Two - declutter messages. DECLUTTER FOLDERS. If you have email folders set up (and you should) tackle those first. Open each folder and delete old messages. In fact, delete entire folders if they are no longer relevant. Consolidate two or more folders if they have similar contents. Rename folders to make them more self-explanatory. Keep in mind that life situations change over time so expect to update folders in the future as well. Next, DECLUTTER THE INBOX. List messages either chronologically or by certain search parameters so that groups of similar emails can be managed together. Decide whether to delete, keep & file, or save to an action folder. Be ruthless and trust that there are many ways to recreate data. Be aware that deleted messages are usually sent to the deleted items folder, which needs to be emptied regularly. Some email applications offer the option to empty the deleted items folder upon closing the program.
Three - synchronize emails across all devices. By this I mean that if you read email on the phone as well as on a laptop or tablet, use the same application so that the folders are consistent and there is no redundant work. There’s nothing more frustrating (and confusing) than unnecessarily handling emails more than once among different email applications.
Four - create rules within the email application that will automatically move recurring messages directly to their relevant folders where you can read them at your leisure. This will decrease unnecessary inbox clutter. Be mindful of rules, though – it’s easy to forget them and wonder why certain emails are seemingly lost!
Five - archive old emails. I cannot stress enough that unnecessary emails should be culled. However, if there are groups of emails that likely will only be needed in case on legal proceedings, then archiving is the best option. Basically archiving moves emails to another device or folder so that they are not seen in the inbox but can be retrieved in an emergency.
In sum, be patient with your efforts. This process may take a few sittings if you are trying to declutter and organize thousands of messages. In the future, practice making quick decisions when dealing with emails. Delete one-offs. Report spam as such. Admit that you will never go back to read those saved messages. Repeat the above five steps regularly to keep email under control. You never know when a meltdown might strike but by taking proactive steps you will minimize the stress and work involved.