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:
- Social Media
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:
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!