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An email in your inbox is two things: an imperative to act (reply, call, do something based on the email), and a piece of searchable supporting information for that action - or anything else, really.

So what you describe is pretty close already to inbox zero. The last step is to get even more aggressive about archiving things non-to-dos and trusting that archive search box. A truly empty inbox is more important than it may seem - new items are seen by themselves, standalone, instead of as part of existing glut of shit to take care of. And it's good to have the discipline to either commit to an imperative task or just say "no" - either explicitly or via non-response.

My inbox is not an imperative to act -- only the unread bold items are such an imperative. Those are to be replied, forwarded, flagged, deleted, or ignored. If it's read then I've done one of those actions. No need to archive off the inbox to get that discipline. All the tools are there.

I found that it's a disadvantage to not have the stream of activity that Inbox infinity provides. All incoming email is sorted by date so I can always see my activity.

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