True Confession Friday

My name is Char and I have a serious problem with my email inbox.

How serious?



Anybody have a similar problem?

Give me your best tips on taming the email insanity.



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  1. Oh man! Most days I’m lucky if I get two! Ok here are my tips….go through and delete those that are just newsletters or junk. Then focus on potential advertisers. Answer those first. Then go through the rest. You’ll have to probably set aside sometime each day, or choose a day that you can just spend the entire day taking care of email.
    Or hire a personal assistant :)

  2. Julie Lollar says:

    I could use the tips too! Mine is way, way, way worse! Try 113,281! That should make you feel better. I have email dating bake to 2005. :/

  3. You’ve got me beat! I thought 6397 was pretty bad. Looking forward to tips (other than “delete everything and start over”). Same problem in my Google Reader, too.

  4. Julie Lollar says:

    Lol! Back to 2005 I mean!

  5. Holy Cow!! I hate to even leave you a comment because I know it’ll give you an extra email!! Good luck – sounds like you need to lock yourself in a room with you and your email and knock it out….

    Definitely set up filters to prioritize incoming messages. Delete ad emails that come every day, and then filter blog comments to one area and personal emails to another!
    Or set up another email account and forget this one exists and start fresh.

  7. Do you have a “junk” mail account? I use gmail for legitimate correspondence, bills, communication and then a yahoo account for the non-important stuff. I clean out the yahoo account every couple months or so. Good luck!

  8. Your inbox looks like mine used to… I was subscribed to so many newsletters, coupon things, daily devotionals, website updates etc that it was taking over! I finally had to create a new email address to be used for correspondance (with real people!) and important stuff ONLY. I still access the old one. Try it!! It will save your brain!

  9. I like to have an almost empty email box. It is a habit I forced myself into since I get 100s of actual work emails a day and it is hard to keep track otherwise.

    I create labels (folders) in Gmail to help sort through the items and organize. At least once a day, I throw everything in the appropriate folder. Comments and questions from readers get their own folder. Since I’m not a huge blogger they are answered at least every other day. I hate seeing emails add up in the email box. I also have a junk mail box that is used for all the times I have to sign up for something. I don’t want my regular email box full of crap.
    Good luck!

  10. Oh my gosh, that is alot of emails! ok, here’s what I would do;
    1 – Sort by name
    2 – Delete stuff you don’t need. It will be easier now that it is sorted by name. Don’t keep emails that will have the info recorded elsewhere, like an update from your bank. It will be on your bank statement.
    3 – Create files for stuff you don’t want to delete, & file everything that you have answered or dealt with.
    4 – Answer teh remaining emails that need an answer, then file them.
    5 – .Go through your emails & read/file/delete every day, or at least every week.

    Good Luck!

  11. Holy Smokes!! I say, just start over!! I don’t really get THAT many emails in my inbox, but I have started spamming all the store emails I get. Every few days I look over my spam and see if any of the headlines catch my eye, if they don’t, I just hit the “delete all spam”!! That has helped me out a lot!

  12. looking at that makes me dry heeve just a bit. Yuck!

    One word – Delete! Start fresh! If it’s important enough, they will try – try – try again.

    Good luck!

    How many accounts do you have set up? Compartmentalizing would be great too!

    But delete first!

  13. I treat it like my household papers.

    -Sort first (keep, trash, action)
    -FILE the keep ones. Create folders and start filing away! I have blog, family, photo, sewing, crafting, embroidery, school, household, work, friends, travel, invitations, appointments. I have SUBFOLDERS for certain subjects. I.E. school (newsletters, each child, events, PTO) household (car, house, lawn), online purchases (shipping, paypal, receipts)
    -TRASH all uneeded emails right away. Tuck spam emails right away so they don’t clutter up your box!
    -ACTION I leave all the emails I need to take action in my main inbox. As soon as I do the action, I either trash or file.

    I had a number like that at work when I returned from maternity leave. Please do tell how you managed to rack that amount up!!!!

  14. Well you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to answer them all (I am guessing many are from readers?) You have a life, right? Lol. Ditto the others though – unsubscribe from as much crap as you can and that will rid yourself of a ton right off the bat. Either way sounds like somebody needs to spend their Friday night in front of the puter! ;)

  15. Oh…and I have blog separate from my normal email. Gmail is ONLY for blog and I have folders. Giveaways (subfolders for each one), comment replies from other blogs, my blog comments (I try to respond as soon as possible to file them away), etc.

    And I don’t have sponsors, but if I were you, I would create a file and start sorting them out.

    Oh…and everyonce in awhile I spend a day DELETING out the folders on both of my email accts!!!

  16. Jessica Miller says:

    hehe :) this is hilarious. I’m a big believer in deleting unneeded emails as they come in, and archiving “conversations” as soon as the conversation is over. But since it’s too late to do all that…I’d say:

    1- SELECT ALL.
    2- uncheck recent emails that you know you need to respond to. These will stay in your inbox.
    3- archive the checked items. then at least they’re out of your inbox :)

  17. Hey there,
    You need to archive what you want
    Mass delete – for example if you are on the mailing list for Land’s End, search for Land’s End, Select All, and say good-bye!

    Good Luck!

  18. Oh my word, Char! That is an insane amount of emails!!! I also do the folders thing, organize it to sponsors, work, stuff to save that I don’t want to look at all the time, etc. I like to keep mine to 50 or less or it bothers me. But just like a lot of others are saying, I unsubscribe to things like crazy.

  19. I sort by sender, delete junk, spam, and forwards first. Then go through possible money ventures – advertisers in your case, commission sales, whatever. Respond to those first, by latest date forward. Delete family crap, chances are someone already told you or facebooked you.

  20. 6630, and that just one of many email addresses I have. I am a slave to this computer. Obviously I don’t really have the answer you’re looking for. One is to be brutally honest with yourself about what emails lists you really need to be on, and unsubscribe unsubscribe unsubscribe. And don’t subscribe to begin with.
    I think it would be nice if bloggers could resist the temptation to blog daily and only blog weekly, and only say really important stuff. I regret unsubscribing to blogs of people whose posts I occasionally like. I think I’d like an option to see a monthly recap of their posts and just open the ones that really seem interesting. I think I also need to get over the idea that someday I might need or want the info in an email. I need to be more realistic about what I really do value in life. Same goes for the stuff in my house. I’m always thinking, “I might need that someday….” Good luck. I know how you feel.

  21. Start by turning off notifications on Facebook, Twitter, and the Blog. In all likelihood, you are checking those regularly anyway.

    If any of them are blog feeds, use a reader instead.

    Since you’re using Gmail, start taking advantage of those labels and filters. Create labels for newsletters and have them filter there directly, so you can come back to them later when you have time (ha!). Also, create labels for each type of bill (mortgage, credit cards, electric, etc.) and filter those as well. You can also create folders for family, friends, and blog friends and answer them in priority.

  22. I’m pretty sure gmail has filters. while it won’t lower the number of emails, you can have them sort themselves as they come in. It may be a slow process to get set up perfectly but may be worth it.

  23. Well, between my three emails I have over 110,000 so don’t feel too bad. honestly, I hate throwing virtual emails away, because I never know when I’m going to need it. Even the ‘ad newsletters’. For once I had decided to buy a subcription to a website, and knew I had subscribed to the newsletter so I searched for it to see if there was any valid discounts, and there was! I saved 25% just for never throwing an email away!

  24. 1. Unsubscribe, man. I recently did this and it drastically reduced the amount of e-mail I receive. I’m not getting anywhere near the quantity of e-mails you get but it still makes a difference.

    2. Filters- These are your best friend. I wouldn’t even go with a complicated system. Have folders for Urgent, Deal With Soon, and Can Wait.

    3. I really have no problem with bloggers that I love posting once in a while that they love me but need to clear out their e-mails so if it’s a really important question or comment, send them another e-mail and try to understand if they can’t get back to me right away.

    4. You’re awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing. We’re not going anywhere. : )

  25. This isn’t anything I’ve had to deal with, but my husband is working through crazy amounts of work email using tactics he found on … A way to keep your inbox at zero, obviously :-) Maybe check it out and see if it will work for you?

  26. Ditto on losing any email blog subscriptions and switching to a Reader (I like Google’s, too). You can organize your blogs by type within Reader, too, for even more streamlining.

    Ditto also on turning off notifications, or at least filtering them out of your Inbox. Then you can read & delete later. Filters are your friend.

  27. YIKES! Check out yesterday’s post on Brooke devoted a whole post to this very topic with suggestions from other top bloggers with this same issue. Hope it helps. Good luck!

  28. Delcare email bancrupcy and delete it all. Then start fresh with the above suggestions. :)

  29. Funny you mention ’cause I was just saying to the hubs, like last night, how I can’t keep up with my email and I don’t know how big blog girls do it. I need some sort of system!

  30. Seeing your inbox makes me feel privileged to have gotten an answer from you yesterday – and in the same day I wrote it!!! :)

  31. Hit the delete button. I get so many emails, I dont read even half of them. I go through them and delete, delete, delete. Joke emails – delete. Subscription emails – delete. Anything that is not some someone I know or does not have a catchy title delete! Between my work and home I get way too many to read.

  32. Oh man, my OCD just came out. I keep nothing in my inbox. I organize everything into folders once I have responded. Yes, it is kind of an illness. :) I reguarly organize my e-mail, my moms and just about everyone else’s in my family. Like I said, I have a problem…;)

  33. HOLY CRAP!!!!!!

  34. I have three different email accounts. One for friends and general stuff, one for more serious stuff, and one for newsletters, blogs etc.
    first thing to do to declutter is review the senders – any email you come across that you always skip over… just stick on your block list. Any that are personal or important, star so they stay up top where you can find them easily. Adding a secondary email for the stuff that you need to to read or actually WANT to read will help… you’ll find yourself visiting the ‘junk’ email account less and less as your main contacts get rerouted to the new account.
    Another tip is to check your junk mail settings.

  35. Get someone you trust to go in and organize it for you. I bet there are a lot of people that would do it as a trade for a few crafties.

  36. I didn’t read through all the comments but if you have a bunch of newletter type emails, you can unsubscribe to them. Just open them and scroll to the bottom of the email. There should be a link that you just click to unsubscribe. I’ve had to do that a bit with mine lately.

  37. That is the EXACT number of emails in my inbox! I have a problem . . . .

  38. I always wondered why Google brags about how much space they give you for email. Now I know. haha. xoxo

  39. Mine reads 1028, but that only tells 1/2 the story in gmail. That’s the ‘unread’ number. Look to the right side and see the total amount of e-mails lurking: that number for me is 4143. I would follow some of the previous advice. Unsubscribe to a ton of newsletters, create labels and folders in which to archive your messages, and periodically ‘cull’ old e-mails by using the search for sender’s address. You’d be amazed at how much junk email arrives under the sender name of ‘newsletter’ or ‘info.’ GOOD LUCK!!

  40. I had the same situation, though on a much smaller scale. My solution may seem counter-intuitive at first, but bear with me. I scanned my inbox for important messages (from close friends, my bank, etc), read those and ignored the rest. Then I opened four NEW accounts. One if for my family and friends, one is for my ebay/Craigslist selling, one is for coupon sign-ups (that one is spam central!), and one is for internet posting and random misc. This way my messages are automatically sorted and I only have to look through the types of messages that I want. Best of luck to you!!!

  41. I bet 7,000 of them are from me.

  42. Sarahbeth says:

    Lol that looks likemy inbox did. I cleared it out bysittingmy but down and sorting thriugh all of it. It was a pain but it was worth it, most of the emails i had read but not deleted because i thought they were “important” i realizee werent rally important. I unsubscribed from all thestore newsletters. And then i changed my settings so all unread messeges sit at the top of the in box, once you read it it goes down to the bottom.then when i clean out again the email is sortes by read vs unread. It just makes things easier. Good luck

  43. Mine used to always be out of control and like you I refused to just delete all. Then I read somewhere that a quick way to get back on track is to create a folder for each year and move the old email over to their folder. It gave me some peace of mind that they were still there, but I’ll admit I still haven’t gone back and looked at them. Then I made a point of every day unsubscribing to stuff as it came in and now I’m in a much better place. Still not perfect, but rarely does my inbox get over 100 now. And that makes my head feel much better. ;)

  44. Change you settings on Facebook and twitter so you don’t get an e-mail for every. single. thing. that happens…you get notified when you log in anyway!

  45. Along with the above heres my suggestion. Several years ago I had a similar problem. I set up a new second account. To my actual friends and family I sent an email letting them know the new email account. A lot of mine were ads for things I’d never actually want (like enlargements for body parts I don’t actually have or drugs I wouldn’t want to take) and were deleted. The newsletters I’d signed up for and really still wanted, I changed my email address in their preferences. The ones I’d signed up for just a a contest or a particular something, I went in and cancelled.

  46. If you use google Chrome (which you should) you should get the Boomerang by Baydin extension. You can basically archive messages and tell them when to “boomerang” back into your inbox (like, when the message is relevant & you can actually reply to it in 2 weeks) rather than letting it sit in your box staring at you every day. You can also schedule emails to be sent in the future. The last feature is that if someone doesn’t reply to you in X number of days it’ll either send them the message again or it’ll re-appear in your inbox to remind you to tend to it.

  47. Every so often I go through and “Unsubscribe” to those things that I don’t want/like anymore…things I have grown away from or just don’t read. Really helps thin things out, and also makes room for some new creative newsletters that I find. ;)

  48. Hi! I have gmail and you can have things filtered into categories or have them be mark as read. I also use google reader to follow blogs, so I don’t get individual e-mails. Hope this helps! Starting with a fresh e-mail might be a little less daunting too, so you can make one for personal and one for “junk.”

  49. I have three email accounts. One gets checked every day the rest every week. I have one for newsletters and subscriptions, one for social sites (facebook, pinterest, twitter) and one for work/friends/family. Obviously this won’t work for everyone.

    Something else that would work is the dang spam button!!!! I love that button!!! :-)

  50. I wish I had help. I’ have over 5000 myself. I don’t even know where to begin.

  51. Mine’s sitting at 12 700, so I’m not one to offer advice, but my hubby is an inbox clean freak. He deals with most emails immediately, either deleting or filing them in an appropriate folder if they need to be save. He has subfolders within each category, too. Then, every weekend, he goes through his inbox again to handle anything that might have been overlooked or left during the week. Good plan, but I can’t seem to follow it like he does.

  52. I need to read the other comments, but first my thoughts. I turn off all emails for facebook, pinterest, whatever sends me notifications when someone comments. Facebook there are WAY too many. I see my wall and my messages all by myself and rarely write on walls b/c then I know pe ople will comment there and I’ll forget to go back. Do you get a lot of junk? that is a lot of emails, but I just try to keep on top of it. I don’t like to read on my phone b/c I can’t figure out how to “mark as unread” which I keep things “unread” until I follow through or reply.

  53. Rebecca Foxworth says:

    First, sort by sender. There’s a whole crapload of people in there you can delete right away.
    Second, set the timer for 15 minutes and start deleting whole segments of mail (by sender). It’s pretty safe to say that, while CVS coupons are great, all the expired ones can just be trashed. Now.
    Third, set up a few mail folders. “Coupons” seems good. Also, “Bills”, “Recipes”, “Write Back”. Heck, whatever categories of e-mails you save “just in case”.
    Third, sort by date again and go through today’s e-mails. Delete or act on the e-mails. Or at least sort them into folders.
    Tomorrow, do another 15 minutes of deleting by sender, and process and act on tomorrow’s e-mails. You know, so you don’t get more and more behind and stuff.
    The next day, do the same.
    By the end of the week, notice what you’re consistently deleting without reading. Open THOSE as you get them, and unsubscribe.
    Easy peasy. Okay, excruciatingly, mind-numbingly boring. But do-able. I should know. I used to regularly top 4500 e-mails before I got around to them. Now, I have less than 200 in all my folders combined.

  54. Try over 28K :p

  55. Hahaha! No suggestions from me….. since I have the SAME problem ……but thought I would stop by to try and get some tips too!! Bring ‘em on!!

  56. gmail is great with labels and rules! You should setup filter rules to have gmail automatically assign appropriate labels to some of your emails, and move them out of your inbox. You can always go back and look at just the items with a particular label.

    Good luck with it!!
    ~ Meagan

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