Cleaning-up my Email – Part 1: Inbox Zero

Email render

My email inbox was, not to put too fine a point on it, a seasonally appropriate horror show. We’re talking 10,000 unread emails and counting. It needed sorting, and some significant changes to be made to get it in order. This process is going to comprise of a number of stages, but the first is getting to Inbox Zero. This means having zero, as few as possible, unread and unsorted messages.

Getting to Inbox Zero

The prospect of sorting through thousands of unread and (mostly) unwanted emails is rather daunting. You really don’t want to go through each one. Luckily, Mailstrom exists. It allows you mass delate based on various criteria such as the sender, the date, the subject, and so on.

Users can test out Mailstrom with a free trial, and there are also three paid plans for longer-term email inbox management. The ‘Basic’ plan costs US$9 per month or US$59.95 for a year. It allows users to load up to 10,000 emails from one account. The ‘Plus’ plan costs US$14 per month or US$99.95 for a year. It allows users to load up to 250,000 emails from up to three accounts. The ‘Pro’ plan costs US$29.95 per month or US$199.95 for a year. There is no limit to the number of emails users can load up, and they can access up to 20 email accounts.

Clearing Out Your Emails

A lot of this initial clear-out is easy. Want to get rid of all your Google Alerts? In ‘Sender’ view click the box next to ‘Google Alerts’ so there is a tick next to it, then click delete. All gone.

Having removed all the things I definitely don’t need, I went through what was left month by month in ‘Time’ view. To make sure you do not delete anything you might want to keep for the future, click on the ‘This Page’ option at the top. This means you can look at each page individually, untick anything you want to keep, then click delete. Everything from that page is deleted, but not everything from the entire month.

Having gone through this process I found it worthwhile spending time in my actual email inbox – Gmail, Apple’s Mail app, or whatever you use, to get a different perspective and see if anything had been missed.

If you make any errors in Mailstrom, don’t panic. There is an undo option at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar. Furthermore, pressing delete only actually sends messages to the Trash when you next go to your email, meaning they are recoverable for a bit longer. (I emptied the Trash once I was happy with what I had left, but you don’t necessarily need to do this.)

Next Steps in Email Inbox Management

While Mailstrom provides a great solution to clear out the initial mess, it’s worth having some systems in place so that you never get there again. That’s what the next articles in the series will focus on.

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