How to Organize Your E-Mail Folders Without Getting Scatterbrained!

The easiest way to organize your e-mail is to simply read your e-mails then delete them. Of course, for many, if not most of us, this is just not practical, so we organize our e-mail by creating folders, and this is a good idea.

But, how you organize and name the folders can have an impact as to how easily you can find any particular old e-mail.

Like most people, when I had my first e-mail account, I would have folders created for family members, topics, subscriptions, etc. Examples of folder names that I used would be for various relatives such as, “Uncle John & Aunt Kate”, cousin “Brad”, etc. Then there would be folders for friends like “Terry”, “Bob”, “Cheryl”, then other folders for different things like, “ABC Magazine”, “BRX Co.”, “My Employer”, “CMS Insurance”, “IFLY Airways”, “Annual Car Show”, and “Park Fair 2013”.

Nothing wrong with these folder names, but, it can get complicated with the more folders you add. Let’s look at how they would be arranged in most e-mail systems below:


ABC Magazine

Annual Car Show




CMS Insurance


IFLY Airways

My Employer

Park Fair 2013

Uncle John & Aunt Kate

You’ll notice that friends, family, and business and events folders are split among each other. Now, this is a small number of folders, so it wouldn’t be much of a problem. But if you have lot’s of family members, friends, and businesses and events that you communicate with or receive e-mails from, this can get complicated.

In this type of organizing, your cousin Brad’s folder will be far from your folder for Uncle John & Aunt Kate, and if you’re looking for an old e-mail that involved you and both of them, those two folders won’t be together. If you have to look in several family members’ folders, this could become a real chore if they’re scattered among your other folders.

Now, some e-mail systems allow you to create sub-folders, that is, a folder within a folder. If your system is like this, you can create a “Family” folder instead, then within this “Family” folder, you create folders for your family members. See the example below:



Uncle John & Aunt Kate

As you can see, this groups all folders with a similar relationship to you, together. Believe me, this really helps if you have lots of folders.

But what if your e-mail system doesn’t allow creation of sub-folders?

Yes, I do have this problem and I solved it. The best way is to use a category word, such as “Family”, or “Friends” in front of the folder name. I abbreviate these category names to make the full folder names shorter. Of course, these are abbreviations that are mostly made up, but they are easier for me to understand. You may have your own abbreviations that only you can understand, and that’s fine, as you would be the only one who would need to know in most cases. I use “B” for business, “Fm” for family members, “Fr” for friends, “Ent” for entertainment or events, “Tr” for travel or travel businesses, “”Fx” for various information sources, and “Ins” for insurance companies. You can always use different groupings, like placing insurance under business, or separating cousins from other family members as you wish. See the example below:


B ABC Magazine


B My Employer

Ent Annual Car Show

Ent Park Fair 2013

Fm Brad

Fm Uncle John & Aunt Kate

Fr Bob

Fr Cheryl

Ins CMS Insurance

Tr IFLY Airways

As you can see, this will still keep related folders together. Notice that by using the abbreviations “Fm” and “Fr” this keeps the family and friends folders next to each other. By the manipulation of the abbreviations you use, you can keep groups of folders in close proximity to one another.

If you get to have 40, 50, 100, or more folders, this can be a really big help!

Hope this makes your e-mail life easier!

If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and website, so they, too, can make their e-mail life, and other things, easier too!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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