Category Archives: Email Overload

31 Days of Real Life Organizing

Last week I posted about whether or not your organizing measures up to what you see & read in magazines, blogs and on Pinterest. I feel strongly that you deserve to have a home that is organized, warm and welcoming for yourself and others who live and visit there. In addition, I am just as convinced that you can have that without putting the rest of your life on hold. There are lots of simple ways to start making progress towards that goal. I’m sharing what I’ve learned on my journey as a professional organizer and in organizing my own home.


I just learned about TheNester’s 31 Days Annual Writing Challenge and I thought it would be a good way to push myself to write more on the topic. I realize I’m a day late but I figured it’s better to get started late than not to do it at all, right? {a bit of foreshadowing into my second post…}

So for the next 31 days {well, 30, since I’ll post two today}, I’m going to share insights, projects, tips and tools on Real Life Organizing.

You can follow my blog in your RSS feed or follow the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing on Pinterest or you can even pin this post so you can refer back to it throughout or at the end of the 31 days.

Once it’s published, I’ll link up each day’s post in the list below:

  1. How to Get Started Organizing at Home
  2. Perfectly Organized
  3. Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes
  4. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  5. How Long Will It Take to Get Organized
  6. RA-RA For Organizing Paper!
  7. The Four Step Foundation for Real Life Organizing & Free Printable
  8. Redefining The Inbox
  9. Are You a Perfectionator?
  10. Get Organized in 15 Minutes or Less?
  11. My Top 10 List of Organizing Myths
  12. Get Organized. Get Inspired. {Useful & Beautiful}
  13. 11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail
  14. Create Clutter-Free Holiday Decor: Halloween Edition
  15. How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information
  16. What Organizing Isn’t
  17. How Long To Organize a Room?
  18. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room
  19. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part I
  20. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part II
  21. My Favorite Containers- The Basics
  22. Organizing Rules For Results
  23. 3 Reasons To Think Outside The Box {Or Bin or Container}
  24. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  25. Take Action On Your Paper Piles
  26. Loathing Laundry?  4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry
  27. Organizing Quickie in the Closet
  28. Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter
  29. How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?
  30. Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear
  31. Simplify For The Holidays

Ciao for now!

Quit Organizing Email

As an info junkie myself, I get frustrated about the plethora of information available online about “the what” and “the why” (what you should be doing and why) and lack of “the how-to”. It is so frustrating when you’re on board with an idea and you understand its merits but you’re not sure HOW to execute it. So, where appropriate, I have decided to include that info in my posts.
Quit Organizing Email

Managing your inbox (or not) or “checking email” is a huge source of frustration for many small business owners and if you’re an online business owner the problem can be accentuated because you do most of your business through digital means. Based on my work with and feedback from online business owners, filing and organizing email is a common source of frustration and time suck.

It’s easy to spend way too much time organizing, labeling and filing email messages. I’ve worked with clients who have over 200 email folders, not to mention additional nested folders. Can you say “complicated”?

The What: One of the simplest ways to eliminate time spent on filing, labeling and organizing, etc. is to stop doing it. Seriously.

The Why: I suggest applying Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule to email messages we keep: 80 percent of what you retain you will never look for or at again. While I have never officially tracked this metric, I have seen anecdotal evidence that it is true. So, why spend so much time and energy on messages you’ll never refer to again?

The How-To: Create a single processed or “done” folder (or use the archive feature in Gmail) and file all of the messages you’re going to keep into it. Then, invest some time into learning how best to search that folder so you can find information quickly. For Apple Mail, this MacLife article on using search tokens (i.e. From, to, etc.) will help get you started. If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, I highly recommend purchasing and downloading X1 Search 8 (formerly X1 Professional Client)- it’s so worth it! Feel free to message me privately if you have any questions about X1.  And, if you’re using Gmail, you can find advanced search operators here.

The second part is extremely important. Having the ability to retrieve what you need quickly will help you to trust the process. Trust and confidence in these steps will eliminate the need to spend unnecessary time filing or further processing your email messages. After all, you have more email coming in as we speak. Don’t worry about moving or reorganizing your existing folder/label structure. Simply create one new folder, label it something meaningful to you and file completed messages into it.

When I first introduce this concept to online business owners, they are hesitant to try it. Understandably so. It is a significant change from how you may have been filing email but I promise it will provide you with a meaningful result. I urge you to try it for 2 weeks…most people who have tried it are fans in much less time.

If you’ve already switched over to this method of filing messages, let me know in the comments how it’s working for you. If you haven’t, would you consider taking my two week challenge?