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Decluttering Gmail

Decluttering Gmail

I use Gmail for all of my email, and love it. It allows you to send and receive email from a variety of different addresses, which means that I don’t have to check my 18 thousand different email accounts individually. That alone is a big time-saver, but my favorite feature of Gmail is the way it eats spam.

You see, having 18 thousand different email accounts means that I get a LOT of spam. I don’t mean 20 or 30 a day. I mean 200 to 300 a day, sometimes hundreds more. Gmail will happily direct the vast majority of those straight to your spam folder, without you having to do a thing.

But if you’re like me, just SEEING that you have new mail makes you want to check it. If you see that it’s new spam, you get the urge to go in and empty your spam folder so that it quits saying “Spam (87)” or “Spam (1843)” like it did when I didn’t check email for a few days. Go in and empty this folder often enough, and you’ve wasted a lot of time.

I struggled with this, because seeing those numbers bothered me. It felt messy, somehow. Like digital clutter.

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My husband came to the rescue when he pointed out that I could set up a filter to automatically mark all that spam as read. It’s easy. To create a filter like this for your Gmail account, just:

  1. Login to Gmail.
  2. Click the Create a filter link.
  3. Type “in: spam” (without the quotes) into the Has the words field.
  4. Click the Next Step button.
  5. Click OK to ignore the warning.
  6. Check the Mark as Read checkbox.
  7. Click the Create Filter button.

That’s it! From now on, all of the email that is automatically sent to your spam folder will be marked as read. (And automatically deleted in the standard 30 days.) No more annoying spam count cluttering up your email. No more wasted time emptying the folder.

View Comments (11)
  • Thanks for the tip. I love gmail, but I do the same thing as you. This will be great help for me!

  • Beckie, you’re right, that would be an option too. I’d rather have the 30 days though, just in case.

  • I have to look into sending and receiving from multiple Gmail accounts. I have about 4 or 5 Gmail accounts alone. I know I could probably connect them with IMAP settings, but I haven’t spent the time to set that up and test to make sure that the e-mails won’t cross over (i.e. I don’t send Lazy Man and Health replies from a Lazy Man and Money e-mail address).

  • I love this tip, but I don’t have the option to click “Mark as read”. I’d also like to keep it in the spam folder for 30 days or so, because sometimes Gmail marks something as spam that’s not. I’d still rather not be spending the time looking at the spam folder at all, though, so I’ll choose delete it for now.

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