I’m basically the Marie Kondo of email now

I had a feeling this blog post existed. I just Googled “Marie Kondo Email” and it was the first result. Marie Kondo has been kinda famous for a while for writing about tidying up your space. But super extra famous lately because of the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Does it spark joy? No. Get rid of it.

That’s the vibe. People relate to it. I certainly do. We all want permission to get rid of crap. Every time we do it feels good. So no wonder people are applying that logic to their emails. No more guilt about unsubscribing to stuff and ruthlessly cleaning house. Marie Kondo gave us permission. These emails are no longer sparking joy.

Marie Grace Garis details all these emails she gets that certainly aren’t sparking joy:

… when all was said and done, I removed myself from 23 mailing lists just by being emotionally honest with myself. And that makes sense for a life lived online; there’s still so many reminders of who I once was. And whether digital or physical, being true to yourself and what gives you joy is still the route of what will clear up your world.

A Free Service for Unsubscribing and A Matter of Trust.


Instantly see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe easily from whatever you don’t want.

Seems super appealing. Like if you are ready to do some serious Spring cleaning on your inbox, why not use a service designed to help? Clear out a ton of noise.

Plus, it’s free.

Unroll.me is very clear about why it’s free though: they read your email, mine it for data, and sell that data.

They are super upfront about it.

It’s still a matter of trust. Do you trust them, while they definitely are reading your personal emails, to not doing anything you wouldn’t want them to with it? I don’t think I’m ready for that level of trust. Ironic, perhaps, as I’m perfectly happy using Google for email.

I like how honest Unroll.me is, at least.

Unroll.Me is owned by Rakuten Intelligence, a market research organization that provides businesses with insights into industry trends, corporate performance, and the competitive landscape. When you sign up for Unroll.Me, we share your transactional emails with Rakuten Intelligence, who helps us de-identify and combine your information with that of over 5.5 million users, including Rakuten Intelligence’s shopping panel.

The Robocall of Email

I should have probably published this here. Alas, it’s on my personal blog: HELLO I HAVE A GUEST BLOG POST PROPOSAL FOR YOU. The point: these spammy bastards are a lot more personal than they used to be. Like a robocall, these are personal, sometimes hand-written emails. If you engage with them, you’ll definitely talk to a real human being. They want to give you link-ridden garbage to publish on your site.

Is it better to ignore someone or say no?

We all ignore some emails. It’s almost culturally acceptable, particularly if the email is out of the blue and you have no ties to the person or company they are with.

Hey I’ve got a thing! You should see it! Let’s set up a call!

Person you don’t know

It certainly feels more polite to respond. Sorry, sir, I don’t have time for whatever it is you want. (“Don’t have time” being the culturally acceptable wording of “I don’t care about this.”) Even if the out-of-the-blue email isn’t polite in itself, part of the spirit of being polite is being polite no matter what.

The danger is that, in responding, you’re opening up the door just a little bit. Like making eye contact with someone belligerently drunk. They might see it as in invitation to engage.

Tough call, really. For me, it sort of depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

Busy People

Looks like a solid list to me!

Except that last one, for me. I don’t need a follow up. If I read your email and intend to respond, you’ll get one. If I didn’t respond, it’s because I (sorry) didn’t determine it worth responding to. If you follow up with a “hey did you read this”, I’m extra definitely going to ignore it.

Everyone is different, so if Joel has found that effective, all good. I don’t say all this to sound all cool, I just say it as a warning that it can be the opposite of effective.


Garrett Dimon, looking back on 10 years of building a product:

I’m leaning towards completely shunning social media if I build a new product. Instead, I’d focus on building a higher quality email list. There’s the big benefit of being a more direct line to customers and being less prone to the whims of the social media companies, but more than anything, I feel like a newsletter is a better way to communicate. Sure we’d have a blog and changelog, but longer-form, more thoughtful communication feels like the way to go.

Email by Days of Week

This is just how it feels for me.

DayVolumeInbox Level
MondayHighStarts Medium. Volume is high, but I FIGHT it back to Low because I’m FRESH!
TuesdayHighLow but growing.
WednesdayMediumMedium. Focusing on other things.
ThursdayHighHigh. Losing control.
FridayHighStarts High, but I fight it back to low so I end the week clean.
SundayLowMedium. I don’t do much email on weekends so it builds up.

Email Debt Forgiveness Day

It’s April 30th, coming up next month, but that was a year or two when the fabulous podcast Reply All did it. No reason it can’t be done again!

If there’s an email response you’ve wanted to send but been too anxious to send, you can send it on April 30th, without any apologies or explanations for all the time that has lapsed. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. Just include a link to this explainer, the one you’re reading right now, so that your recipient knows what’s going on. Together, we can all make our inboxes less stressful. Alex Goldman