Unclutter my life Day 1 (again) into the inbox

The decluttering didn’t really stop, just slowed down a bit

My friend borrowed the book that I was using to help me on the decluttering journey, and it got busy at work and…. and…

Excuses, that is all they were.

I have a long break over Christmas and New Year and my husband does too. Time to get back on task, no excuses of work, and the book is back with me.

Inspiring others

The friend who borrowed the book spent the summer break completely decluttering her house. She was redecorating and saw it as a great opportunity to declutter room by room. Her husband was completely on board with it, which helped.

When she returned the book she thanked me for inspiring her. She had read my blog posts and that prompted her to ask to borrow the book. Best of all, I saw the difference in her, she was so happy to have a clutter free, organised house.

Feeling overwhelmed

And I looked around and saw that the hallway had started accumulating things that did not belong there. Most of my clothes were not in the wardrobe, and the kitchen was a disaster area.

I felt defeated. Back to square one.

A failure.

I could give up.

I felt like giving up.

I almost did.

And then I considered how much I had achieved in the past few months.

This was just a blip.

I gave myself a good talking too.

Where do I start?

First of all I gifted much loved but no longer needed items as Christmas presents. To people I know will love them. Other gifts were virtual one, the CD’s my husband wanted, downloaded (legally). This also fits with my plans on cutting the cost of Christmas. And refusing to shop in the city. Upcycling and repurposing. Save money and only give people something they will love and cherish instead of want to exchange. Others were handmade by local small businesses. The gifts I received were useful and needed (oven gloves and a card reader) or experiences (a voucher for a meal at top Birmingham restaurant and a baking lesson) or upcycled (a book from a charity shop) which, when finished will go back to a charity shop.

Show me the Money

Today I started with the household budget. While not technically decluttering, being in control of the household finances is important to me. And I guess a pile of financial paperwork that is not actioned upon and filed away is clutter. As is moving money around similar to just moving the piles of stuff around without actually dealing with the piles.

This was another area in my life that I had let slip. Worrying about bills not being paid and jiggling accounts, took up time and gave me sleepless nights. Yet talking about money is a very un British thing to do. And then we let it control us instead of the other way round.

I hate greed and the despise people who put the love of money over and above people. Yet, we need money. Most of us do anyway. I do, as I have bills to pay and need to eat. I don’t live off grid and am not self sufficient. I don’t need lots of it, just enough. And earning more can free your time for things that make you happy. And for me that is travelling, going on holiday and weekends away.

I started by reading What’s Your Money Story by Karen Strunks as I know I have to improve my relationship with money. After all it is not money that is the root of all evil, just loving it above everything else.

The inbox

This is the one I have been putting off. For about three years. A while back I got a new email address and started over, thinking I would weed out all the spam and other stuff that in moments of madness I subscribed to. Then I decided to merge the accounts, just incase I missed anything important. Instead, because the inbox was so cluttered I was missing the important emails, buried under all the crap.

Today I added a filter to my gmail account and started deleting, one at a time. Soon I realised that I would still be here in 2016 deleting. Now I am doing a page at a time starting with the oldest. I have got to December 2013 so far.

I am not going to admit to how many emails I had. Still have. Got bored of deleting and decided to write this instead. And eat some chocolate. Procrastinate me? never.


28000 emails deleted, from 2 accounts, eventually I sifted and clipped to Evernote the ones I needed, then selected all and hit delete, and I have not needed one of them since. The sky did not fall in Henny Penny. I then daily unsubscribed and deleted, but was still up to over 50 emails I wasn’t reading, a day. Today (9 April 2015) Karen Strunks shared a link to Unroll Me and as it came from a person I trust and respect, I gave it a go. A really quick way to unsubscribe to unwanted emails and collect all the ones you do want in one place. I will be monitoring its effectiveness and will report back.

Update September 2017

Over 20,000 email in the inbox again. Some from 2002. How did I miss those? Diving in there today.

What about you?

Do you have an overflowing inbox and see them as clutter like I do? Or a negative relationship with money? And do you have any tips to help clutterbugs like me? I would love to hear from you.

8 thoughts on “Unclutter my life Day 1 (again) into the inbox

  1. hotmail has a feature you can set for some emails- I take the options ‘only keep the most recent’ and ‘delete any older than 10 days’. Only works for subscription emails, not everything. Time spent organising your money yields best dividends. Good luck and Happy New Year.

    1. This series of posts, about decluttering, are proving to be the most popular. Interesting, it must be an issue for many.

  2. I love unroll me (although weird it seems to have stopped working over the last couple of days but it was fine for months and a really good way of collecting together newsletter etc).

    I have six email accounts, excluding the work one. Four of them auto-forward to one account (they’re mainly blogging email addresses) which is where all the PR and correspondence emails from actual people go to. The other was one I set up when I was a teenager which I still use to sign up all the newsletters and anything auto-generated etc to. I designate most of those emails all as junk, and once a day I glance through the folder to see if anything is interesting – most of the time I don’t open them. I know this doesn’t sound the most efficient, but it means I don’t miss out on important emails but can have a quick look through any newsletters and means I don’t miss out on things…and nothing accidentally ends up in the important’ emails to be actions. it’s sort of like unroll me but a folder.

    Having fairly recently moved, the idea of trying not to clutter the place up is important. I tend to find that little and often is the key for me – if I finish a book I don’t think I’ll re-read again then it either goes straight in the pile for the charity shop or to the friend I think will enjoy it. The stack of magazines are in a bag and once the bag is full I go through it and rip out any articles I like – then take them with me to read on the bus and get rid of/pass on. Once I take the clothes off the drier I put them away. If something is replaced the old one goes in the bin ASAP. That’s the plan at least.

    1. Laura, you are more organised than I am. however I no longer buy books, and not bought a magazine for over 5 years. I won’t even let free ones into the house. Ikea catalogue excepted. 🙂 I will have to be much more disciplined when I move. In the current house I have spare rooms to hide clutter, huge wardrobes to hide clothes I no longer wear, and space hides clutter too. Reading the blog by Courtney of Project 333 http://theproject333.com/tiny/ this struck me :

      ‘Clutter is more obvious.
      When you live in a sprawling space, clutter is easier to ignore. In a small space, clutter demands immediate attention. I don’t have space for clothes I don’t wear, and things I don’t love and enjoy.’

      I won’t have the space for things I don’t love and enjoy either. And I am looking forward to that.

      1. Oh I agree, clutter is definitely more visible in a small space – my small living room can go from tidy to messy with just a few things out of place. I have a spare room though, and that’s still got lots of things waiting to find a home.

        For me it’s not being organised, it’s a coping mechanism; If things were out and cluttered I wouldn’t remember where I’d put them! I try and have homes for everything and put things away on a semi-regular basis (I am no neat freak)…For me, it’s about training myself to see the clutter as not how the space should look and not keeping things I don’t need.

        I know someone who is pretty ruthless on getting rid of things (she’s just gifted me something she was given as a present but has something similar and knows I was after). In a lot of cases I ask myself what she’d do!

  3. You should see my email collection! I never get through each day’s new offerings.
    Every now and again I just go back and delete everything, if I haven;t got round to them, they’re not important. I think only about 100 unread currently. Millions read, I never delete those.
    Anyway, well done and good luck. It is nice having less stuff, hope you continue to enjoy the process.

    1. Thanks for commenting and sharing. It has been a journey. Some get it sooner than others. I bought the lie. Now I share the dream of an authentic life.

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