Digital Organization, Organization

5 Steps to Declutter Your Inbox

Do you dread looking at you inbox because you have SO many unread emails? Your inbox can be a scary place!

I have been where you are. Email is a powerful way to communicate but it is so easy for it to get overwhelming.

An organized inbox is vital for the success of your business. You don’t want to leave thousands of dollars sitting there in your inbox from hidden leads and client communication.

Let’s go over the 5 steps I used with my own inbox and continue to use with my clients. I have a freebie for you at the end to help you walk through your own decluttering.

Decluttering your email

1. Sign Up for an Unsubscription Service

If you want to keep your inbox under control for the long-haul, you need to make sure you’re only getting the emails you truly need and will read. We all end up with emails we don’t ever read and yet, we never unsubscribe from them. There are a few choices out there to help you for this. I suggest either or Unsubscriber as they are both free.

I strongly suggest hitting “unsubscribe” to more than you think you should. You can always re-subscribe later if you find yourself needing their input.

Plus, as you know, if you’re not their target market they’ll be thankful you unsubscribed.

2. Create New Folders

This step is super simple and quick. What does your inbox look like in your dreams? What folders do you have? In Gmail, they’re called labels. Set them up!

You have no limitations on number of folders, but I would recommend not getting too carried away. Too many folders can get pretty confusing and time consuming as well.

Also, include a folder called “TO SORT”. I’ll explain why next. I also recommend having a “Read & Review” or a “To Read” folder.

3. Set Up Filters

What emails do you 100% know which folder they need to go into without even reading it? Set up those filters. If you don’t know how to set up filters, look in the Help section of your provider or find a YouTube video. Here’s a good one for setting up Gmail filters.

You can set filters up individually by sender or you can set up one filter that covers a group. For instance, you can set up a filter for emails that include “Unsubscribe.” This will catch all of your newsletters. 

You can also set up your filter to exclude certain things. Ex. Include “Unsubscribe” but exclude “amount due.”

4. Move ALL emails from the Inbox into your "To Sort" folder

This step is vitally important for your mental well-being.

This will keep your inbox from visually attacking you every time you log in. It will also help you to continue to set up your filters and to unsubscribe where you need to as you see what comes in every day.

5. Process your "To Sort" folder

This is the longest portion of this project and it will likely take you at least a week or two, depending on how many you have to sort through. Do NOT rush. This is the most important part because it will be much harder to find them if they’re misfiled.

Schedule in 1-2 10 minute bursts every day. Yes, every day. You can find a 10 minute pocket to sort through your “To Sort” folder. Set a timer and get at it.

DO NOT sit and fully read these emails. If you need to read an email in detail, put it in your “Read and Review” folder. This is a time to take a glance at each email and decide which folder to put it in so you can process it later.

I think you’ll be surprised at how many you end up deleting.

Take your time and really think about how you want your inbox set up. How does your brain sort your information?

Take a few minutes and work through the workbook below and then dive in and declutter your inbox!

Katelyn Patton Accountability Coach
5 Simple Steps to Declutter your Inbox

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