The problem with email, especially gmail is the amount of storage space you have. Its easy to just leave your emails sitting in there ready for when you need it. But what happens if your account gets hacked? Its not that uncommon. Maybe you left yourself logged in at work? on your laptop? Someone could easily gain access and then all your data will be gone.

Another problem is using your email inbox as your to do list. You have your digital todos, then you have a little notebook of disorganised squiggles and who knows what floating around in lists on your phone or in your head. If any of this sounds like you I suggest you read this post on the secret weapon.



A few years ago I set about taming my inbox, ok I hit the ‘archive’ button on all of it, but recenly I’ve set about taming my newsletter subscriptions.

Newsletters used to be great, full of useful information, articles and new content from your favourite sites. Now their just offers and vouchers. Although if you want an example of a great newsletter you should sign up to the crunchyroll newsletter. Each issue it summarises two new animes and has mini summaries in the sidebar. Its fantastic and I read it. Another good one is the hot UK deals newsletter.



My first tip is gmail filters.


I have two filters for this type of organisation. The first one is called newsletters.

If your a programmer you’ll recognise the syntax. The || means ‘or’ so if any of these conditions are matched then apply the label newsletters.

This is a full list of gmail search syntax.

My second filter, which seems kind of counter intuitive is called unsubscribed.

The idea of this filter is to catch all of those sneaky newsletters that hope you’ve forgotten you’ve unsubscribed. When you unsubscribe they will send you a confirmation email. Keep this. That way when they sent you another email it gets labeled unsubscribed and you know they’ve been naughty and can tell them in an email exactly when you unsubscribed.

I’ve already caught homebase. I’ve emailed them politely about it but if I get another email from them I’m marking them as spam. They deserve it.




My second tip is using labels in your email address.


I recently started receiving newsletters from a site I never signed up too. I couldn’t work out where they were coming from until I looked in the ‘to’ field. My email address had clearly been passed on from one company to another completely unrelated company. (both shall remain anonymous unless I catch them again)

The trick is this.

When you sign up to lets say, amazon, and your email is [email protected], simply register with the email [email protected] Your emails will still come through as normal. This is because if you register [email protected] you also own [email protected] and [email protected]. Its a useful gmail feature to help cut down impersonators.

Then when you want to know how someone got your email address you can simply look in the ‘to’ field.

Having said that the + isn’t always allowed in email fields *holds up hand* I’m guilty of this as a developer. But its definitely handy.

It also increases your username/password strength, because a hacker might not know you use [email protected] to register….unless they looked over your shoulder!