How to Spring Clean Your Email Inbox

April 24, 2012

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By: Melanie
The weather in Boston has been absolutely beautiful. It's the perfect time for leaving the windows open and spring cleaning. Basement: check. House: check. Yard: check. Those were easy.
I then move on to cleaning out clothing, shoes, and accessories, which I have been avoiding for years. I tackle that project, and someone else is on the receiving end of a Christmas morning. I'm a planner, organizer and neat freak. I feel so good after this cleanse.
If I can clean up all of these things in my life, what about my dreaded email inbox? It was in major need of an overhaul and deep clean. So, I sat down one morning and spent the entire day spring cleaning my email. As I went through this tedious task, I realized that it doesn't have to come down to this. If I stick to a few simple guidelines, my email will be much more manageable and organized in the future.
Here are 10 ways to keep your inbox in great shape all year long:

  1. Delete, delete, delete. If the topic is irrelevant, immediately delete the message.
  2. Organize your email and create folders. Once an email is read, save it in a folder.
  3. If there is an email in your inbox from three years ago, delete it. Make yourself a time frame for deleting old emails.
  4. Save money by instantly deleting shopping emails. Don't be suckered in by the “Today only! Thirty percent off!” sale.
  5. Deal with each email one at a time and delete or classify it.
  6. If it needs action, flag it, rather than letting it get lost in the shuffle.
  7. Don't fall victim to the chain email, no matter how much it pulls on your heartstrings. Once you receive one, get rid of it, and don't forward it to others.
  8. If the message isn't urgent, don't red flag it. This can cause unnecessary heart palpitations.
  9. Don't overdo recipients, replies to all and cc's. There are so many unnecessary emails in my inbox from the reply-to-all option.
  10. Lastly, if it's a simple note or question, talk to your co-workers first, either by phone, instant message or face to face.

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