Get Organized this year by keeping your inbox tidy

We try our hardest to keep our house clean and tidy but sometimes there are other things we don’t pay as much attention to. Your email inbox may not be something that you think about organizing on a daily basis, but trust me, it will make finding and remembering things a lot easier. Here are some of our tips for cleaning out, organizing and preventing some of that e-mail clutter.

1. Create folders and/or smart filters to organize messages that need to be kept for the long term

There are a lot of things that you might need to keep for a long time. Remember that cake recipe that aunt sally emailed you 3 months ago? Create a fold called “recipes”.  Or if you have a friend or family member who is constantly sending you pictures, you can create a folder titles “pictures” or “fred” depending on how it is easier for you to remember what is being saved. One of the most important type of folders to create is an “online orders” folder, this is where you would keep all of your reciepts for things that you may have ordered online, so that you always have record proof should you need to return it. I also like to create a “Bills” folder, this folder is used for when you get confirmation that you have paid some of your bills online. Some more ideas for folders might include: online transactions and receipts; account setups and username reminders; children’s school, sports and health-related messages; tax related; important personal correspondence; emails containing photos, and so forth.

2. Use your address book

Are you guilty of using old email messages to route new ones correctly? Start a new habit of adding people to your address book. Doing so requires no more than a couple of mouse clicks or finger taps and frees you to delete email messages you really don’t need to keep. A good winter weekend project is to sort your inbox by sender, add all wanted contacts to your address book, then mass delete (or file) messages by sender.

3. Delete and file as you go

If you haven’t been as diligent in the past about deleting messages or filing in folders, resolve for the New Year to make a daily habit of both as soon as you read a message or at least once a day or week.

5. Create rules for auto-organizing and filtering

Most email programs also have options for setting up automated rules for filing and organizing messages. Say, for example, you have a beloved aunt who never fails to forward chain emails. You might be too polite to ask your aunt to stop, but you can set up a rule to automatically delete or file any messages arriving from her address. It may take some time to learn how email-filtering works and to refine your rules, but the time you can save in sorting and deleting will be well worth it.

If you don’t know specifically how to do some of the things described above within your particular email program, you can be virtually certain that someone, somewhere has created an Internet tutorial for what you need to know, so put your favorite search engine to work, being sure to specify in your query which email program and specific version you are using.