I am a big fan of decluttering. Here I discuss decluttering email.
My wife and I have moved so many times and each move we donate at least 5-10 boxes of stuff (books, clothes, décor, etc). We are getting better about not accumulating things anymore, but for the first 5 years together we did not practice a minimalist’s approach.
Now I will not say we are true minimalists as we have a large home with clothes, furniture, etc. Our son, in particular, has the most stuff right now. Still, we are conscious of our purchases and if we have not used something for over 6 months to a year than it is donated or sold on craigslist (and now the Facebook marketplace). This philosophy of decluttering permeates our lives. By keeping things to a minimum we can keep them organized, clean, and used. With less things, there is less maintenance = less stress. For me, this philosophy even goes to email.
The email basket has become a staple of modern life. Our phones give us immediate access to it, our friends can communicate with us with it, and advertisers can bombard us through it. While Gmail has a great Spam filter that sorts out the truly unsavory emails, I find that throughout the year I accumulate emails from agencies that I just don’t care about or need. Some of the emails are frequent, some are sparse, but all are annoying. As with material things, the less emails I have, and the cleaner my inbox, the happier I am.
So how do I declutter my email? Well it is an active process with at least monthly attacks:
· If there is a one click option, then go ahead and unsubscribe on the spot. This is what I do most of the time. It is a One and Done approach.
· If it requires a log in to unsubscribe, then I will dump all of those emails in a separate folder. Then once a month I go in and unsubscribe to all of the emails.
· I use folders, but with laser precision, if I choose to make a folder it is for a specific task. Once the task is done, the emails and folders are removed.
· Worried about loosing your emails? If you use Gmail (which is what I use) then you can “Archive” messages, which will place them under “All Mail” tab. Then if you really need that email from 1 year ago it is easily searchable. I am not sure how other email programs work with this feature. For instance, I quit using Macintocsh’s Mail program because there was no good way to archive messages.
Simple right? It gives me control of what is coming in and takes control away from the advertisers. So keep it clean. Go through and start getting names off of those email lists. What tips do you have for keeping your online life simple?
Also published on Medium.