Cleaning Digital House

I remember thinking the Mailbox app for iPhone was just genius. Archive an email in one quick swipe? So awesome! Until I realized how often I was archiving useless junk. With each partially absorbed headline, each swipe, a precious piece of head space evaporated. In hindsight, Mailbox might have enabled hoarding a lot of stuff I just don’t need cluttering my head.

Today I turned to Unroll.Me in a moment of exasperation (a.k.a swipe city). I’d heard of this service before, but never made the time to run it. It clued me in to some pretty startling numbers. On my personal account alone I’m subscribed to 227 different email lists. How in the world did I hoard so many email subscriptions? Well, the truth is, I didn’t. My name and email are listed as a contact on a blog I sometimes write for, and unfortunately it gets abused by people who decide to just sign me up for their lists.

Today I’m having frustration of the What took me so long? variety. It’s pretty infuriating to think of all of the stolen moments I could have spared, put towards something more productive. Sometimes when we’re the most buried, it’s hardest to dig out and do the simple things that will set us free. But I am resolved to using this holiday break to get my digital house in order.

It took less than five minutes to scan and sort my account through Unroll.Me. I unsubscribed to 121 emails. 65 subscriptions will be merged into one daily digest or “rollup” I get in the morning. The rest, the stuff I really care about will come as usual.


I’m thinking a lot about SmallBox’s rally cry to make space, and how I could have personally done a better job with this. I got a new computer earlier this year and I never properly set up my files. My desktop, once a pristine mecca for art or photo backgrounds, now, a wasteland of all kinds of files, downloads and screenshots. I need to set up cloud storage. Just as I slacked on trying Unroll.Me, I’ve had tentative dates with LastPass and If This, Then That all year.

My first response to things like “make space” are pie in the sky, theoretical. I’m a strategist. I can’t help it, it’s the first place I go. But now I’m getting tactical. What are your favorite productivity app and organizing tools?

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Prompt: “Chef’s Choice. Today, we’re keeping it wide open – we want you to write. Write the thought ringing in your head this morning. Write what you can’t forget. Write what you want to remember about _____. Write the everyday and the extraordinary. Let Frank O’Hara be your guide.