Declutter My Emails – My First Step to a Minimalist Lifestyle

my remote office all set up to declutter my emails

My journey towards a minimalist lifestyle seemed overwhelming at first glance. So I turned to Pinterest and came across a beginners guide to the first 30 days towards minimalism. The starting point is to declutter my emails and so with a bit of research, I’m now the proud owner of a clear and functioning Gmail account. Happy New Year!

Getting Started – I Declutter My Emails

How I wish I’d taken a screenshot of my inbox prior to decluttering! Ultimate chaos. Both my work and personal email inboxes were full of unread emails and read emails from months or even years ago. I often daren’t look at them. I realised very quickly that these emails needed to go. Fast!

Before I could start deleting, I needed to future-proof my inbox, so I never need to declutter my emails again.

Setting up Labels and Categories

My first step was to set up a number of sensible labels and categories in Gmail to allow me to organise the emails I wished to keep. This also helps me to find emails I’m seeking out easily. I’ll be using these to both automatically and manually file the emails I receive. Here are some examples of the labels I’m using:

  • Personal
  • Receipts
  • Social Media
  • Blog
  • Important

Filtering Emails in Gmail

Having set up labels and categories for the emails I wanted to keep I then started to filter my emails. I decided on a few basic rules I would follow for filtering. If I didn’t read the email yet couldn’t unsubscribe to it (such as an antique Yahoo Group I’ve been trying to leave for months), I filtered to mark as read and delete immediately. I don’t even need to consider it then.

If I didn’t read the email yet couldn’t unsubscribe to it (such as an antique Yahoo Group I’ve been trying to leave for months), I filtered to mark as read and delete immediately. I don’t even need to consider it then.

For emails from store mailing lists, that I might want to read, but don’t want them in my inbox, I set a filter to mark as read then archive. That way if I look for them (should I need a code, or to see what’s on sale) I can still access them, but I don’t need to work my way through them.

Order confirmations get marked as read, categorised and labeled as receipts. I can then go in and delete them once I’ve received the order.

Everything else will be dealt with manually.

When adding the filters I could automatically process them on existing emails, which meant less to declutter manually.

Finally, I Manually Declutter My Emails

I then filter my emails to the most important first by changing the inbox style in the settings. I file or delete the emails left and then worked through the rest of the emails. Any mailing lists I’m not interested in I unsubscribe from. If I need to filter a rogue email address, I do so. I keep going until my email looks like this:

An empty inbox after I declutter my emails

You may be wondering how my Gmail looks so pretty. Well, this is an easy trick using the change theme setting. You can add your own image. I think this image is from Wonderlass. I think it is a nice way to cheer up my inbox and hopefully will motivate me to keep it clear!

Have you tried decluttering your emails recently? Do you have any tips or tricks to help me or the other readers? If so please do leave them in the comments. Don’t forget to check out my sustainable living story and see what my journey is all about.

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