De-cluttering Your Inbox

Getting email updates from your favourite blogs is a lot of fun, but sometime the sheer amount of Stuff™ arriving into your inbox can be overwhelming. For sites that update several times a week (or several times a day) it can be tempting to hit ‘Unsubscribe’ in an attempt to declutter your inbox. I imagine a few of my own followers occasionally groan at the number of updates they receive each time I post a new flash fiction or poem.

However! There are ways of reducing and/or better managing the number of updates you receive to make following blogs by email a more pleasurable, clutter-free experience. Here are a couple of tips you might find useful.

1. Weekly Digests

If you’re a WordPress user, head on over to Reader > Followed Sites > Manage at the top of your web browser, to bring up a list of blogs you’re following. If you’re logged in right now, you can just click this link to be taken there:

Mosey on down to any blog which you’d like to receive fewer updates for, and click the little arrow on the left hand side. You’ll be given new options!


If you select “Weekly” you will then receive a weekly digest of blog posts, instead of individual updates. For followers of my blog, this will mean one email per week rather than three or four per week. If you’re following a blog which updates several times per day (perhaps a news blog), maybe you’d just like one daily update.

2. Inbox Rules

Regardless of whether you’re a WordPress user, you can still control what appears in your inbox from your email client itself. Try setting up a folder within your inbox called “Blog Updates” and then head over to your email client’s Settings.

In Hotmail, the Rules options is located under Mail > Automatic processing > Inbox and sweep rules.


Setting up Inbox rules is fairly easy. You pick from groupings of pre-existing criteria (Sender, Message Title, etc) and select your keywords, and the conditions. If the incoming email meets the conditions, it will be automatically filtered in the way you have specified. Here’s an example of one of my Amazon rules, which means I no longer have to handle the multiple Amazon emails I get per day.

Amazon Rule

You can run as many or as few rules as you like on your inbox, for as many folders as you want to create. Then, anything which ends up in your actual inbox is something that you know requires immediate attention.

3. WordPress Reader

WordPress users who don’t follow a blog by email can still receive updates in the WordPress Reader. The Reader is basically a feed (just like Facebook or Twitter) in which you receive updates from the blogs you follow—so long as you’re following via WordPress as well as (or instead of) by email. I use the Reader for keeping track of almost all the WordPress blogs I follow, because I can see all my favourite blogs in one place, rather than having to hop between different emails.

Why mention this here? Because WordPress just announced a brand new feature: Combined Cards!

In a nutshell, Combined Cards (which is an automated process, you’ve no need to install a plugin here) will filter those blogs which updates multiple times very quickly and, providing there are no other posts in between the updates, will combine them into a single ‘card’ so that the rapid updates from a single blog don’t drown out updates from less prolific blogs.

Check out the link above for more info, and if you’ve found the Reader messy in the past because you follow prolific blogs, maybe now’s the right time to give it another try.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful, and I look forward to appearing in your inbox again shortly!

10 Comments on “De-cluttering Your Inbox

  1. I so need this advice. I have turned some of my subscriptions to weekly, but I find I have trouble getting around to opening emails with boring titles like “weekly digest”. The same with sending new emails anywhere but my inbox – I’m never going to come back and read them. I guess the only solution is to quit work and read blogs full time.

    Liked by 1 person

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