Start with Gmail. No self-respecting web geek would be caught dead with any other email service, and for good reason. The labeling system, huge storage limits, superior spam detection, filters, and, perhaps most importantly, phenomenal search make it an invaluable web tool to add to your arsenal. For the purposes of this article, I’ll assume you have already done so.
If you’re familiar with Gmail’s labeling system, great. If not, here’s a quick primer: most email services use folders, which means you can organize your emails into one specific category. Labels allow you to organize them into further and multiple categories. Think of a standard letter being filed into a filing cabinet. You can put the letter into an individual folder, but only that one folder. Labels are more like Post-It Notes- you can put as many as you’d like on one message. So, if you want an email to go into “Receipts” and “Amazon,” you can do that. You can also label that message from your boss as “Important” or “To-Do,” or both. You get the idea.
Other Inbox is a service that automatically filters incoming messages into predetermined labels. It creates one label called “OIB” and a subset of labels such as “Shopping” and “Finance” and then automatically sorts through your email to place them in the appropriate category, skipping your inbox altogether. Of course, the important emails still reach you. I’ve been using the service for over a year, and have yet to miss anything. If you’re still worried, though, there’s an option to leave all emails in your inbox (but that kinda misses the point, no?). They can also send a Daily Digest message, giving you an overview of all the messages they’ve filtered.
There are many more ways to tackle email overload, which have been written about extensively, but by combining OtherInbox and Trashmail, I’ve found a setup that takes very little time to set up, and eliminates the stress-inducing hodgepodge of an exploding inbox.