Tired of wading through all the spam, daily emails from Target, and newsletters you subscribed to years ago but no longer read – all to find the emails that really matter? Get your email life sorted out by signing up for a few new email accounts. Here’s the thing: they’re free (and handy as hell in situations like this) and will greatly simplify up your daily email use. If you’re inclined to go clean-slate with all new email addresses (and if your primary email inbox is a morass of irrelevant marketing and spammy emails, it might be a good idea) we’ll be setting up three different email accounts to get things sorted out.

The Personal One

The first email account you should set up is exclusively for emails to and from actual people – people you could pick up a phone, call and ask for by name. NEVER use this email address for anything else; no buying airline tickets, no social media sites, no online shopping, nothing but emailing actual people. This way, barring a hacker getting into your email recipients’ personal address book (highly unlikely), this email address should remain entirely spam-free because only real people know it even exists.

The One For Your Online Accounts

Next up is the email you’ll use for all your online accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, airlines, Amazon, AT&T, your utility companies, Netflix, your banking & credit cards, ESPN, Dropbox, etc. These are all things that matter, but they’re email addresses that are stored by a computerized entity and thus subject to the marketing whims and technological vulnerability of the organizations you’ve shared your email address with. In the event this email address becomes compromised (too much spam), you don’t need to send a change of address email to anybody, but you will need to undertake the potentially time consuming process of changing this email address on all the sites you’ve used it. That said, you’ll be used to that process because you’re going to have to change the registration info on all these accounts anyway when you change from your existing email address to the new one you’re creating here. Pro Tip: make a list of everywhere you use this email address, because that way, in the event you do ever need to scrap it and start fresh again, you’ll have a simple list to follow to make sure you don’t miss any accounts you’ve set up.

The Potential Junk One

Here’s the one you can drop at any moment if your inbox becomes too polluted. There’s no need to notify anybody or to change any addresses, you just delete the account, create a new one and start again This is the email address you use to register for things you know are likely to lead to vendor-related marketing spam, or even good ol’ fashioned Cheap Viagara!!!! spam. Use this address for one off contests, surveys and the like when you don’t care about the likely follow-up emails.

Another Trick

Suppose you are interested in getting all those marketing emails, but are only interested in reading them on your Mac at home. Simple solution: don’t add your marketing email account to your iPhone, iPad or work computer, and that way none of those emails will ever clog up your mobile inbox or distract you from important work at hand – because you aren’t even going to know they exist until you fire up your Mac at home and see them. An alternate solution is to use an alternate email app for specific accounts. Airmail, Spark and the Gmail app are all popular options – set one up with the email accounts you don’t want to clutter up your usual iPhone/iPad mail app.

Choosing email addresses

A good free email address is tough to come by these days, so try all the popular services to see if you can get your desired address. If you use an email client like Outlook or Apple Mail it doesn’t much matter which email provider you choose. However, if you’re primarily  a webmail user (check your email through a web browser like Safari, Chrome or Firefox), you’ll want to give each site a test drive to see which one you like the most. The most popular free email account providers are:

If you can’t find an email address you like, it might be worth buying a URL (web address) you like and setting up hosted email with a service provider like Google G-Suite. For six bucks a month you’ll get something like YourName@YourDomainOfChoice.com and can even register Spam@YourDomainofChoice.com and Services@YourDomainOfChoice.com. Might be helpful to you, might not.

With all your new email addresses secured, set them all up in your email client (Mail, Outlook, Mailbox, etc.) and begin your new life of email clarity.

Any email tricks you’ve learned, or any questions about what I’ve presented here, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.