The thought of cleaning your inbox may send you running for a paper bag to hyperventilate, but hold your horses because I am here to help! Sifting through emails to delete, sort or reply to is never the most exhilarating task, but it is necessary. As of right now, I have the challenging job of juggling three accounts for college, work and personal email. Don’t be fooled by my ability to keep track of the 100 emails I get hourly; it is no easy task! Here are some ways I keep my inboxes tidy:
Folders are Friends, Not Enemies
This doesn’t mean creating a million folders for every contact or project, but simply making a few key places to store your most important work. For my work email, I created one folder labeled “Important” where I store all of my project emails and top priority tasks. My regular inbox is typically for the rest of the company emails. Folders can become enemies when you have way too many to remember. The trick is to create as many as you actually need!
Damage Control
Signing up for newsletters and rewards programs isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until annoying emails start flooding your inbox. How many times will you actually read 12 newsletters and use every email coupon you receive? Truthfully, one of the keys to keeping your email tidy is to get rid of the junk and limit the number of subscriptions you sign up for. Luckily there are ways to manage unwanted email subscriptions through sites like UnrollMe.
Don’t Be Afraid to Purge
Nothing stresses me out more than seeing 9,454 unread emails on someone’s account. How terrifying! To avoid a ridiculous amount of unread messages, make sure to open, reply and/or delete all your emails every single day. Leaving messages in your inbox unread could run the risk of letting an important task or project go ignored. Stay on top your emails and don’t be afraid to hit delete!
Timing is Key
Some people prefer to take a peek at their emails bright and early in the morning and others believe it’s more efficient to take a look at emails later on. Either way, figuring out a time that works best with your schedule and your work is essential to keeping your inbox clean. For me, I love to wake up and check my emails right away in case I need to do something in the morning.  Others believe that tackling their most critical task comes before emails. Whatever timing you choose, also be sure to tell your coworkers of your communication timeline so that they can anticipate your response time properly.
Ponder This
Inbox too much to handle right now? Stop, breathe and think about these questions.

  1. Does this message require a response now? If so, reply and move on. If not, add this email to one of your “important” folders or “to do” folders and come back to it.


  1. Is this message spam or a piece of information that I do not need? If yes, hit delete and if not, look at it and move on.


  1. Repeat these steps until your inbox is empty and BAM! Your email is tidy and now your job is to keep it that way.

Honestly, no one loves the time it takes to tidy up their email accounts, but it’s something that needs to be done often. Do you want to be the person who misses and email and gets in trouble for it later on? No! So take these steps seriously the next time you look at the messages in your inbox. Do you have any other tips on de-cluttering your email? Share, please: