Digital Declutter Day 8: Spam

The Digital Decluttter

Welcome to the second full week of the Digital Declutter Challenge. Today we will be turning our focus to tackling spam email.

Email Inbox

When it comes to email, most people are being inundated with spam. It’s easy to see how this happens. Place an order online, and suddenly you are bombarded with advertising. Make a charitable donation, and you are quickly overwhelmed with requests.

For today’s task, you may find it easiest to work on a laptop or desktop. The best way to being is by sorting your inbox by “From” or “Name.” This will enable you to quickly see who sent each email, which is the most important piece of information for deciding if it is spam. You may be surprised to discover that a few sources are responsible for the majority of your spam emails.

Once you have sorted your inbox, there are a couple of steps you can take to stop receiving spam:

  1. For any vendor/charity from whose list you wish to be removed, open one of the emails and follow the links to “unsubscribe.” Federal law requires marketers to provide this option, and you can typically find the link at the bottom of the page (often in very small print).
  2. Another option is to go to This is a free service you can use to “opt out” of emails.
  3. Mark at least one email from each sender as “spam/junk” using your email options. This will “teach” your computer what you consider to be spam.

Once you’ve taken steps to remove yourself from mailing lists, the last step is to delete the mail from your inbox. Simply select in blocks by sender, and delete.


To take email management one step further, consider adding some filters to your email inbox. Filters automatically route emails by recognizing either senders or designated “keywords” that you specify. Your computer then sends any matching emails into folders you design (e.g. “Offers” or “To Read”), saving you time and making you more efficient.


Deleting unwanted email is not a “one time” task. It can take a few days for unsubscribe orders to be processed, and our addresses are frequently “re-added” to lists. While you can’t completely eliminate junk mail, a weekly purge can keep it from getting out of control.

How many emails are sitting in your inbox? I wonder who has the most!

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