Confessions of an E-mail Hoarder

On another note, what inspired this pose? No human has ever posed like this before.

I’m something of an e-mail hoarder. For whatever reason, I just can never find the resolve to delete e-mails for fear they may contain information I’ll need later on, be it a login ID, a password or an alibi for a murder conviction.

As it stands, there’s more than 850 e-mails on my work e-mail account and my personal Gmail account is flirting with 1,000. I realize it’s a problem, and at my lowest points, I pause and think about what it would be like if I had the same issue with snail mail. I picture envelopes stacked to the ceiling, my girlfriend crying a lot, A&E sending a camera crew. So yeah, it could be worse.

It’s sad how the personal e-mail has all but disappeared. I never saw that one coming. If I receive a personal message from friends or colleagues, I’m usually getting it through Facebook or Twitter. That makes my hoarding problem worse on two levels. First, any time someone sends me a message on Facebook or Twitter, I get an e-mail letting me know so. That means I get a message letting me know I’ve received a message on Facebook or Twitter. Secondly, if the hundreds of e-mails I’m stockpiling have no personal or sentimental value whatsoever, what does that say about my hoarding habits?

In other words, what in the hell am I holding on to?

I’ve come to characterize shopping online as a series of one-night stands which are horribly misinterpreted by the sites at which I shop. For instance, if I purchase a solitary T-shirt from, I’ll receive two e-mails per week for the rest of my natural life alerting me of any and all sales pertaining to male size XL T-shirts. Thanks,

To make a purchase online, 99.4 percent of the time you have to submit an e-mail address. With that, the stores play the role of scorned ex-lover.

At first, it’s innocent: All New Era hats now 15% for our spring training sale!

After a while of ignoring the e-mails, they get more aggressive: I know you like New Era hats. You bought one two months ago. Remember? I do.

It’s not long before you totally forget you ever shopped at the Web site. Things turn desperate: You never shop me anymore! What is it?! Was it something I sold?! Are you shopping somewhere else?!

In this poorly conceived metaphor, labeling e-mails “trash” would act as filing a restraining order. The problem is, I forget to divert e-mails of this nature to my trash bin, so instead, my inbox makes me look like a one-timing, no good e-commerce slut. And really, I can’t disagree. I like variety.

This one’s on me, I know. Maybe my spring cleaning this year ought to include my inboxes. Search “inbox management” on Google and you’ll get 21,600,000 sites. Misery loves company and clearly I’m alone.

What does your inbox look like? Any e-mails you just can’t bring yourself to delete? Any embarrassing inbox overflow stories?

2 thoughts on “Confessions of an E-mail Hoarder

  1. I get anxiety if there are more than a few emails in my inbox at a time. I pay bills a month early just so that i can move the reminding email out of my inbox. I have hoarding skills when it comes to any type of hardcopies though. While moving this weekend, I was referred to watch an episode of Hoarders and find a connection between them and me.

  2. I’m with Annie…I get anxious if I have more than 10 in my inbox…I do have folders that I can move mail into but that is rare…I handle the snail mail the same way-basically handle it once…I try not to be a “saver”!!

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