Spring Clean Your Inbox in 3 Steps
Clear the clutter on your email and organize the rest into a system that makes sense for you.
Learn my exact note-taking system to capture the best ideas from articles, podcasts, videos, and so much more.
Just like a clean closet helps you find the things you’re actually looking for, an organized inbox will make sure you’re spending time and energy on the emails you really need to read.
Here are the 3 steps:
Clear Out What’s in the Back The best place to start is with your oldest messages. If you use Gmail, you can click on the number of emails in the top right corner, and sort by "Oldest" to focus your attention on the emails you haven’t thought about in months
Declutter, and Throw Some Things Out Your inbox should only hold what you need. Unsubscribe from everything you don’t actually read or need. Here’s how to identify your inbox-clutterers:
Search for "unsubscribe" to surface newsletters you can opt-out from
Look at your trash for any emails that are still unread. If you deleted it without looking at it—chances are you don’t need it in the first place
Search “from:no-reply” to discover automated emails from companies (I prefer emails from real people)
Not Needed Daily? Put it Elsewhere Create specific folders where non-essential emails go automatically instead of showing up in your inbox. By filtering you get control back and choose when to read those emails. I use two filters: one for newsletters and another for filing stuff, such as receipts (I automatically mark these as read). To create a filter:
Click the down arrow in your search box. A window that allows you to specify your search criteria will appear
Click Create filter with this search at the bottom of the search window
Choose the action(s) you want the filter to take. In this case, make sure to select Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and Apply the label: [Label Name] when you create your filter
Click the Create filter button