Today I Decluttered My Inboxes

windows mailI have multiple email identities. There’s a “household” one. One for my writing. And one for our foreclosure/rental work. I get a LOT of emails. I try to keep everything organized and have folders and files for various topics/properties/books/ manuscripts etc. Yet, I still accumulate hundreds (if not, thousands) of unfiled emails – from friends, family, websites I’ve ordered from etc.

It’s not like they clutter up my house. They’re virtual! But they do clutter up my inboxes. They do exist. For example, the more I have, the longer it takes to restore from a computer crash. As such, they weigh on my mind (a bit).

Last week I made an effort to delete as many of them that I no longer need as possible. It was a pain and I’m not fooling myself that I did an exhaustive job. I can’t, for example, bring myself to delete any of the emails from when my nephew died, almost eight years ago. They stay there as a shrine to the agony of that period in our lives. Why is that?

Anyway, I feel that I did a decent job and am creating a strategy to try and keep my emails under control going forward by implementing the following:

– I flagged the email in each inbox where I left off. Everything older than it has been, supposedly, kept for some reason or another. I’m not saying I won’t go back over them, some day, and delete more. But, for now, I only have to keep things under control from that email forward. Having the flag there makes it easier to do this.

– every time a thread “expires” and I no longer need the related emails, I will delete them. So, after our Easter get together was over on Sunday, I deleted all the emails that had been flying back and forth about who was coming, when, what we were bringing, and all the post get together “thank yous”. Likewise, after a gift card I’ve ordered arrives, I can delete the related emails (order confirmation, shipping notice, delivery confirmation, etc.).

– every time a folder “expires”, I will go through and purge emails or the entire folder, if possible, itself. For example, I used to keep a folder for school carpooling. There were emails with contact info, schedules, days when someone’s kids wouldn’t need a ride, etc. I haven’t been carpooling for almost two years, now. Delete! Likewise, I’ll be deleting the Lacrosse folder I’ve kept for the past few years. Rachel isn’t playing lacrosse this year. Likewise, her Lifeguarding folder. She went to the dermatologist last week and he didn’t like the mole on her back she brought to his attention. The pathologist didn’t like it either. I am trying not to get too worked up about it. She’s having more excised when she gets back from spring break (in the hot Mexico sun, no less). In any event, last year’s summer job will be the first and only life guarding one!

I have to admit, I feel better about my inboxes now!

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