The Case for Disappearing Emails

Numerous articles propose “effective” methods to handle bloated email inboxes. However, managing such inboxes is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process. With over 67,000 unread emails in my inbox, no email management strategy is as efficient as the implementation of Disappearing Emails. Astonishingly, this simple yet effective feature is absent from all email services.

Jun 5, 2023 1 min read


My email cleaning habit lasts only as long as my New Year’s resolution :) Every few days, I try to slim down my bloated inbox by deleting emails in bulk and then I make a promise to myself to keep doing it regularly which never happens :) If you can relate to my predicament, chances are I’m not alone.

Approximately 90% of the emails I receive are subscriptions, mailing lists, and updates. Most of them lose their relevance within 2–3 days, and if I don’t catch them during that time, chances are I never will. So what if I could set up a filter to automatically delete emails from specific senders after, let’s say, 72 hours unless I explicitly mark them not to be deleted? This simple feature would streamline email management, transforming it into a one-time task.

While services like Gmail and Outlook do offer date-based filters, they, surprisingly, cannot execute these filters automatically (like a cron job). Instead, users are required to manually run each filter. I once suggested this feature to Gmail, but it was never implemented for reasons best known to them.

What are your thoughts?