Spruce up your mailbox


We’ve probably all been guilty of neglecting our emails at some point. Think about it – right now, how bad is your inbox? How many unread messages do you have screaming your name?

An overflowing inbox can feel overwhelming and affect your productivity, or cause you to avoid tackling them all together! Everyone has their own way of managing their email, some structured and some not so much but no matter your style, we’ve scoured the web to find some handy tips to help you battle that inbox and start fresh.

 Tip #1: Sweep up

If you haven’t read each and every email by now, what’s the chance that you ever will? You may not necessarily need to read certain emails but you do need to have them saved, just in case. So sweep them up into folders rather than having tem sitting in your inbox – it’s a lot quicker and way more efficient.

When you do a clean-up, run a search and move a bunch of emails into that folder – its way quicker than doing them one-by-one! However, anything that needs my attention is to stay in my inbox until actioned – think of filing emails away as a tick on your checklist. It’s the ultimate satisfaction those of you who love a good list!

Tip #2: Unsubscribe

It’s time to take your name off those lists that you haven’t read in forever. Luckily for us you’re reading blogs right now! If you haven’t read it in the last 3 months chances are you won’t in the months to come.

The Apple new IOS makes this even easier with unsubscribe in the header. We all know you subscribe for a reason but even if it’s your favourite shop don’t be afraid to unsubscribe for now and come back later.

Tip #3: Out with the old

Do you find yourself hovering over that delete button and just not being able to do it! If you haven’t needed an email or referred to it recently memory – make space and remove it or place it in a folder so it’s safe for reference later.

If you come across an e-newsletter or mailing lists that you know you won’t need, organise your email by title or sender, or run a search and delete or move them all at once. You feel better already, right?

If you aren’t quite ready to make the big move, create a folder called “Later” and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Tip #4: Organise the new


Now that you’ve swept up and taken out the trash, you may like to create mailbox rules so that your incoming emails are sorted automatically!

For those daily reports you get at work but don’t need to look at until later, you can create a rule that will send them straight to a nice little folder for easy access when needed. You should be able to do this with almost all email accounts but Outlook and Gmail are pretty good at allowing you to do this seamlessly.


To make things simple, there are generally 3 types of emails:

  • Business – all thing work.
  • Personal comms – emails from Nanna Jan, incoming bills, and those online shopping receipts you are keeping hidden.
  • Bulk emails- those newsletters, business promotions and mailing lists you may want to be in but don’t always get time to sit back, relax, and read.  Why not create separate files for each of these types of emails, or maintain 3 different email accounts – it will come down to what works best for you.

If you work by topic, think about creating folders by key word, e.g.“Bills”. If you sort by time you may prefer to create folders by year or month, e.g. “2016,” “2017”. Now they’re out of the way, but not deleted, you can start fresh.


Labels are your best friend! Outlook and Gmail utilise these well and allow you to group related messages. Remember – the difference between folders and labels is that a message can have multiple labels but only one folder. These labels can be brightly colour-coded for easy reference (and of course to jazz up your inbox).

Tip #5: Plan for later

Are you guilty of leaving emails on your phone screen or setting reminders on your phone so you don’t forget to reply? I sure am!

There is a pretty neat plugin called Boomerang for Outlook and Gmail that will allow you to schedule an email to disappear and reappear later when you have the time to respond. Now that’s convenient!


Now it’s your turn! Give it a go and let us know how you went downsizing your unread mail. Or, if you have a great tip for staying on top of your emails, share it in the comments!


  1. S Mueller says:

    Wonderful suggestions! Keep them coming…..

  2. M curran says:

    My samsung has told me my spam filters are full ive had over 400. on my laptop i mark them junk but they still come over to my mobile where i can only delete im thinking about uninstalling my email off my mobile will that work

  3. Lyn and Tom Broadhurst says:

    A HUGE inspiration. A lateral way of thinking. Now all I have to do is get to work. Thank you, Erin. My injured foot tells me to sit and do this task.

    • Erin Kavanagh says:

      Hi Lyn & Tom,
      While you’re resting this is the perfect opportunity to get started on that inbox!
      Let me know how you go!
      – Erin

  4. Cheryl Keane says:

    Great tips, just wish my husband would take note of some of them.

  5. gary says:

    Very limited control of fonts an font size is a drag. Yor email is limited, in that I can’t put stuff in floders. I know it is a basic email service, but a bit more usability would go down well.

  6. Gloria Caulfield says:

    You told us what to do, but never how to do it.How can all the unwanted advertising emails be blocked?

  7. Lawrence Sjoberg says:

    Thanks for info!!!

  8. Michael Poli says:

    This is a query but the article is good.
    How does one get rid of -permanently delete off the server, files that have been sent to the trash/deleted items and deleted from there?? Every time I try to delete the contents of the deleted items folder in Outlook, they just all reload!!

  9. Janice Hall says:

    it is OK to say what to do but most of us have no idea how to do any of it

  10. Philip Robinson says:

    I’m definitely guilty in this area. Will endeavour to clean up my act.

  11. John says:

    How can I BLOCK an unwanted supplier/junk mail/ spam, from my iiNet email account. .?
    I know I can change my iiNet account to Outlook to perform this action, but that’s a lot of trouble notifying all my contacts. It should be possible from within iiNet.

  12. allan says:

    You did not mention about all the spam mail that comes in ???

  13. Since I have used your system for a number of years BEFORE IINET took over from OZEMAIL (as shown by that fact) and since my GMC computer with WINDOWS XP is easily EIGHT YEARS old, we are sort of rather “long time” associates! My age is now over NINETY and am getting “slow”!

    Thank you for your help and patience for so long. Best wishes for your future prospeity.

  14. Andrew says:

    There is no reference above to what happens when one places an email in the SPAM folder in iiNet webmail. It would be interesting to know what iiNet is doing with the aid of the folder to reduce spam, and in other ways too.

  15. Eva Ady says:

    We still have tiny print for emails and its a disgrace that Westnet are not prepared to help. I have been a customer for 20years. The only way to make it larger is to highlight a letter and then tap the ‘enlarg’ sign. Come on west net this never happened until recently when I got a new lap top and use chrome, my lap top is a HP. Please pull out your thumb and help a 69 year old client. Eva Ady

  16. paul J robertson says:

    love these tips and will implement a few

    many thanks

    ps and they are in “plain english”!!

  17. Don Munro says:

    I think you forgot “Check your spam file”

  18. Gabrielle Fenoglio says:

    In my junk mail I am receiving too many commercial ads as well as disgusting “girlie”
    ads. Even after blocking these mail sites they are still coming through. How can I stop this. I don’t know how my email address ended up on these sites, also when blocking it says “can’t block your own email address”. Please help,

  19. Jason says:

    If iiNet fixed their spam filter it would help a lot. It’s only been 8 years and still doesn’t work the way it should. I’ve complained about it half a dozen times and still get the same response… ït’s been looked in to”. When marking an email as spam, it should flag ALL future emails from that address as spam, it doesn’t. Fix the thing!!!

  20. Jane Verne says:

    do not know how to enlarge the really tiny font that has suddenly presented itself. Please help.

  21. Barbara Mackinnon says:

    How do I stop rude suggestive emails from entering my email address thatr go into my spam box

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.