For reasons I can’t quite explain, unsubscribing from email lists has always plagued me with guilt. It’s ridiculous. If inboxes were homes and emails were trinkets, I’d be a hoarder of TLC-level proportions. I tend to my useless subscriptions like cherished porcelain figurines, each one soliciting more unearned loyalty than the last. Every time I set out to clean up shop, my fingers hover over the unsubscribe button as I dream up outrageous reasons not to click it. BUT WHAT IF I NEED THIS SOMEDAY? It’s the email equivalent of keeping that weird skirt for a theme party that’s never going to happen. And if the site forces me explain why I’m leaving or makes a sad face? Forget it.
This backwards approach to inbox management used to serve me fine when I had the wherewithal to keep it in check. By “keep it in check,” I mean, “mark them all as read every morning in one undiscerning swoop.” (I never said it made sense.) Over the past year, though, I’ve abandoned the practice and allowed my inbox to spiral out of control. I’m talking thousands upon thousands of unread emails.
Finally, the other night, I caved. I swore off my guilt and inane justifications and went on a unsubscribing spree. The next day, my inbox felt eerie and tumbleweed-ish, but also perfect. Since then, every junk email that’s snaked its way back in has met a similar fate. I’m a new woman! A guiltless email murderer! I don’t even recognize myself. If you suffer from subscription addiction, pls let me help. Below, I’ve put together a starter course of sorts, which highlights seven email lists you need to banish from your inbox immediately.
That newsletter you’ve literally never read
I know you like the idea of this newsletter and you think the graphics are kind of cool whenever you sneak a peek, but you’ve actually never read it. Not even once. Why are you still signed up for it!?!? Who are you trying to impress?!
That one brand’s sale reminders
You’ve never so much as clicked on a single sale from this brand, let alone purchased anything. You are not going to wake up one day and decide to go shopping in your inbox. Just because they have pretty pictures sometimes doesn’t mean they’re worth your time!
That yoga studio’s class schedule
You went there once and it was years ago. Admit it: You’re never ever ever going back. Get this random studio’s calendar out of your inbox you weirdo!!!
That social media site’s weekly update
You either a) go on this site every day anyway and don’t need the emails, or b) never go on this site ever and don’t give a flying F about what people are posting on it. DELETE.
That sites’s reading recommendations
The recommendations look kind of good sometimes, but you never click on them. And every time you leave one unread in your inbox because it seems interesting, you STILL don’t ever go back and read it. Who are you lying for? Why are you doing this?
That charity you donated to once but don’t need to follow
I know this one makes you feel especially guilty, but you donated! You did a nice thing! You do not have to fake-read about everything this organization has done since! I will not judge if you unsubscribe!
That weekly events-around-town roundup
Not only have you never even looked at these events nor considered attending one, you no longer even live in the city in which they are happening. DUDE. UNSUBSCRIBE!!!
See? You’re on the road to freedom.
Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.