When was the last time you cleaned up your e-mail folders? I try to answer all my e-mails and delete the ones I don’t want to keep right away, but I tend to be a bit sloppy in not printing out the ones I want to immediately or moving them to archive folders appropriately.
Usually every 6 months or so, I tend to do this cleanup. Of course, like everything, the longer you delay, the tougher a job it will seem to be and the more you will procrastinate. This time for me, I had 18 months of e-mails to go through and today I finally took the 4 hours it needed. I had over 2,000 e-mails in my Inbox and 500 in my Sent Items.
My technique is to sort the Inbox by the From column and the Outbox by the To column. Then I can usually move all the mails relating to a person at once to the appropriate archive folder to keep them. I have about 12 such folders, one for Behold Users, one for Genealogy Correspondence, etc.
I ended up keeping and reallocating about half the messages to my various folders. I printed out about 200 of them, mostly Genealogy Correspondence, which I have liked to keep hard copies of in binders. I have found Outlook Express to be quite adequate as a storage repository and excellent for searching for specific messages. But I still worry that because it is a single file, it may get corrupted and I can lose everything in it since my last backup. But over the years I have been impressed with its reliability and it may one day become my primary reference and the hardcopy may be tossed. I’m just not quite ready to do that yet.
So now I’ve got a nice clean Inbox and Outbox. It feels just as good as having a nice clean house. I now have 1,160 messages in my Behold Users folder, and 397 in my genealogy correspondence folder, and about 8,000 messages in my various other folders (4,679 from my Jewish Heritage Centre where I was President for 2 years and the e-mails just flowed!)
Oh: Now there’s those 200 printed e-mails that I have to file in my binders. -Sigh-