are still able to follow your favorites without extra emails 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. Avia

    04/26/2016

    I recently downloaded an app on my iphone called Unroll.Me. It scanned my email and within minutes sent me a list of my emails from which it thought I would want to unsubscribe. I went through the list really quickly either checked the box to unsubscribe or I chose to have the app keep track of certain emails. I chose about 6 companies that I still might want to get sale information from and chose to unsubcribe from the rest. Now I get one email every couple days from unroll.me and it has a list of emails I’ve chosen to still keep track of. Truthfully, I hardly ever open that email and just delete it. This process took about 5 minutes and totally cleaned up my inbox.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is fabulous — thanks for sharing Avia!

    [Reply]

  5. Kimberly

    04/26/2016

    YES!!!! I’ve done this in the past and need to do it again! It’s amazing how many, many emails companies will send you. It is really necessary to get 1 or 2 emails a day from them?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know! One time I got 5 emails from one store in one day!

    [Reply]

  6. Leigh

    04/26/2016

    Yes. I did this black Friday week when every list I had ever subscribed to sent me something. The further tip I have seen is to search your email for “unsubscribe” to pull all of these up.
    I also have a separate email address for all the subscriptions i still want, but don’t need to see frequently.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh, that’s a great idea! I will definitely be doing this next Black Friday (instead of going shopping!)

    [Reply]

  7. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    04/26/2016

    I end up doing this a few times a year when I realize how many emails I’m deleting without even reading. Usually it’s to stores that I bought something at and they gave me a discount through an email. Then they seem to send emails every day after that!

    [Reply]