declutter your email

10 Ways to Declutter Your Email

Are you ready to declutter your emails? Is that bold number of unread emails taunting you in your sleep? Read the quick tips below and sign up to access the full tutorial!

ways to declutter emails

For the full tutorial and your own mini e-book,
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Now for the quick list! I know this is a quick version, but the mini eBook has a lot of helpful explanations and details and tips!

Ways to Declutter Emails – your personal inbox

We obviously have more flexibility with our personal emails than our work emails. These tips assume that you are using a service such as Yahoo or Gmail or Hotmail.

  • Unsubscribe to emails you just don’t find yourself ever opening. Take the time and click the link that should be at the bottom of every email. (This doesn’t work for that high school friend who forwards everything!)
  • Try using subfolders to keep things more organized. Not only does it keep your inbox cleaner, it also helps you locate something in the future.
  • Clean it out to avoid digital clutter. Delete the ones you don’t need. Just do it!
  • Be selective about who gets your email address. I used to sign up for a lot of newsletters, thinking “oh it’s just my email address, it doesn’t matter”. But when they start emailing you on a daily basis, it does start to matter. Sign up for what you are truly interested in and bypass the rest.
  • Don’t let checking emails take over your time. Personally, I’ve turned off my email notifications on my phone so that I don’t pop in every time something new comes in.

Ways to Declutter Emails – your work inbox

I get it. Many of the work emails we can’t avoid. But there are still some amazing ways to get them more organized, mostly so that you can locate what you need when you need it. Most of these tips are specifically related to Outlook.

  • Again, try using subfolders. This is especially important to keep your work communications organized.
  • Categories! Color code and organize by Category
  • Rules! Set up rules to sort emails automatically
  • Follow Up! Set reminders for yourself to follow up
  • Quick Steps! One-click little jobs like sorting emails or using an email template

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I manage too many emails?

Sometimes the incoming emails are just too many to manage all at once. I get it – if I go a day without checking one of my inboxes, I pop in and realize I have over 100 unread! It’s overwhelming enough you want to just give up and ignore it! But please don’t… I like to start by sorting by sender. If the email says “last chance” or “disappearing today” and they arrived several days ago — I just delete it without opening. I also have a good idea of whose emails I open every time (and whose I hardly ever open). The ones that I don’t tend to open, again I delete right away.

How do I organize my cluttered inbox?

Repeat after me and say it out loud — Folders are my friends. I try to only keep actionable items in my inbox and use it like a to-do list.

And deleting is a close second. Do you really need to keep everything? Probably not. Once you’ve deleted items you no longer need, sort the remaining into customized folders. Don’t sort until you’ve cleaned out.

How do I keep my inbox clean and decluttered?

Once you’ve spent all that time cleaning up the 1000s of emails in your inbox, you want to make sure it stays that way! Most email services (and Outlook for work) offer an automatic sorting feature. You can direct the service to deposit incoming emails into specific folders so that you can check them when you have time. If it’s actionable, move it back to your inbox until the task is complete. I also find that it helps to only keep the most recent email if the thread is getting too long.

You may also be interested in…

decluttering to maximize your resources

5 Ways Decluttering Can Maximize Your Resources

I’ve created a handy workbook that will help you look at the ways you can declutter to maximize the resources you have, specifically time, paper, electronics, people, and space.

Sign up for the library password to get your copy today!


maximize your time resources

Regarding your resource of time, I want to focus on three aspects for you to consider:
> Do you schedule downtime for yourself? If you aren’t practicing self-care, you will not be at your best for anyone else.
> What is your most productive time of day? Focus on getting your harder tasks done during that time frame.
> What are your biggest three time wasters? (Hint = consider the Electronics section below!)


declutter your paper

> How can you reduce the paper you bring into your space? Figure out ways to not add to the piles!
> How can you efficiently store the paper you need to keep? Figure out what you actually do need and what’s the best way to store it.
> How can you reduce the paper that you create? Figure out if there is another way to save the information – PDF file, Excel spreadsheet, a subfolder in your Inbox. Imagine the environmental impact too!


declutter your electronics form

Cell phones, FitBits, laptops, smart TVs, desktops, tablets, and the list goes on. How much time to we spend staring at these electronic screens? Is your life such that you could build in some electronic-free time? Even just 30 minutes in an afternoon to take a walk and listen to the birds or color a picture with actual pen and paper. Just the sheer volume of emails in our Inbox can be enough to overwhelm us. Try unsubscribing to ones you never read and see what that little step can do to declutter one tiny area. (For more tips about managing your Inbox, sign up for your mini ebook and check out 10 Ways to Declutter Your Email)


too many people

This is a difficult area – “decluttering” people. It’s really not meant to sound harsh. People can be both a giving and a taking resource. But interpersonal interactions can sometimes demand time or emotional resources that we don’t have to give. It is important to make sure that these interactions add meaning and well-being to our lives without the unnecessary stress or strain or drama that depletes our resource bank. And we should also be aware of how we add meaning and well-being to others.


declutter your space

In the workbook, the ‘space’ flowchart asks, do I really need to keep this item? But the bigger question might be, does it need to live in “daily space”? I have become increasingly focused on my “daily space”. The parts of my home that I look at all the time. That is the clutter that needs to be addressed first. Before looking at the hidden depths and unseen recesses, our daily space affects our daily well-being. In order to maximize our daily space areas, we should make sure that the items that occupy that space are the ones that need to live there.

Sign up below for the library password to get your copy today!