Have you noticed that every store asks you for your email address as a routine part of their in-store payment process?
They claim they’re doing it because they’re going green – saving paper, trees, the environment and the Earth.
I call BS on that. You know why? Because, a week later, you will find that you have a copy of their monthly printed catalogue sitting in your mailbox. And suddenly, their email newsletter starts showing up like clockwork every week too.
I used to spend a few minutes each morning to delete all newsletters from my email inbox. I thought nothing more of it. It was part of my routine for a couple years now.
Then, as I started to look at everything in our apartment with a critical eye, asking myself the questions – What purpose does this serve? And, do I really use it? – I instinctively turned the same critical eye on my email inbox.
I started clicking on each newsletter to see what was in it. Every store had some type of sale coming up that they just did not want me to miss. Then there were products that they were sure I would love (whether or not I actually needed them was irrelevant): Crate and Barrel had an amazing new line of glazed terracotta casserole bakeware; Petco had the perfect new toys for my kitties; Williams Sonoma had exclusive rights to a couple new shades of Le Creuset Dutch Ovens.
That day, instead of deleting a newsletter just to do it all over again in seven days, I scrolled to the bottom of the page and clicked on the “UnSubscribe” button. In a last ditch effort to get me to reconsider, I was pitched the following line (rephrased):
“If you unsubscribe you will no longer receive news of new products or upcoming sales.”
I unsubscribed anyway. In the United States, there is ALWAYS another sale around the corner. Sales are neither rare nor hard to locate. And, as far as new products go, yes, maybe I will never hear about their new gizmo that you can pass a cauliflower through one end and have wee little, ready-to-cook florets coming out the other end, but, well, as that was not a problem for me before, I’m not going to shell out money simply because the product exists. Everyone has their own version of this gizmo. If you don’t believe me go grab your credit card statement (I’ll wait); look at it and tell me with a straight face that having that thing will improve your life more than still having the money (and the credit card interest) you are committing to it.
I started unsubscribing from all newsletters. How many newsletters could I possibly have coming in? You will not believe it. 86 newsletters and three weeks later, I was still not done.
Four weeks later (about now), I am down to 3 newsletters: from my meditation centre, from a YouTube Indian (food) chef and a fitness newsletter.
Digital clutter is also clutter. Newsletters take up precious time to read, sort through or delete. They create negative feelings of wanting where there may have been no such feelings before. In my opinion they are not worth having, and it’s worth the time and effort to get rid of them.
After I was done, I felt light, free and happy. Yes, happy.