It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by email when there are dozens or even hundreds of items in your inbox. You may even have missed something important because it was quickly buried by other emails. If this has ever happened to you, these tips can help you clear out your inbox—and keep it empty.
First things first: Get rid of incoming emails you don’t need. These three options all accomplish the same thing, so take twenty minutes to abandon all those useless subscriptions, product sales and newsletters you signed up for a long time ago. If you haven’t opened an email from a sender in a year, they aren’t going to suddenly become important tomorrow.
The days of having to worry about what emails you might want to look at again in ten years are long over. Save everything if you’d like, but don’t stare at it all day long.
You can get a lot done in a short amount of time simply by going to the oldest emails in your inbox and archiving all of them. Are they from a year ago? Two? Five? If they’re buried several pages back you’re never going to find them without using the search box anyways. Just select all, click archive or move them all to a folder and be done with it.
A quick search can lead you to emails on any topic or from any person without the trouble of folders or labels, but if those organizational methods appeal to you, make sure to use them in conjunction with filters. Filters let you send certain messages straight to your archive or their relevant folders to be accessed only if they’re needed at a later date.
If you’re staring at thousands of emails and years of clutter, a tool like Mailstrom or Unroll.Me can help. They’re designed to help you manage subscriptions, including unsubscribing in bulk from those you don’t need.