Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

I do not like to have more than 20 emails in my Inbox at a time. More than that and it's too cluttered for me. I have 12 categories/folders where I can save necessary emails. On the other hand, I go to my husbands personal email account and he has over 500-700 unopened emails in his Inbox at a time. (Hope his work email account is better organized...Have I taught him nothing?) It drives me CRAZY. That is clutter. It is overwhelming and too much. There is an easy way to clean up your email accounts.

I found this great article about DeCluttering Email on

This one is tough to do. It is so easy to file things in email and completely forget about them until your mailbox gets so large that you can’t do anything!

I use Gmail at home and Outlook at work, but the same concepts apply to both.


Reference Folders
I have reference folders set up in both instances. At work, the top folder is called Reference, and underneath I have folders for the letters. (At home I combine letters, A-C; at work, each letter has its own folder).

At home, I use the tag “Reference/[tagname]” to classify my emails. That way I know this is reference material and the tag allows me to search on that folder.

When I need to file something, it goes in the appropriate folder — where I would look for it again. If there are multiple places I might look, I file it in all folders.

Project Folders
For each of my current projects, I have a folder. All emails pertaining to that project get placed in there.

Processing folders
These are places where all my email ends up. Either it goes directly via rules/filters or I pop it in after reviewing it. I have an Action, Print, Waiting For and Read.

Going Through Email

I keep my inbox clean. As I go through my mail, I file it in the appropriate working folder, reference, or throw it out. Please note that I only tackle my email box at work twice a day: 10 am and 1 pm. At home I tackle it once per evening.

Going through the Working Folders
When I am set to work on my email, I go through the working folders. Action may need to have another project folder created. Print is self-explanatory. WaitingFor gets reviewed weekly and acted upon then.

Cleaning Up Reference and Project Folders

I find it essential to keep on top of my email folders. I review the reference folders once every three months or so, purging them as I do my paper files.

Project folders get purged when the project is closed. I delete out email chains, leaving only one copy of each message.


I hope you have found these simple decluttering instructions helpful.

How do you declutter your workspace?

1 comment:

  1. I don't my desk almost looks like the picture in your sidebar. I need help.