Organizing Tip: Cleaning Out Email Messages

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Overwhelmed with lots of messages in your inbox?

Here’s a few tips to help you get a grip on email:

Actively Maintain Emails

Just as you would tend to a garden regularly to weed out undesirable plants, you must weed or maintain your email messages on a regular basis if you want to keep them under control. How often you maintain your email is up to you: you might want to weed out messages daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Plan on scheduling some regular time to weed out emails and try to keep sessions on the shorter side. Anywhere from 5 to 10 to 15 to 20 minutes is good; four hours straight is a bit much for anyone.

Keep Email Messages Current

Have an ongoing email thread or email chain? Consider keeping the most current email and deleting the rest. For example, you start an email and send it off to someone, then they reply back to you, then you reply back to them, then they reply back to you, and so on. At some point you will have several different emails with similar information. Free up space by deleting older versions of the email chain – why keep multiple copies? Just be sure that the emails you are deleting are older ones (hint: temporarily sort emails by sender to easily see email chains).

Delete Daily Emails Regularly

Done reading a daily news, weather, or other general daily email and don’t need it for reference? Delete it! Try and make a conscious decision to delete these items regularly as soon as you’ve finished with it.

For more email help, check out my other post on Organizing and Maintaining Emails.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.