Is your inbox looking a little cluttered? Are you finding it hard to find past emails amongst the sheer mess that it already houses? There’s a solution, of course!

The vast amount of emails we receive on a daily basis can be daunting. Especially when you consider that important emails can get buried under junk, and deleted accidentally. Gmail is leading the email game with a ‘Promotions’ folder, which catches all of your e-newsletters, bad news for the company if you don’t open that folder, but good news for you if you are trying to keep track of important emails.

In the case that your account is not Gmail based (or it is, but you use a mail client like Outlook or Apple Mail), there are a few tricks you can use to de-clutter your inbox and stop missing out on those important emails.

Delete!

This seems obvious, but, the first thing you should do? Delete stuff. Delete as much as you possibly can. And be ruthless about it. Don’t delete anything that you might need, obviously, like important receipts, password information, or reminders. But that notification that someone you barely know commented on a status you don’t care about? You don’t need it.

For someone who doesn’t delete their emails, this will clear up your inbox considerably. In fact, it might take you a long while if you’re the type to leave hundreds of emails unread in your inbox. And for those of you who have thousands of unread emails, this process will be a lot more impractical for you.

Filing

Following the en masse ruthless delete, if your inbox still looks like a toddler’s toy box, there’s something else you can do: categorise. What this means is that you can create different folders or labels for emails, and then file any important emails under these folders. For example, those emails you get when you buy stuff on eBay? They would go in a ‘Receipts’ folder.

There are a large variety of email hosting sites out there, the steps to do this are basically the same across the board. This is how to do it on a few of the more common sites.

Gmail:

1. Go to Gmail in your browser and log in.
2. You’ll see a menu on the left-hand side of your screen with different email categories listed, including Inbox and Sent Mail. Click on More.
3. This will expand he menu. You’ll see a section that says Categories. Click on Create new label under this section.
4. In the dialog box that pops up, type in the name of your label.
5. Now, you’ll see your new label in the menu.
6. Simply click and drag your emails into this label to file them.
7. You can find all of these emails inside this new label.

Outlook.com:

  1. Login to your email account on Outlook.com.
  2. You’ll see a sidebar on the left-hand side of your screen titled Folders with different email categories, including Inbox and Junk Email. Hover your mouse over this title.
  3. Beside the word Folders, you’ll see a plus sign. Click on this plus sign to create a new folder.
  4. At the bottom of your sidebar, you’ll see a new entry for a new folder. Type the name of your new folder into this entry and press ENTER on your keyboard.
  5. This entry will now be a new folder under the left-hand sidebar.
  6. Simply click and drag your emails into this folder to file them.
  7. From now on, when you want to find emails under this folder, you’ll need to click into the folder to see them.

Apple Mail:

  1. On the left-hand side of your the Apple Mail client, you will see all mailboxes listed in alphabetical order.
  2. Find the email account you wish to add a folder to and right-click on it.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select New Mailbox.
  4. A dialog box will pop up so that you can name your new folder.
  5. The new folder will appear in alphabetical order in the left-hand side menu where you can also find Important.

Being able to file your emails under different categories will not only clear up your inbox, but it will also introduce some order to your emails. Finding certain emails will be easier, your inbox will be less of an eyesore, and important emails will be less likely to become lost amongst a sea of spam.

It’s important to note though, that any future emails will still make their way into your inbox and won’t sort themselves. So it’s probably a good idea to sit down and file these away once a fortnight or month depending on how busy your inbox gets!

Does your inbox need a de-clutter? Share with us below!

Image source Shutterstock.


  • I’m one of those Nanas that files everything. I like a small, uncluttered Inbox. Each day I work through and delete what’s not necessary, read and file, and then action and file. My calendar is set on the 1st of each month to Cleanout my emails eg. Deleted and Sent and recently, I deleted whole Email categories from 2009!!!! If I don’t do all of the above I feel stressed, busier than I am, and disorganised.

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  • Yeah, it’s daily tidy up time of my inbox :)

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  • Thank heavens I am out of the work force these days – my home inbox is bad enough.

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  • I tried to tidy mine up regularly and I also have folders as well to help make it look less messy.

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  • I go through my inbox and junk regually, like a few times a day. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to stay on top of it all

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  • the amount of junk emails i am receiving daily is a real nuisance and wastes so much time. Despite unsubscribing to things it still keeps coming! aaaahhhhhh

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  • I always tend to stay on top of emails because it can get quite overwhelming.

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  • Sorry that my message got posted twice yesterday.
    Yes, I agree that checking our emails daily is really important. Otherwise the number of emails can be so high that we start deleting, and by mistake we cold delete something important.

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  • I’ve been away with limited access so came back to an inbox of nearly 300 emails. Great tips.

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  • I just cleaned mine up. Took me about 20 minutes. Now just to keep it nice and tidy (fingers crossed).

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  • My biggest problem is not using my account for a week or so then having to sort everything at once. Must remember to check emails everyday or at least very second day.

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  • I have two email accounts. The private one is known just by a few selected people. They are people with whom I email regularly and I don’t want to miss. That account is quite easy to keep organized and almost spam-free.
    Then there is the “public” one, that I give to everyone, included newsletters, and that gets a lot of spam too. I’ve created a lot of different folders and I check it regularly, otherwise the amount of emails sitting there could become overwhelming. The public email is in Outlook.com and I’d really love it if Outlook could create a Newsletter filter, creating me a “Newsletter Inbox” and a normal “Inbox”. That way I think I’d feel more secure about not missing important messages.


    • You have a very good system – well done!

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  • I have two email accounts. One is my private one, that just a few people know, where I receive important messages and, luckily, almost no spam. That is quite easy to keep organized.
    Then I have my “public” email, that I give to everyone, that I use to subscribe to newsletters and where I get a lot of spam too. I made a lot of different folders and I try to check it every day, otherwise the amount of emails sitting there can really become overwhelming. That’s in Oulook.com and I would really love it if Outlook could automatically create a “Newsletter inbox” and a normal “inbox”, to make it easier for me reading throw and not miss, indeed, important emails.

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  • I delete a lot of emails from the in box and designate time for it each day.

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  • Exactly what I do, a lot of deleting and I divided my hotmail account in 18 folders.

    Reply

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