In honor of “Clean Out Your Inbox Week” (yes, it’s areal thing, and it was last week–January 19-25), today I offer you three simple tips for keeping your inbox clutter free.

1) Unsubscribe relentlessly

  • Remove yourself from any mailings that you do not read or wish to receive, and constant updates from deal sites and social media. Whatever is not positively contributing to your day and your life is clutter and must go!
  • Most mass emails and newsletters have a small “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of the email.  In a matter of seconds, you can limit or unsubscribe from future emails.

2) Pledge to a daily goal

  • Tackle a manageable chunk each day: delete or file, say,  25 emails or one week’s worth of backed up emails at a time.
  • For 2014, one of my resolutions is to go to bed every night with an empty inbox.  This forces me to attend to everything in a timely matter, and when I open my email in the morning, I am only confronted with a workable amount, rather than facing the residue from the last week.  Note:  While this is my intention, it doesn’t always happen.  However, I am able to adhere to it more often than not, and the peace of mind it brings me in the morning affects my entire day.  I invite you to try it!

3) Create folders to keep emails that you can’t trash

  • For emails you want to be able to access soon or down the road, keep them in labeled folder, just like you’d do with paper correspondences. This way, the emails are still there in your possession and are nicely sorted and organized for retrieval when you need them.
  • Try not to sub-categorize too much–the more elaborate your system, the harder it will be to maintain.  I recommend 4-6 broad categories.  Some examples are: Accounts, Events, Friends & Family, Personal, Receipts, Work, Travel & Vacation.

Tip: If you have multiple email accounts, simplify your life by having them all forwarded to your main account.  This saves you the headache of constantly checking multiple accounts.

*If this is a monumental project that is not easily tackled with the steps above, feel free to email me to set up a time to speak or work with me to get your inbox under control.  I worked with someone recently who has over 3,000 emails in her inbox that have not been opened.  That kind of digital clutter can really weigh you down, not to mention the important information and communication that is getting lost in the shuffle.

Happy Organizing!

P.S. January 27 is National Bubble Wrap appreciation day.  No joke.  (Guess who just got their hands on the official 2014 calendar of events?)  Oh, and January also happens to be Get Organized Month–Celebrate by clearing out your inbox!