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Email organization

By Ryan Lee • Nov 7, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Do you have problems staying on top of the never-ending flow of email to your inbox? A surprising number of people do, including me. I have problems finding a particular email, keeping it all organized and deciphering the valid emails from the junk.

It seems like no matter what I do the inbox always is overflowing. Not being able to find an email is the final straw. I’ll spend hours upon hours finally take the time to clean it all up.

This can be incredibly time-consuming. Whether you are the type who never deletes an email or someone who never finds time to clean up, here are some tips to help you out.

The most important rule to remember is, you can’t be afraid to delete old email.

I know, I have been there. You think you might need something later. But nine times out of 10, you won’t ever look at it again. If, after you read it and there is nothing for you to do, you need to either send it to someone else or delete it.

If it is nothing anyone else would care about, then odds are you don’t need it. If you get a lot of automatic replies such as vacation messages or even sales emails, you don’t need those. Remove them now before they take over your inbox.

Advertising emails are the easiest to get rid of, but because of how many I get, they are a major problem. Just delete them when you see them, so they won’t clutter up your inbox.

When you are at a store checking out and the salesperson asks for your email address, tell them that you don’t have one. This will save your inbox from getting bombarded with newsletters and spam from retailers. More often than not, signing up for these “spam” emails will get you nothing more than a bunch of junk email. It seems that everywhere to go, they want your email address. Take it from me, don’t give it out. If you do, you will be sorry.

One of the best ways that I have found to keep my email organized and structured is to create folders and set up rules to automatically move emails into those folders. Depending on the mail client or kind of webmail you use, there is a way to create folders and set up automatic rules for emails. You can set them up to grab a type of email of your choice and to automatically move them into a folder you indicate. You could have a folder for personal emails. You could set up one for work, and ones for such things as newsletters. The key is not to get too fancy. The more folders you create, and the more intricate you make the folder structure, the harder it will be to find emails and to maintain your rules.

There is no magic number for folders. You will have to figure out what works best for you. Remember that you can also drag emails from other folders or the inbox into the folders you create.

The last piece of advice I have is to delete more emails.

If you have kept an email for more than a month and haven’t looked at it again, chances are you will not need it and can safely remove it.

Another area to find unneeded emails is sent items. Don’t forget to check there. This is where every sent email you have sent is stored. People often forget to clean up this folder. I would start with the oldest emails and work your way through to the newer ones.

Another great tip is to take the few seconds to unsubscribe from email that you often receive but never read. There's no need to put these in a folder, simply scroll to the bottom of that email and select unsubscribe. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can start getting organized when doing something so simple.

Once you organize your email, you might even experience better performance out of your email client or webmail.

Ryan Lee is the IT director for the Sandusky Register and Norwalk Reflector. He can be reached at [email protected]

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