Decluttering your inbox and streamlining email

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Is your inbox overflowing with unread messages and old conversations?

Do you LOL (or silently sob) any time you think about Inbox Zero or the other ways people seem to successfully declutter their email?

If so, you’re not alone!

Here’s 4 things you can do today to make your life easier AND tackle email head on.

1️ Unsubscribe!

This is one of the quickest ways to get email under control.

Start by unsubscribing from newsletters and promotional emails you no longer find useful. Use services like or the built-in unsubscribe feature in your email client to simplify this process.

And hopefully, you won’t accidentally unsubscribe from us! 

2️ Archive or Delete

Take a critical but not shame-y look at your inbox, then archive or delete emails that no longer require your attention.

Start by sorting your emails by SENDER so you can easily scoop up batches of similar emails at one time.

Then file them or toss them as needed.

3️ Organize with Folders

Just like you would do (or have done) with paper files, create matching folders or labels to categorize your emails.

Whatever categories you use to corral paper documents should continue in your digital world.

There is no point in having dueling files or folders, each containing only a partial list of all the information you want to keep on hand.

I use meaningful names like “Clients,” “Family,” “Finances,” or “Friends” to make it easier to find specific messages later.

4️ Set Up Rules or Filters

Rules and filters are the same thing—a simple IF/THEN formula that is applied to your emails before they even get into your inbox.

Different email apps (or programs) call this formula either a Rule or a Filter, but whatever they call it, it does the exact same thing.

Each formula or rule/filter is used to automatically sort incoming messages into appropriate folders before they even land in your inbox.

This can be a game changer for emails you subscribe to as well as allowing you to prioritize essential contacts, clients, or projects to ensure that important emails never get buried.

I hope these tips and strategies will help you start the process of decluttering, streamlining, and taking control of your email.


  • Andrew Mellen

    Andrew Mellen has been called “The Most Organized Man in America”. His message is simple: Get rid of clutter and everything opens up. Everything means everything—your workspace, your home, your time and your life. Without clutter to distract you, you will finally have free time for what matters. One of the pioneers of professional organizing, Andrew travels the world speaking and teaching. He also works with individuals, and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is passionate about organization, sustainability, and mindfulness, and lives by his motto: More love, less stuff! Find out how Andrew’s expertise, compassion and sense of humor can help change your life and your relationship with stuff today.

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