virtual decluttering

At this time of year as the last of the turkey is finished and the empty chocolate boxes and biscuit tins glare accusingly at you across the kitchen most of us say “ENOUGH – there  is too much stuff everywhere.  I need a sort out”  And indeed we probably all do, however there is one kind of sort out you probably haven’t done for a while, if at all, and I guarantee it is the easiest and quite the most satisfying.

We were away for Christmas.  I took my phone and iPad but I left my laptop at home.  Consequently when I turned it on this morning there were thousands of emails waiting to download.  A goodly number went straight into the spam folder but my inbox was still full of stuff I didn’t want to read.  Most of the emails were newsletters from companies I had bought from online or somehow seem to have indicated that I was indeed desperate to receive their regular missives, when that could not have been further from the truth.  The rest were those that had slipped through the assorted spam filters.

So armed with tea and toast and  honey I began the process of gutting my inbox.


There are two options to inbox de-cluttering.  The simplest is to block.  In Outlook (which I use) you simply right-click on the email and select the “block” option.  There are, however, downsides to this option.

  • If you have bought something from Company X and they have automatically put you on their mailing list and you block them, the next time you want to buy from them you won’t get any confirmation emails etc.
  • It doesn’t work for automated mailing lists.

So you have to go for option two.  A little more cumbersome and time-consuming (hence the tea and toast) but much more effective.

Where you have an email from a company or interest group they will most likely have used an automated bulk mailer such as Mailchimp.  Somewhere deep down in the bottom of the email and in a font so small requiring excellent eyesight or very good glasses you will find the unsubscribe option.


Click on this and a hyperlink will open.  Sometimes the message is an automatic “you have been unsubscribed”, sometimes you have to go through a few hoops such as inputting your email address, confirming your desire never to hear from them again.  Almost all ask you to say why you are leaving, this is usually optional and I never bother.  Frankly the options they give are so banal and similar that if there is somebody analysing them they have a very boring job and I’m not going to add to it.

You will probably find your junk mail box suddenly fill up with emails from all the companies who you have asked to remove you from their email lists asking if it was a mistake!  Oh yes, my favourite was from Vintage by Hemmingway (which I like but I don’t need a whole bunch of emails telling me when all their events are around the country when I only want to go to the Festival of Thrift) who asked me if I had perhaps forwarded the email to a friend so that they could share the love and the friend had clicked on the unsubscribe link and inadvertently tried to unsubscribe me by mistake … Really?

Now I have a lovely relatively empty inbox containing only the few emails I need and want.  The added advantage is that when a spammy email sneaks in you can easily spot it and zap it at once!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s