Nothing Says Spring-Cleaning Like An Inbox Intervention

Regularly cleaning out your email can help your computer run better and your life run smoother.

(NAPSI)—Each spring, millions of Americans turn their attention to tackling the big job of annual spring-cleaning at home, but most people overlook another important aspect that could use a deep clean: their online lives.

From your PC to your email inbox, Americans admit cleaning out their inbox ranks among their top three most dreaded chores, alongside scrubbing the toilet and cleaning out the litter box. With frequent emails of social networking updates, newsletters, shipping updates, coupons and more, many Americans could benefit from an inbox intervention to regain control and restore order to their digital lives.


According to research from Windows Live Hotmail that examined inboxes across all email providers, the average American juggles three email accounts, with an average of 200 unread emails. Nearly 60 percent of people say that the volume of spam and junk mail they receive is a problem, and 70 percent of people actually feel they are missing emails because of the clutter.

The survey also found that despite feeling overwhelmed, Americans also seem to think they might actually read all that mail someday, as 56 percent of people admitted to holding on to emails for three weeks or longer, and of that, 31 percent admit to a year or more. Three million Americans suffer from hoarding but 20 times as many people are email hoarders. Dr. Robin Zasio, hoarding expert and star of the television series “Hoarders,” says that whether physical or digital in nature, clutter can be stressful and actually decrease productivity and happiness.

“Most people don’t hang on to an advertising flyer that arrived in the mail three months ago, let alone a few years ago,” says Dr. Zasio. “Surprisingly, one in five Americans admit to email hoarding and letting their emails pile up.”

Whether survey respondents have the habit of hoarding or the urge to purge, an overwhelming 80 percent of people want to have a more efficient email experience. Dr. Zasio recommends the following tips and advice, with the help of a few Hotmail tools, to give your inbox a thorough sweep this spring-cleaning season.

• Consolidate and Create Folders: Juggling several email accounts and don’t know how to keep them all organized? Hotmail lets you consolidate all your email accounts to one email hub so you can quickly search and organize conversations. Group similar messages in folders, file messages that you need to keep or reference at a later date and quickly get to the email you care about most.

• Sweep! Hotmail offers a feature called the Sweep button to help you sweep away mail to help you manage your email clutter. One click of the button and it will not only sweep out all chosen mail in your inbox, it will sweep all future mails, too. Sweep newsletters into an assigned folder, sweep junk mail into the deleted folder. And because we all know it’s easy for unwanted email to creep back into your inbox after you’ve deleted it, the Sweep feature lets you forever say good-bye to emails from unwanted senders with one click.

• Manage inbox clutter with conversation view: Create a system of organization and say bye-bye to missing email conversations. With Hotmail you can condense several email conversations into one view for easy-to-follow dialogue with friends and family. You can also arrange email by date or individual.

• Schedule uninterrupted organization time and don’t procrastinate: Procrastination can hinder your inbox’s organization. Take time to respond, file or delete email as it arrives. The longer you wait, the more it piles up and becomes a bigger problem. With so many distractions, it’s important to establish a time each day to process mail and ensure a clean and organized inbox. Turn off all distractions, such as Facebook or Twitter, and before you know it, the discipline becomes habit.

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