Mailbox Hygiene

Hygiene is important, right? It is important for mind, body, and your email in-box. If you have thousands of emails, cleaning them out may seem an impossible task. But it’s important to know what you have, and where to find it if you need it. Here are some steps you can take to start this process:

  • Delete all messages in your trash. You put them there for a reason, so delete them!
  • Delete all messages in your junk mail (after reading through them to make sure they’re really all junk).
  • Use the search box to get a list of senders whose emails you know you don’t need anymore (e.g. reminders), and delete a large group all at once.
  • Make folders to organize the emails in your in-box. For business email, you can organize by client, or by topic (e.g. taxes). For personal email, you can organize by family member, or by topic (e.g. vacation).
  • Start with the oldest emails first – they are the most likely to be so important that you kept them (and can go into a folder) or so outdated that you can move them to trash.
  • Work in chunks – it may be too much to clean your entire email inbox in one sitting.
  • When you’re done with a cleaning session, delete all messages in your trash again.