Decluttering Week #3 – My Email Inboxes

I’m trying desperately to catch up on my decluttering tasks as I am already a couple weeks behind.  And I’ve added a few more tasks to my list for February.

I really enjoy reading various blogs on decluttering, and am obsessed with before and after shots.  They totally inspire me.  Of course, there are all sorts of clutter, not just the “stuff”, but they don’t always offer the best before and after shots.  I managed to pick some not so great tasks for my first few weeks for before and after shots, but oh well.  Week #3’s task was to declutter my email inboxes.

Before starting this task, I had 5 personal email accounts, and 1 for my work.  My work one is definitely big, but part of it is that I often have to look back and search for things that I’ve done in the past, or check on things sent to me.  I find it easier to just keep anything that may be important.  However, my personal emails were full of junk.  I knew I could clean them out some.  So I concentrated on these 5 accounts:

1. my main personal account

This one started out this week with 9300 emails in the inbox.  I like to keep correspondences because it is fun to look back at what people were doing and such, but a lot of it was junk… mailing lists, coupons, etc.  I wanted to delete them all, and get myself off the mailing lists.  I was pretty ruthless for this one.  I have removed myself from all mailing lists and blogs, unsubscribed from any daily deals and groupon promotions, removed myself from any store mailing lists and then just started deleting emails…

2. secondary personal account

This one is rarely used, and if I save all the important info from it, I could almost get rid of this email and only use it as an emergency email for if I get locked out of my main account.  The inbox had about 1000 emails, and it keeps receiving all sorts of junk.  I unsubscribed from all sorts of mailing lists and tried deleting some of the older emails.  I still need to go through the old emails from when I was traveling, I want to incorporate some of those stories in to my scrapbook.

3. special event account

My friends and I planned a big party a couple years ago.  We went all out… costumes, decorations, mailed out invites, etc.  We created a special email account just for that party.  We really don’t have any use for the email account anymore.  So, I went through the 100 or so conversations in this email account, deleted them all, and then deleted the email account.  Done!

4. sports’ club account

I monitor an email address for a sports club I am a part of, and I respond to the important emails but I never really delete any of the junk (and there is junk because the email address is posted on the club’s website).  Amazingly enough, when I started it wasn’t as bad as I thought, the inbox only had about 100 email conversations in it.  I managed to go through them all and left only a few the inbox as they are things I need to deal with or keep for events later in the year.

5. shared/wedding account

I created an email for my fiance and I to share for our wedding, and any other shared correspondence that we do.  this one is a relatively new addition, so it is only at about 30, but I know it will fill up with stuff once we get our invites out in the next month, so I need to get started on it now.

Oh, and I guess I have another email now, my new blog email… that one has 2 emails in the inbox and that’s it… and those are about setting up this blog, so I’ll keep those.  I get emails regarding this blog and the blogs I follow in the email, and if I keep up on my reading and writing, I should be able to keep this inbox low.

So, no before and after pictures, but how about some numbers:

Total emails before: 9300 + 1000 + 100 + 100 + 30 = 10530

Current email total: 6170 + 850 + 0 + 20 + 20 = 7060

It’s not perfect yet, as I have lots left to go through, but getting rid of over 3000 emails is definitely a step in the right direction, and with all the subscriptions gone, less emails will be coming in, and hopefully I can keep deleting a few more each time I log in and eventually I will get down to near zero… I will try and do an update in a couple weeks and see if I’ve managed to get further along…

Do you have a lot of “clutter” in your email inbox?  How do you manage it?

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12 thoughts on “Decluttering Week #3 – My Email Inboxes

  1. Oh my gosh, I try to keep my four email inboxes (one work, three personal) to a dull roar, but things always seem to be slightly out of control. It’s my dream to be one of those empty the inbox every day people. 🙂 Congrats on this and I should definitely try it out myself.

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    • It takes a lot more effort and time than I thought it would… but it is worth it. Someday I will only have things that are requiring attention left in my inbox, but it is definitely still a work in progress. Getting yourself off mailing lists that don’t interest you anymore is key. If I don’t have to delete a dozen junk emails every time I open my email, I am way more likely to actually respond to or deal with the emails that need it.

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  2. You made great progress! My email inboxes are messy. I should probably go through and unsubscribe to everything so I don’t get so much incoming mail.

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  3. I did a similar job on my email accounts last year, you can see my total results in my post in January about how I did with last years goals: http://minimalistsometimes.com/2015/01/04/my-2014-goals-how-did-i-do/

    My goal was to get down to a couple of thousand emails at work, but as I took a 6 month sabbatical (due to health), I never cleaned up enough to get to my goal 😦 But now that I’m back at work, I will continue that quest this year 🙂

    You’re doing great – now you just need to keep up on it.. 😉 It’s amazing how fast it fills up again…

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  4. I have a ridiculous number of email addresses… I have my old hotmail one that I use to receive most of my mailing list stuff. Then I have my gmail account, my blog account, my alma mater email account, my company’s account as well my current university (other employer)’s account. It’s ridiculous!

    I got my personal gmail down to a reasonable number by using the Email Game – Google it… it’s amazing. I basically got rid of all the junk that was backing up in my account, and then I made a folder that was all my archived messages I wanted to keep. My inbox now only has the last few emails I received in it, so I’m working on that as my “to respond” list, and then they get shuffled to the respective folders once they’re done. It’s working great for me now 🙂

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  5. Well done! I also have several e-mail accounts. I try to declutter stuff every once in a while but not all in one go – it sometimes nags on me when I spend hours of decluttering my e-mail stuff when the inbox is big enough anyhow and it’s not truly bothering me somewhat, at least not as much as my visual mess in my room *lol* Was your goal to declutter one thing every week? I can’t find an initial post of your project 🙂

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