Spring Cleaning Your Email’s Inbox

By Conor O’Brien

This article is also published at ChangeTheCompany.com

In the age of spam emails and forced site registration, it is easy to amass hundreds, if not thousands, of unwanted and unread messages in your personal inbox. Whether it’s from a subscription you forgot to cancel or the time you tried to win a new car through an online sweepstakes, the subsequent emails can pose a risk to your security or, at the very least, your peace of mind. 

Shedding the Spam

The task of pouring through hundreds of spam emails is certainly daunting, but there are a couple of simple ways to ease the stress of spam and prioritize important emails.

Utilize a Secondary Email Account

While this may seem like a task in and of itself, an email address solely dedicated to receiving all of the emails that bother your main account will prove to be beneficial almost immediately. Your second email address should be used anytime an account is needed to access a site, enter a giveaway, or play an online game. These actions usually result in daily or weekly newsletter-style emails that clog your inbox and constantly trigger your email notification bell. With a second email account, this kind of spam will be kept away from your primary account, leaving your vital mail to rest on the top of your inbox.

Don’t Interact With Spam Emails

While this may seem obvious, the hazards of interacting with spam emails range from inviting more junk mail to losing personal information to scammers. When you open or respond to junk mail, you are notifying the sender that your email account is active and receptive to what they are sending. This leads to an influx in received mail that does nothing more than clog your inbox. On a more extreme level, interacting with spam emails can leak important information that is not necessary and will jeopardize your security. In all cases, look out for poor grammar, your name missing on the email, and instant requests for information. These are all dead giveaways to the spammer. When you come across one of these emails, check the box next to the email, and click “Report Spam.”

Organize Your Inbox

Whether you are searching for the time of the dinner reservation you booked months ago or the link to cancel your HBO free trial, we have all doom-scrolled through our emails many times over. It’s a task that we accept, and it leads to frustration every time. Luckily, in a short time, one can learn to beat that beast by utilizing a few of your email platform’s tools.

Create Multiple Email Folders

The use of folders within your email will be the most significant change to how you view your inbox. You can put your dinner reservation information in your “Reservations” folder or your HBO subscription in a separate folder with the latest date to cancel. You can decide how to name and organize these folders to determine what works best for you. The process is simple, too. All you have to do is check the box next to the email itself, find the “Move To” option at the top of your screen, and select the desired folder.

Flag/Star Your Important Emails

For emails that are vitally important or that you quickly want to make note of, you can mark them with the flag or star feature. So long as you get in the habit of recognizing it, this will allow you to quickly categorize important emails without taking more than a moment to do so. These emails will be highlighted in your inbox and placed into the star/flag folder to wait for further action. 

Stay Up-to-Date on Your Inbox

The most important step to control your inbox is to keep up on the emails you receive. Failing to do so will bring you back to the all too discouraging task of staring at thousands of unnecessary emails and could lead to missed connections. Ideally, sorting your email every day is best, with weekly as a second option, to prevent the frustration of a cluttered and uncontrolled inbox.

Photo by Justin Morgan on Unsplash

Leave a Reply