How can I Stop Good Emails from Being Misfiled in my Bulk Mail Folder?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Many people create a bulk mail folder in their email programs to reduce the amount of spam or junk emails that can crowd up their inboxes. With the help of spam filters this can greatly reduce time wasted dealing with junk email, but spam filters aren't foolproof — some emails you want to receive in your inbox may be erroneously filed in your spam or bulk mail folder. You don’t want messages from family members, list serves you subscribe to, or business email getting “lost” in a bulk mail folder. Additionally, you shouldn’t have to wade through such a folder to try to find the important stuff.

Spam represents a very real threat to millions of e-mail users worldwide.
Spam represents a very real threat to millions of e-mail users worldwide.

Despite the proliferation of email filters, there are very simple ways to stop good emails from being filed in your bulk email folder. Your email program may have the option to mark mail as “junk” or “not junk.” When you mark mail as "not junk," it will end up in your inbox rather than in your bulk mail folder. Do this over time, and your spam filter should get trained to know that that type of email isn't spam.

While bulk mail folders can save time and help avoid security issues, spam filters are not foolproof.
While bulk mail folders can save time and help avoid security issues, spam filters are not foolproof.

Another thing you can do to reduce good emails from being misfiled in your bulk mail folder is to make sure your address book includes the email addresses that you expect to receive email from. Most email service providers keep a handy address book where you can store email addresses that matter. Be sure your address book includes the email addresses of family, friends, favorite list serves, and business associates and you should be able to reduce the number of good emails that are misfiled.

If you’re job searching and are sending out resumes to various email addresses, you may want to add these addresses, at least temporarily, to your address list. You can always delete them later if you don’t hear from the company.

These two simple steps together should help reduce most of your problems with misfiling emails in your bulk mail folder. Still, email service programs and spam filters have different features. If these solutions don't work, check the options or preferences within your email program to see if there are other suggestions your email service provider might have.

Another thing you can do, which most email programs and Internet providers will allow, is to set up a “dummy” email address. This way if you’re asked for your email address to register with certain companies, you provide the “dummy” address, rather than your true email, which you only give to those you want to get mail from. Most spam, advertisements, and the like will end up in the bulk folder of the dummy address rather than be addressed to your true address.

When you’re job searching, especially on sites like craigslist, often you won’t know what email address to look for in reply emails. Since some job offers can be scams, it’s recommended that you don’t send resumes through anonymous craigslist mail. Instead, contact the person and ask for an email address from the company prior to sending along a resume, then add this address to your address list.

Some anti-spam software filters emails based upon a regularly updated list of known spammers.
Some anti-spam software filters emails based upon a regularly updated list of known spammers.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Ruggercat68

I still haven't figured out what the difference is between my regular email items and the good ones that get flagged as "junk" by my email program. They look the same to me, but there's probably a subtle difference I'm not catching.

RocketLanch8

Sometimes I have the opposite problem. Emails that are clearly junk will end up in my regular email box. Fortunately, it hasn't become a major problem. I still have more good emails show up in my junk folder. My email program is older, but it does offer me the option of marking individual emails as "not junk" and will automatically move them to my regular email box. It will also ask me if the email address will be safe in the future.

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