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Quick & Easy Personal Inbox Clean-Up

January 20, 2023

As bonus content to our business email contact clean and sort, we're providing a few simple, steps to purge your personal email inbox in just an hour or two - perhaps a perfect weekend morning coffee in your pj's activity?

I began my effort with over 19,000 emails in my Inbox dating back to 2011. Yikes! Within two hours and employing the four steps listed below, I trimmed my Inbox down to less than 100 emails!!! I felt instantly lighter! I also unsubscribed to over 90 email newsletters - how-to shared below, so I should be receiving fewer emails in the coming year too. Hallelujah!



Step 1: Decide if you will Archive or Delete

There's no right or wrong answer here, only chose what you feel most comfortable with. I use delete for most because I know my busy life will never afford me the time to return to review the archived emails, and I'm fairly regular about placing emails I want to keep in labelled saved folders. That said, if you don't use folders, and you find yourself regularly searching for past emails, use the archive tool to insure those emails are always there to reference. Either way, the emails you want to remove from your active inbox will still be gone!

Step 2: Select & View Unread Emails, from Oldest to Newest:

In your email platform, select the folder "Unread." Then, sort that list in reverse chronological order from oldest to newest. Why? It's highly likely that you will delete more emails faster with less need to review if you still haven't read messages from 2014. Yes?

Focus on one year of unread messages at a time to parse the work more easily. Once you have that group, click "Select All." Then, scroll through that list and unselect any emails that you want to keep. Trust me, you will find a few with precious photos you forgot about!

Step 3: Employ Keywords in Advanced Search

Next, utilize the "Advanced Search" offering in your email platform in tandem with the list of general email keywords listed below, to sort and delete/archive emails by each keyword.

Depending upon how many folders you utilize, either search "All Mail" or "Inbox" only. I have quite a few folders, so I only scour my Inbox in combo with each keyword so as not to delete emails I selected to keep in folders from pulling in to this group.

You can choose a common sender that you know you usually will not read and use that as a "From" address in the Advanced Search. Below is also a short list of keywords to try:

  • Any "no-reply" email addresses

  • Automatic

  • Invite

  • Release

  • Reminder

  • Sale

  • Update

Step 4: Clean & Sort Inbox

Finally, remaining now in your Inbox will be primarily emails you have opened but either did not file, or kept for some reason. Next, repeat the same process in Step 2 in your Inbox selecting and reviewing your existing opened emails by year. File the ones you want to keep and delete or archive the rest.

Step 5: View & Unsubscribe

Finally, with a lighter, skinnier email inbox, I took the last step to insure my Inbox doesn't continue to fill with unwanted emails by viewing and unsubscribing to email newsletters I'm no longer interested in. The functionality differs by email platform, but in Yahoo! for example, a "Views" tool is offered just below the main inbox menu. Upon selecting "Subscriptions" from that list, I was presented with a grid that included over 100 email newsletters I'm currently subscribed to. Wow! I had no idea I was engaged with that many! By simply clicking the box to "Unsubscribe," Yahoo! takes care of the rest. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, I unsubscribed to OVER 90 email newsletters. I feel refreshed and new!


Enjoy this bonus content? Please let us know in the Comments below!

Thanks for reading and happy purging!


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