How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Deal with Bacn?

Most people get their fair share of email they want, email they don’t want at all (Spam), and a healthy dose of Bacn–email they want but not right now. How do you deal with your daily dose of Bacn?

While Spam is unsolicited garbage you don’t ever want, Bacn is email content you’ve actively selected to receive (weather updates, coupons from your favorite retailers, web site digests, etc.) that isn’t as important as email from friends and coworkers. It’s email that you want but not right now. This week we want to hear all about your methods for wrangling Bacn so you can enjoy it when you’re in the mood but it doesn’t clutter up your inbox when you aren’t.

Sound off in the comments with your Bacn handling tips and then check back in on Friday for the What You Said roundup to see how your fellow readers handle things.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/5/12

Comments (38)

  1. r

    I make a bacn/spam sandwich & chase it down with a cold beer

  2. Ray

    I use Thunderbird as my email client. I have different folders that I filter the email I receive into. The newsletters and other subscribed emails go into a lower priority folder.

  3. theclassic

    i us a sorting rule to automaticly send them to another folder instead of my inbox
    so my inbox is for important emails from friends etc while subscriptions go to seperate folder(s)

  4. nfojunky

    Gmail filters work quite nicely.

    tags > folders

  5. jigglypuff

    One word: Filters. I just setup filters for all of this type of mail. Some I let go to inbox, others I let go straight to a folder without seeing it first. Then when I have time or want to go through them, I do.

  6. Cameochi

    @jigglypuff – me too! Filters work great and mine sit in their folder until I am ready to read them.

  7. crab

    Filters and folders, plus a separate gmail account for discussion lists that I only log into when I want to read my mailing lists.

    Tags > folders, but gmail’s filters aren’t as sophisticated as a real email client, so it evens out.

  8. LadyFitzgerald

    I don’t worry about it. I just leave it unopened until I have time to deal with it. If my inbox goes over one page (50 emails) for more than a week, I make time to deal with it to get the number of pending emails more manageable.

  9. TechGeek01

    At the moment, I use absolutely no filtering. However, I’m planning on setting up filters with Thunderbird.

    This way, my inbox can be spam and bacn free (all 6 of them! [one’s primary, and the other 5 are for my website]). FIlters may not be the most clever bacn combating solution, but it’s one of the easiest, and most hassle-free.

  10. David Moore

    I have setup a filter that automatically put any message that contains the word unsubscribe into a “BACN” folder. Very easy way to filter out a majority of my bacn.

  11. lu

    @jigglypuff: You obviously have some weaknesses when counting.

  12. nfojunky

    @crab What can you do with with a thick client that you can’t do with Gmail filters?

  13. SeaJohn

    I use rules in Outlook.

    What I would really like is to be able to set up rules that would automatically delete certain messages after a fixed amount of time. For example, If the sender is, move it to the StoreAds folder, and then delete it after 2 weeks.

    I know I could do that manually, but it would be nice for it to be automatic.

  14. Josh

    Firstly bacon is something I want all the time. So I wouldn’t call those emails bacn, I would call my friend’s emails bacon. But either way I haven’t set up any filters yet, however I have been meaning to for years. Gmails new “important” emails have been working fairly well. Maybe now that I’ve been reminded I’ll make a point to create some filters… maybe tomorrow.

    -Mr. Procrastinator

  15. Harry

    What he said; maňana

  16. Hisa

    Filters and rules all day and all night!

    At work, we use Outlook 2010 – The options for filtering are great! It is an incredibly rare occasion when a rule fails me and something sneaks through. The junk mail filter works great, and I love the options I have for organizing my overwhelming slew of correspondence! Virtually nothing hits my inbox. People, committees, reports, tickets, etc all have their own rules and folders. It is like a triage that I never have to monitor… the big plus being that I never miss anything important!

    For personal email, I love the new (Thanks for all the great tips you are giving for it!) makes filtering so easy! I am migrating everything there just for those options (plus a few other goodies I will refrain from gushing about). I set up folders for specific types of mail like my groupons, facebook, tweets, some of the newsletters I subscribe to, etc, and they skip right over my generic inbox and land in their own folder – that way I KNOW what is important and what is “unexpected but could be important.” And the latest feature you covered where you can set up parameters to delete old emails that have expiration dates when the new ones come in is wonderful, especially for my groupons and other coupons I get! It makes getting what I want really simple and keeps me from having to delete a bunch of obsolete stuff that I can’t use (especially with coupons) once I get time to use them! A nice time-saver.

    With Yahoo and Gmail, I use what I am given (they can’t compare with the new sparkly dust that was sprinkled on unfortunately – not yet anyway). While their filtering isn’t the best, they still do their job for the most part. Anytime you get something for free and can set up a folder that catches unwanted junk or willfully holds the “I’ll get to that later” information is a huge plus. The 10% that escape or sneak through are deal-able and were never really worth much thought over a brief annoyance and having to click the delete icon. ^^

    For my other accounts that I use as temps… I don’t even bother with filtering (or really checking them as nothing important ever goes there to begin with).

  17. lizbit

    webmin nails just about everything so we don’t get anything anymore, its all crap anyway.

  18. Luis

    I have an specific hotmail (now Outlook) account in order to get those coupons, newsletters from Bacn things, to subscribe to those web sites or promotions that forces you to write a valid e-mail adresse and may send you junk mail.
    On the other hand I use a Gmail account for personal use and to get e-mail from friends, coworkers and newsletters that I REALLY want.


  19. MGtrek

    While filters can help, for me they are quite a bit of work to maintain and generally require that your email client be online. So using filters doesn’t help when checking from my mobile devices – and that is when I need the sorting the most.

    What I’ve found has worked very well is to have multiple email accounts. Mine is set up in three layers. My friends use my primary account address. Email that comes from ‘reliable’ places that I am fairly sure won’t sell my address and will be sending me announcements and fliers go into the “registered” email account. Bacn and places that I feel have a higher risk of selling my address go into the “mailing list” email account. — And of course, there are standard spam filters on each with the personal address set higher and the mailing list one set lower.

    It may seem like a pain to have three accounts (actually, six – I have one set for personal, and one set for business), but when you consider how many folders you create using the filter process, it all washes out. Plus, I’ve found that I have a different mindset when I am in the different accounts – similar to how you feel when you are in your personal email as compared to your work account.

    Oh… and for those wonderful sites that insist on your email and you KNOW are going to spam you and sell your address, I send them to my “pit” email. The one that is only ever checked when I am looking for the info they are sending me that minute.

  20. imdb

    I use the Block Sender for it. That directs it to my Spam/Junk email folder, so I know where to find it if I really want it. Otherwise, it gets deleted.

  21. craisin

    I use Mailwasher (simply the best) – worth every penny (not epensive but the best handler /organizer of email ever!)

  22. jambrose

    In Yahoo mail go to options, email options, filters and send Bacn to folders such as “Ads” and “How to Geek” ect.

  23. Scott

    Outlook rules and categories automatically filter and move my mail. I don’t even have to see the subject line until I am ready to open the ‘bacon’ folder or category. I can quickly configure Outlook to sort by sender, subject, or a host of other possibilities.

  24. sue

    Outlook. The junk mail settings to high works for me.
    Open, Select all and Delete.

  25. ed

    Gmail Snooze is great because it gets rid of the email for the time being, and when it comes back it appears in your inbox were you either deal with it, or Snooze it again. I never use filters/rules for Bacn because once an email goes straight to a subfolder, I rarely dig it out again. Filters/rules are good for emails of lesser priority, stuff that’s barely above spam (like subscriptions that you usually don’t look at).

  26. Beverly

    I had never heard this term before, but it is perfect for newslettes and similiar type emails. For me, I normally let everything go into my inbox.

  27. knightspawn5

    Filters and folders

  28. dan

    I use the flags feature in outlook,
    that way the emails show up in tasks and once I have read them I can tick them off,

    other methods I have also tried are to have a folder under my inbox called “action required” and I put anything important in there,

    At work I have 3 folders, inbox, important, and recycle bin.
    I just delete anything that I have actioned (which then ends up in recycle bin)
    and leave anything for later (bacon?) in the inbox,
    anything that should be kept for future reference I put into important.

    my mate at work uses gmail and RSS feeds which seems to work well for him

  29. keltari

    I used to create folders based on the sender, then use rules to move the bacn to the appropriate folder.

    I then realized I had dozens of folders and hundreds upon hundreds of unread emails…

    So I deleted all the folders and unread bacn.

    Now when bacn comes in, either I read it when I see it, or it goes straight to the trash.

  30. bobro

    folder and rules… done..

  31. Ron

    I use combination of filters and manual.
    At one time I had folder on email accounts for every sender. Cool at first, pain in donkey after neat & newness wore off. Now it’s down to 5.
    Local Ads (Stores&Restaurnts)
    Ads (Business Ads I filter into here I decided they’re Bacn instead of marking as spam)
    After opening a folder and viewing by date, I click on the ‘From’ header to sort by sender if looking for particuliar sender. Also sort by Subject, Attachment icon, Unread icon, Flagged icon or Ascending/ Descending Date.
    Signing up for business admail is good for the wallet. You will get specials in your email that are not available by browsing their website or Sunday paper. Free items or food. Discounts on purchase or certain items. Food stores are great for this practice, especially the ones with customer cards. They’ll add extra deals to your card, including more savings at their pumps.
    I also use Thunderbird because it’s the only email client that allows downloading free yahoo email.
    Guess I’ll check the new Outlook out.

  32. Marc Robinsone Caballero

    I use (chrome/firefox extension) for the “Remind Me” feature — so I can archive emails for now and return back at a later time.

    Boomerang does the same thing, albeit a bit pricier (and no email tracking).

    For everything else (like when I’m stranded with my Android phone in a remote island — always true here in the Philippines): I deal with bacn simply using native features Gmail &/or Outlook:

    * tag newsletters, promotions, news | reader subscriptions with [,news]
    * tag important emails that can be ignored/responded within 24-hours with [FUP]
    ** FUP stands for “follow-up”. If I failed dealing with them it then stands for “f*cked up” and must be archived immediately.
    * 15-minute rule applies to BACN emails. If they’re too hot to ignore, I read them (including other bacn emails) within a 15-minute time-limit, tops.

    Bacn is all about personal gratification, I think. It all boils down to self-restraint and self-control.



  33. FichenDich

    This is a problem ? Much less one that needs a solution ? And my god, it even requires a cutesy dumbass name ?! I delete the majority and open the ones of interest. This is NOT problematic ! And as far as putting them in a folder for later viewing, many of them are time sensitive.

  34. bedlamb

    Folders in Thunderbird and Pegasus.

  35. Michael

    I just keep it marked “Unread” and mosey on…

  36. ProstheticHead

    Smother it in HP Brown Sauce, topped with a fried egg, sandwiched between two slices of toast. Mmm.

  37. Dan

    I’ve had to start unsubscribing; especially when a place I’ve never given my phone number to starts calling my house asking for money. If there’s information I’m interested in at a certain time, I’ll go looking for it.

  38. Clauber

    Gmail Filters. At the moment I use a bunch of filters that send all relevant email to folders/tags in gmail and for Bacn I send most straight to a specific folder.

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