Welcome to the second full week of the Digital Declutter Challenge. Today we will be turning our focus to tackling spam email.
When it comes to email, most people are being inundated with spam. It’s easy to see how this happens. Place an order online, and suddenly you are bombarded with advertising. Make a charitable donation, and you are quickly overwhelmed with requests.
For today’s task, you may find it easiest to work on a laptop or desktop. The best way to being is by sorting your inbox by “From” or “Name.” This will enable you to quickly see who sent each email, which is the most important piece of information for deciding if it is spam. You may be surprised to discover that a few sources are responsible for the majority of your spam emails.
Once you have sorted your inbox, there are a couple of steps you can take to stop receiving spam:
- For any vendor/charity from whose list you wish to be removed, open one of the emails and follow the links to “unsubscribe.” Federal law requires marketers to provide this option, and you can typically find the link at the bottom of the page (often in very small print).
- Another option is to go to Unrollme.com. This is a free service you can use to “opt out” of emails.
- Mark at least one email from each sender as “spam/junk” using your email options. This will “teach” your computer what you consider to be spam.
Once you’ve taken steps to remove yourself from mailing lists, the last step is to delete the mail from your inbox. Simply select in blocks by sender, and delete.
To take email management one step further, consider adding some filters to your email inbox. Filters automatically route emails by recognizing either senders or designated “keywords” that you specify. Your computer then sends any matching emails into folders you design (e.g. “Offers” or “To Read”), saving you time and making you more efficient.
Deleting unwanted email is not a “one time” task. It can take a few days for unsubscribe orders to be processed, and our addresses are frequently “re-added” to lists. While you can’t completely eliminate junk mail, a weekly purge can keep it from getting out of control.
How many emails are sitting in your inbox? I wonder who has the most!
22 thoughts on “Digital Declutter Day #8: Spam”
I totally use Unrolleme.com and couldn’t recommend it more for helping out with spam email issues, too.
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So glad you find this tool helpful. Unsubscribing and getting off of the lists really is the “secret sauce” to battling the spam.
I’ve used Unrollme for several years now, but there are some drawbacks to the unsubscribe feature. Here is a link to a good blog acticle about that – https://blog.joemanna.com/pros-and-cons-of-using-unroll-me/
That said, I still like and recommend Unrollme, but I do forget to read the daily digest for long periods, and every once in a while, I do want to see some of the emails that I roll up. I have to remind myself to check it every so often to make sure that I don’t miss something I didn’t mean to banish to the Rollup, or just plain forgot I was still subscribed to!
Also, don’t be afraid to use the rules function of your mail reader program, whether it is Outlook, or Gmail, or Thunderbird. You can set rules on the inbound mail that you do want to receive, such as a newsletter or something like store coupons. Those can be set to automatically go to a folder when they are received. This way they don’t need to junk up your inbox and you will always know where to find them.
Last year Microsoft introduced a feature in Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 called the Clutter feature that you can turn on. This feature is very powerful and will automagically move repetitive or spam type emails to a Clutter folder instead of leaving them in your inbox, and it does a surprisingly good job of this. This feature seems to surprise people though, so you may already have it turned on and not know it! If you haven’t checked your junk folders or clutter folders for awhile, it’s always a good idea to look into them and make sure that you are not sending good email to them. Often, password reset requests, or order confirmations, or emails from new friends or people who you don’t normally correspond with can be erroneously sent to the junk folder, so please look at the email in this folder before you do a mass delete of it.
Another habit that I have gotten into, and that may be helpful to you, is to create a Receipts folder to move all of the digital receipts you receive into. I am always trying to sort back through old email to find a receipt confirmation for one thing or another and I have found that creating a folder just for these types of things can really speed up the search process.
This is all so helpful, Bob. I might post your receipts to my social media postings because that is a terrific idea (if that is okay with you!)… it would be easy to lose those in your inbox.
I totally agree on the “rules” idea. That is what I meant by the EXTRA CREDIT “filters.” These really can make a big difference.
Unroll.me has its pluses and minuses, but I think it can be worth the effort. Great point about checking it so you don’t miss something you really want. Seems like all of the tools have their ups and downs.
I am more familiar with IOS than Microsoft, so thanks for the note about the new Clutter feature. Sounds like a step in the right direction. It is important to look at ANYTHING before deleting (or trashing) it, digital or not. Sometimes I have clients who want to just trash a box of paper, but you can’t do it. You might miss something important. Excellent point!
Keep this terrific feedback coming.. I hope my readers will be reviewing your comments as well!
Thanks Seana! This holiday season I was as everyone else over the limit on shopping offers. It took under a minute to unsubscribe instead of deleting. It’s really helps this January as I have fewer to delete.
Unsubscribing is always worth the effort in the long term. A little work now for a big payoff later… I think that is so true for much of life!
With several emails, I find it can get overwhelming easily, especially around the holidays. If it is something that I want to look at like certain stores, using a “rule” in Outlook helps me manage them easier. I set it the rule to move the email to a folder called “stores to review” in my Outlook. I then review them once a week or ever few days. The benefit is if I want to stop getting one, they are all in one place.
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I love rules and filters. They can make a huge difference. Not only do they make it easier to manage our reading, but it also keeps those alerts from popping up all the time, making us think there is something urgent we need to see.
Cassidy does Unrollme and swears by it. I haven’t but I have to say that mass unsubscribings feel SO GOOD. Around the holiday season, I find I get marketing emails I don’t believe I signed up for – but at least there are easy fixes. It gets so overwhelming, and with busy days, unwanted emails should not be on the table!
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Agreed. Who needs all of that? I like deleting anything unnecessary from my life, digital or otherwise. It is very freeing. I do believe our names/email addresses get shared across businesses, and that is why we land back on lists over and over.
I’m too embarrassed to say how many emails are in my Inbox! When I have a moment, I hit the ‘From’ button and delete/file some emails. I think I need to take a few more of those moments during the day…Thanks for reminding me of an iceberg I need to chip away at!
It is at least very satisfying to chip it away — love seeing that number go down!
I’ve been working my way through my inbox and doing much better. But there’s still work to go. I’m good about deleting spam, but don’t always take the time to unsubscribe. I’ve been proactively doing that a bit more this past week. New year…get rid of “junk” emails! I appreciate you highlighting this as “digital clutter” and I’ll make an effort to reduce the junk even further. Thanks, Seana!
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Short term pain, long term gain with those “unsubscribe” efforts. I find it is a good task for those small bits of time when I’m waiting… even if I only do one or two, that could be a big payoff from the frequent senders!
I totally have the habit of clearing my spam and trash folder daily or every other day at the very least. Thank you for these tips Seana. I haven’t tried Unrollme but I’ll check it out. For now, I usually manually check my subscriptions and unsubscribe from unnecessary ones.
PS: I really need to backread because you’re already Day 8! LOL. I need to make a list of this.
If you are regularly unsubscribing, you are probably staying ahead of the spam. Your comments are showing me how organized you are, Rea. I affirm you!!
I tend to be good with keeping my Inbox tidy as long as I check it a couple of times a day, but when traveling and I don’t have time to spend much time with it, it becomes a bit of a disaster! Some great tips!
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I have the same issue when I travel, although I don’t travel as often as you do. Who wants to spend vacation deleting spam? I bet you have quite the “re-entry” when you come back from a trip: laundry, grocery store, mail, and email!
I signed up for Unroll.me a few months ago, and it’s amazing! There are lots of vendors I want to hear from, but I don’t need to read every single thing they send out. Unroll me lets me at least see what they’re sending me without having a lot of stuff piling up in my inbox.
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I’m so glad you find this tool helpful. I agree with you. I enjoy leafing through some new product offerings, but I hate being flooded or accosted every day. It’s just too much!
When I order things online I’ve gotten into the habit of unchecking the box about being placed on the company’s newsletter, getting online specials, etc. It’s a small thing, but every little bit helps!
I agree that every little bit helps, and I’ve started doing that as well. It took me awhile to realize I often need to uncheck, rather than check, to express my preference!