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Inbox Cleanup

Most of us have too many old emails in our inboxes and vow that someday we’ll clean them out. Perhaps that day never comes because the task seems so daunting, especially if we want to review each email first.

Here is a strategy for quickly reviewing/deleting numerous old emails: temporarily sort the emails by the sender — rather than by date sent — and delete whole groups from the same sender at once.

Here is how it works:

  • Your email is usually sorted by the date sent: the newest emails are on the top (or the bottom) of the list, regardless of who sent the email.
  • While this is the way you want your email sorted most of the time, many email programs offer other options: date, from, unread, subject, etc.
  • When you are ready to tackle your inbox cleanup, choose to sort your inbox by “from” (or “sender”). This will put all of your emails from the same sender together: all of the emails from “Apple” all the way down to (or up to) all of the emails from “Zappos.”
  • To delete everything from certain senders all at once: click the first email, hold down the “shift” key, and then click the last email from that sender. Those emails — and all of the ones in between —  will be selected. Delete them all.
  • Now, you can review the few remaining senders you may have skipped, and hand pick the emails you wish to delete: hold down the Control key (Windows) or Command key (Mac) to select individual emails to delete.

When you are finished, set your sort preference back to “sort by date” so that your inbox looks like it always did … just much cleaner!

NOTE: this “sort by” (or “view by”) feature is not available from every email company or on every device. If you are not sure if yours offers it, do an internet search for your email service or device and the words “sort by sender.”. If your service does not offer the sorting feature, you can still search in your email inbox for a certain sender and all emails from that sender will appear.