I have pockets in my life where I am very organized. And other areas… not so much. Up until this week, my inbox fell into the “not so much” category, and it was driving me crazy.

When I got my new computer, everything was pristine. An empty inbox. And then email from my clients started arriving, and that was great. Easy to deal with.

Then I bought something online and paid with PayPal, and PayPal promotions started arriving my inbox. Okay, I can deal with that [DELETE].

Then I started seeing things I wanted to sign up for – people I wanted to follow… But I’m one smart cookie, and I created a special gmail account to use for all of that. And it worked until I bought their stuff. With PayPal. Because then they had my real email address, and I started getting their newsletters in my real inbox. And that was just the snowball that started down the hill.

Over time, I was getting an avalanche of emails every day. And as I looked at them, I saw they clearly fell into four groups.

  1. Stuff I needed to attend to
  2. Stuff I needed to keep but didn’t need to read
  3. Stuff I wanted to look at later
  4. Stuff I probably didn’t need — but you never know.

Then I created some folders and started making rules. (Let me know if you need a tutorial on how to make rules in Outlook) All those PayPal receipts are now snugly settled in their own little folder. All those newsletters are now in a folder where I can comfortably mine them for helpful information. And all those Facebook notifications? … well, I’m sure you can figure out where they are!

What are your tips for organizing your inbox?