Written by Beth Downey

A few years ago, at the beginning of the New Year, rather than commit to resolutions, I began performing a simplification of my life. Part of the plan is closets get sorted and clothes go into bags to be donated to second-hand stores. I get rid of as much physical clutter as possible. This purge extends to and includes my digital life.

My first pass of digital decluttering is unsubscribing from email newsletters that don’t bring value to my life or my work.* After a few yearly rounds of “how did I get on this list anyway?” I decided to get a better handle on them. There are a few I keep around and I’ve formed a system that works for me.

Because I’m in possession of my own vanity domain name, I can create multiple email addresses for the .com. I’ve put that feature to work and created two new email addresses to funnel emails into two separate areas:

  • subscribe@______.com for email newsletters
  • orders@______.com for online purchases

Now, whenever I sign up for a newsletter I find to have value, it goes into the “subscribe@” email. When I place online orders, the same rules apply for the “orders@” address. This behavior modification has proven especially valuable when I’m in a retail store. At the checkout when a salesperson asks “Can I get your email?” I say “Sure!” and ramble off the subscribe@ account.

Bonus feature: when I want to easily search for an item I’ve purchased in the past, they all live in the orders@ email account and are easily accessible and searchable.

*the days leading up to Black Friday are also an outstanding opportunity to digitally purge.