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Quill

The Declutterer confesses - terrible about maintaining email.

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Seriously. I moved and deleted a few hundred emails today, but I am still in the seven hundred range for my inbox, to say nothing of all my bazillion sub-folders that have emails sitting there in purgatory. I "try" to do well with managing them but there are so many niches of my life that communicate this way! Soccer teams. Baseball teams. College. Co-op. Church. Our companies. Writer's group. Bunko. High school. In-laws. Not to mention my pet interests, things I subscribe to (the Skimm; Project 333; Daily Good), friends, and the ubiquitous you-bought-something-here-so-we-email-forever types.

 

I wish I could say I have a logical system; I am such a lover of systems! But I don't. I just try to eliminate all the junk every morning, and make sure I'm taking care of the critical things within the day. I unsub once in a while, but it builds back up as I buy things again. I know some say keep two emails and use one for purchases so those deals and things don't come to the main box, but I can't keep up with two boxes when I am not keeping up with one! So I only do this when I am ordering from somewhere and don't plan to order from them again.

 

Is anyone doing a great job of keeping the emails well in hand on a regular basis? What is your strategy?

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My strategy is to see what others put on this thread. I have a gazillion emails in my inbox to delete. Working in real estate means I copy myself on most business emails. Those back up my files. Then EVERYONE wants to sell agents something so I get 20 or 30 unwanted emails every morning and afternoon. I'm on a few daily or weekly lists as well.

 

Sometimes I veg in front of the TV with my laptop and hit delete. From time to time, I do a search on a specific word--groupon, for example, then delete.

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Is this important enough to you that you are willing to dedicate time in your life to regularly checking your email?

Can you somehow streamline the process of sorting emails if you don't want to read them all?

 

Dh has 50,000ish unread emails in his google box. It doesn't bother him.

I have no unread emails in my inbox, and everything is deleted or sorted.

 

We both function well in managing information, we just have different styles. In a day and age where most email accounts have very good search features and unlimited storage, I don't know that it really matters how many emails we have unread in our accounts.

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One thing that works for me in the short term (long term...different story...) is moving ALL the e-mails from my Inbox to a folder marked "SORT."  They're still there.  I haven't deleted them.

 

That leaves me with an empty inbox, and the goal to keep it at zero.  So when I check my e-mail, I can deal with all the e-mails.  Consign them to the trash, reply, label and archive, move to a folder, whatever needs to happen.  It's easier to do that when starting from zero.  And I can GET to zero without half killing myself in the process, just by moving them to "Sort".

Then, of course, I try to add consistent decluttering of existing e-mails, so the goal of getting 20 per day or so out of the "sort" folder and into wherever they need to be.

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If you want a good tip, it's to check your email on your laptop. When I do it on my phone, I have to look at and hit the delete button for each ad. Instead, in the morning, I open my laptop, go over my daily schedule and to do list, and then check my email while breakfast is being made.  I can select and delete a bunch of emails that way without having to open them.

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If you want a good tip, it's to check your email on your laptop. When I do it on my phone, I have to look at and hit the delete button for each ad. Instead, in the morning, I open my laptop, go over my daily schedule and to do list, and then check my email while breakfast is being made. I can select and delete a bunch of emails that way without having to open them.

I can do this from my iPad, but TBH, I only just learned this in the past few months. I *hate* getting on my laptop at home because of our horrible internet. The iPad is easier because of the internal data. For the laptop, I have to go find that darned MiFi and turn it on. But yeah, learning that I can flag and mass-delete junk has already been a help.

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One thing that works for me in the short term (long term...different story...) is moving ALL the e-mails from my Inbox to a folder marked "SORT." They're still there. I haven't deleted them.

 

That leaves me with an empty inbox, and the goal to keep it at zero. So when I check my e-mail, I can deal with all the e-mails. Consign them to the trash, reply, label and archive, move to a folder, whatever needs to happen. It's easier to do that when starting from zero. And I can GET to zero without half killing myself in the process, just by moving them to "Sort".

Then, of course, I try to add consistent decluttering of existing e-mails, so the goal of getting 20 per day or so out of the "sort" folder and into wherever they need to be.

This is an idea that has potential. It is weird how I can pick some arbitrary amount and do a pretty good job of staying within a certain perameter. Over the weekend, I kind of freaked out because it was over a thousand, so I deleted and moved a bunch simply to get it down to about 980. Today I moved and deleted a bunch and I keep wanting it to stay below 777. Totally arbitrary number! I just want it to stay below *something* and that is a pretty number, so I picked it! :D but what I *actually* want is no more than one page. I don't really want it to zero; I don't know why. That just looks weird to me. My work partner sometimes gets the company box to zero and it looks too naked to me. But I do like having the work inbox under a page...yet this is also easier to do, because all the work emails are jobs and can be sorted into the job folders or deleted if they are promo things.

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I don't believe in organizing email. The amount of storage you get these days is so insane. It seems totally unnecessary. That's what the search function is for.

 

Now... if someone could help with my photos...

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This is an idea that has potential. It is weird how I can pick some arbitrary amount and do a pretty good job of staying within a certain perameter. Over the weekend, I kind of freaked out because it was over a thousand, so I deleted and moved a bunch simply to get it down to about 980. Today I moved and deleted a bunch and I keep wanting it to stay below 777. Totally arbitrary number! I just want it to stay below *something* and that is a pretty number, so I picked it! :D but what I *actually* want is no more than one page. I don't really want it to zero; I don't know why. That just looks weird to me. My work partner sometimes gets the company box to zero and it looks too naked to me. But I do like having the work inbox under a page...yet this is also easier to do, because all the work emails are jobs and can be sorted into the job folders or deleted if they are promo things.

 

Sure--if you like keeping a few around for padding, you could delete all but 30 or something, and have your standard be to pare it down to all-on-one-page at all times.

My concern with that for myself is that it becomes one, some, many....what happened?

And very quickly, too.

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Anything that needs to be kept I archive. The things in my inbox are active orders and emails needing attention, and everything else is deleted or filed. That's organized enough for me :D

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I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 messages in my inbox. Periodically, I will purge them. I do this by sorting by sender, and then click-scroll-shift-click to delete a bunch at a time. One of the worst offenders is a homeschool group I belong to that overlaps with another group, so I often receive double messages that I don't bother reading. 

 

I will sometimes go in and click on the "unsub" link to try to stop receiving messages from someone I don't want to hear from. 

 

 

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I usually have about 500 in my inbox but I think I'm going to try a combo of moving them into a SORT folder and actually sorting them once and for all. Thanks for the idea, Kiara.I!!!!

 

I have odd things- the last emails from a few special people who have since passed away like my mom, my friend, my husband's boss.  I have the emails from when my Dad and sisters and I were planning our trip to Rome.  Sentimental stuff.  I just need to sort it. 

 

Quill, thanks for posting this. I realize my inbox is just like my house and keeping 500 emails is clutter. I need to really look at these and decide what I need and what I don't.  Sigh...yet another area to declutter. 

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I currently have 18,000 some odd e-mails in my inbox.  LOL.   I actually sort through a bunch and file anything important.  And I try to delete delete delete.  And the oldest is 18 months old!  I get SO many spammy ads and stuff.  It's ridiculous.  I do run my life via e-mail though, so what's a person to do.

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