When I think of clutter, I tend to think of physical clutter that I can see on a daily basis. However, there’s also a lot of virtual clutter that can take up our time and space. As I journey through my 31 Days of Simple challenge, I’ve been working to make my online world more simple as well. One of the areas I’ve been working on is my email inbox. Today, I thought I’d share a few of my tips for decluttering your email inbox.

My email inbox is an area that has gotten a bit out of control since Baby Fox was born. It’s so easy to get caught up in my busy day and let the emails pile up as a result. The tips I’m sharing below are ones that I’ve had a lot of success with in the past. They are also the tips I’m using right now to get back to an email inbox that is clutter free.

Get rid of the junk.
The first step is to delete anything that you don’t want. I start by looking at the subject and who an email is from before I ever open it. There are many that get deleted without being opened. These are what I call “junk” in my inbox. It’s quite a bit different from the junk that goes to the spam folder.

Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.
If I notice that I’m deleting emails from the same source over and over again, then I open one of them and hit “unsubscribe” so that I don’t get future emails from this same source. After I get my inbox in order, I also use the unsubscribe button to keep my inbox in order. In a world where everyone has an email list with amazing opt-ins, it’s easy for our inboxes to get overfilled. One of the easiest ways to keep your inbox clean is to unsubscribe from those lists that no longer serve you.

Organize what’s left.
After you’ve deleted the junk and unsubscribed from unnecessary lists, it’s time to organize what’s left. This is where the folder feature of your inbox is helpful! Set up folders based on things you want to save, take care of, and organize in various ways. Then, start filing away those emails!

Pencil it in.
I used to be bad about checking my email throughout the day. This wasted a lot of time as I sorted through and read emails throughout the day. I also found that I didn’t always take care of things because I could “get to it later.” Eventually, I started setting aside a specific time of day to check in with my email inbox (typically once in the morning and once in the evening). Since the time is set aside just for dealing with emails, my inbox stays more organized and things get handled quicker. (This is a system I’m working on getting back to now that Baby Fox is developing more of a schedule.)

There are so many ways to keep an email inbox in order. I’d love to hear how you keep yours under control!