Running Toward: Decluttering Emails.

Every year around Christmas, my husband and I go on a purging frenzy. The kids have new stuff to play with, it’s usually too cold to go outside for long periods of time and after the upchuck that is the Christmas spirit, we both want nothing more than to clear some space in our lives.

We go through everything from clothes, books, toys, anything put away in a box. Basically, nothing is off-limits and everything is at risk of being thrown into the “trash”, “giveaway” or “donate” pile. We try to do this a few times a year but Christmas seems to be when we have the most motivation to unleash the purging beast within.

This year was no exception. It never fails to astound me the stuff we find and wonder how in the heck we held onto it for so long. Ugh…it’s embarrassing but alas, we’re getting better at clutter control.

Last year, I started a practice of decluttering my emails. Friends…this was no easy task. Drinking a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot seemed less daunting but I was determined and I dove right in. The posttramatic stress of going those the sheer number of email accounts, let alone sorting through the spam for reciepts, registrations, passwords I needed to keep track of (don’t even get me started on the number of password reset emails I have…) don’t allow me to remember exactly how long it took to go through everything but it was a long time. A really. Long. Time.

*weeps softly*

The end result was a breath of fresh air. Not to mention a butt load of memory space available once everything was organized and purged.


This year, I’m tackling this beast again and thought I’d share some of what I will be doing in case anyone else feels dumb enough inspired to do the same.

  1. Schedule the time: Don’t dive into this kind of project thinking you’ll tinker at it here and there. Devote a chunk of uninterrupted time, grab a bottle of wine cup of coffee and go hard.
  2. Unsubscribe. From ev-er-y-thing: Think junk mail is a pain? Try wrapping your head around the fact that about 90% of your junk mail is a collection of newletters you signed yourself up for. Maybe it’s daily inspiration, maybe it’s a fitness tip or maybe you needed an email address to make an online purchase. Whatever the reason, you’ve been ignoring those follow ups for long enough. Go through and as painstaking as it may be, start unsubscribing and deleting. Unless you have diligently read every single thing that has come from that mailing list, you don’t need it so get rid of it. Trust me, if you miss it that much, you can re-subscribe but see how you feel after a few weeks of minimal bombardment in your inbox. I think you’ll like the taste of freedom.
  3. Merge multiple accounts: This is a new one for me this year. Mostly because I’m tech-dense and never thought to do it before. I have multiple accounts for various things from blog stuff, to work stuff to personal. I have them all set up to filter into two accounts. I can still write as though from each individual account but I only have two merged accounts to check for emails. Brilliant! The only hard part is remembering to change your “from” email address when you reply to someone. That’s a goal for 2016. Let’s not stress ourselves out too much about it now.
  4. Don’t keep what you don’t need: This is a tough one. Think it’s hard to get rid of “stuff” in your house. It seems to be even harder to get rid of emails. We are creatures of habit and one of our worst habits is that we love to hang onto stuff as though our life depended on it. Some stuff absolutely should be held onto and treasured. That email telling you that such-and-such was the worst movie ever made? Probably not one of them.
  5. Repeat the process a couple of times per year: Even as I prepare to dig through this process again, I’m already anticipating it will take a bit of time. No where near as much as last year but it’s still a process. But believe me when I say that it is so worth it! It frees up all kinds of time in your day that you would otherwise be spending checking and ignoring the constant buzz of emails coming into your inbox(es).

Now go forth and start deleting!

2 thoughts on “Running Toward: Decluttering Emails.”

  1. I was remarking to a friend this weekend how I am not overwhelmed by emails. And I couldn’t figure out why but I think you nailed it with your suggestion of combining multiple accounts. I no longer have multiple accounts and it seems I’m getting less email spam type stuff than ever before

    1. Between the merging and unsubscribing, my email has become a place of near-bliss. Mostly because it’s quiet most of the day now 🙂

      I wonder if the same would work if I merged my children…

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