Mosaic / Reviews / April 9, 2014

Email spring cleaning

(Casey Mendoza/TKS)

(Casey Mendoza/TKS)

Hidden tricks and tips for your email provider, email clients such as Mailbox or Inky, or services such as Swizzle Sweeper or make it easier than ever to properly tame your inbox for good.

Like organizing physical objects, one must first sort everything into different categories. Most email providers make this easy with folders. Create different folders for each of your classes, clubs, organizations or even projects.

Folders help keep clutter out of your inbox, while also making emails to search for in the future.

For Gmail, Outlook and Mac users, “smart folders” can even automate folders by looking at the sender, receiver, subject line, etc. of an email. Filter emails sent by professors into folders for specific classes, campus life emails for events, or even the minutes of any organization into folders for specific clubs.

iOS users might want to take advantage of Mailbox, a free mobile application that helps prioritize emails, organizing them into timeframes, rather than categories. Mailbox currently isn’t offered to any other devices, but plans of expansion will soon change that.

For the desktop, Inky is a great alternative to the preloaded email clients that only provide the basic services. Unlike major email providers and clients, Inky’s “Smart View” feature automatically filters emails into personal folders, “Newsletters,” “Daily Deals,” “Social Notifications,” and even “Package Tracking”.

Inky also prioritizes your main inbox, putting personal or work related emails at the top, and keeping promotional or social emails at the bottom.

The problem with download third-party software, however, is that it doesn’t transition well when switching from your desktop to your mobile devices or other computers. Since each system and application is different, emails won’t be uniformly organized.

Thankfully, one can still de-clutter their inboxes without having to download third party software through their browsers.

One surprisingly easy problem to fix is that of spam and email subscriptions. While most email providers now have the ability to recognize and sift out spam, some email subscriptions that you may have signed up to receive still pop up every now and then. Luckily, there are multiple ways to rid your inbox of pesky promotional emails, social media notifications, or newsletters.

The first way is manually and ruthlessly unsubscribing from each separate organization or website. At the bottom of subscription or notification emails, there should usually be a tiny, difficult to read link to unsubscribe from further emails. Lifehacker recommends searching “unsubscribe” in your inbox search bar to filter out the emails you no longer wish to receive.

For Gmail and Outbox users, there is also an “Unsubscribe” option for recognized mailing lists, which simplifies the task to a click of a button. It should be noted, however, that Gmail does not always recognize mailing lists, and social media websites are usually exempt from the option of unsubscribing (in which case, one would have to change their notification settings).

Another way to keep subscription and notification emails out of your mailbox is to use services such as Swizzle Sweeper or Both work by logging into your email account, compiling a list of every email from the past couple of days, and giving users the option to either add the emails to one weekly email (a “sweep” or “rollup”) or unsubscribing from them completely.

It should be noted that for Knox students, the ability to unsubscribe from club emails is even easier, as all clubs and organizations utilize Google Groups to send mass emails to their distribution lists. Simply log into MyKnox, click on the box titled “Groups,” then find the button titled “My groups”. There, a list of all the lists you’re subscribed to will appear, with the ability to “edit memberships” at the top.

This is much easier than emailing club presidents to take you off the list, and less annoying than receiving countless emails from a club you’re not even a part of.

Creating folders, organizing your emails, and purging your inbox of annoying and repetitive emails will take about 10 minutes to half an hour, which is about the length of time the average person spends on high procrastination sites such as Facebook, Reddit, or Tumblr.

Think of it as “productive procrastination,” and revel in your organized, simplified inbox.

Tags:  gmail inbox inky mailbox organize outlook swizzle sweeper

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Casey Mendoza
Casey Mendoza is a junior majoring in political science with a double minor in philosophy and Chinese. This is her third year working for TKS as a photographer and photo editor. Casey also works as a photography intern for the Galesburg Register-Mail. In 2013, she won third place in the Photo Essay category from the Illinois College Press Association. In the Winter and Spring of 2014, Casey will be studying journalism and working in Washington D.C. She manages the YouTube Channel for The Anglerfish Magazine and works as video editor for Question Mark Productions.

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