If you’re holding on to emails from years ago, because something may come in handy one day – It won’t.
Clean up time isn’t fun, but it’s helpful to go through your mail on your “down time”: a snowy Saturday or while you’re trying to ignore TV commercials. Here are some tricks –
The Attachments Option
This is probably the most critical to pay attention to. Keeping a whole email just because of the attached document makes no sense. Sort email by attachment and take a look at the attached docs. If they should be kept, either save the documents in the appropriate My Documents folder, or you can even simply print them out, and then get rid of the email.
The Date Option
Sort by date received, oldest at the top. Based on your job history, decide what has been critical to keep long term. Perhaps you only need to keep a historical record of communications involving a particularly persnickety boss or client in order to protect your caboose. These should be in a particular folder anyway, so that you can clean up the rest of your email “house”. (It’s like that junk room in your house you don’t let guests see.) Be aware that for the most part, emails you’ve exchanged older than the last calendar year, you can safely remove.
The Size Option
Sorting mail by size gives you the advantage of surmising that the smallest files will be an email consisting of, “ok, I’ll be there.” Once you annihilate those, you’ll already start to feel better. The largest emails will most likely be someone expounding on how angry/hurt/fed up they are. Take a look and see if I’m right. Get rid of those. They already feel better and you’re not getting paid to read their angst.
While you’re zipping along, don’t forget to also clean out your Sent Items folder; this is the one that’s easiest to forget and probably has the most, “ok I’ll be there” entries.
Lastly, don’t leave all those trashed emails sitting in the Deleted Items folder! Empty it out and reward yourself on the weight you’ve lost!