Software

Clean up your Inbox

Don't let old items sit around in your Inbox to collect dust! A neat and tidy Inbox is just a few clicks away.

Are you still suffering from the New Year itch? If your Inbox is anything like mine, I can't think of a better spot to scratch than e-mail!

Now, if you don't think you're an e-mail packrat, choose Mailbox Cleanup from the Tools menu. Then, click the View Mailbox Size button and thumb through your folders. Surprise! You've probably got more (a lot more) e-mail than you thought.

Is your itch worse? Mine sure is. Fortunately, relief is just a few clicks away.

First, use the Find option to find old items -- just how old is up to you. If you haven't responded to an item in the last several months, do you really think you ever will? This feature lets you limit your search in a number of ways, so take a few minutes to look around. Then, run a search and delete your oldest items. (This feature searches the Inbox and personal folders.)

After you delete all the old messages you're willing to part with, archive old messages that you intend to hang on to for a while longer by clicking AutoArchive. This step isn't necessary, but it will improve performance if you have a lot of them.

When you're done, empty the Deleted folder. You cleaned up your Inbox, but you sent all that clutter to the Deleted folder, so it's still hanging around. Click Empty to toss it out forever. (Warning: Deleting items from the Deleted folder deletes them for good!)

Ahhhhhhhhhhh...

I told you that you'd feel better!

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

7 comments
samscats
samscats

...and other generally helpful reviews, but...what about us MacHumans? Mail doesn't seem to have an archiving feature.

stews mith
stews mith

You have the following option with Mac's Mail: Export your inbox to a .mbx file and give it an appropriate name, e.g. inbox Aug2008.mbx Same can be done with the sent folder You can re-import the .mbx file to Mail for viewing. There are some mail mangagement progs available commercially (mailsteward is one I've googled, don't know its details/usefulness though as don't intend to go down 3rd party route) ...hope this helps

ssharkins
ssharkins

I don't work with Macs -- never have. I'm sorry I can't help.

ssharkins
ssharkins

My previous answer wasn't very helpful -- I assume you've checked Outlook's Help files for "archiving." I'll ask around and if I learn anything, I'll post some instructions.

stews mith
stews mith

Inspirational stuff! ...but sad that the obvious needs to be stated!

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

My Inbox is almost always empty. It has a subfolder for incomplete projects but that never has more than a few subfolders and 40 emails at any one time. My Deleted Items folder has no more than one months worth of emails. They are kept in case I deleted one by mistake and then are deleted after the 30 days. Older emails that I need for reference are moved to a pst file. Attachments are removed from emails and saved to the network. The pst has the same folder structure as what's in email so it's easy to move things around and find them later. Email size, on the server, is less than 10 Meg and the the pst is less than 60 Meg. I have been at this office for almost seven years and it works quite well. No issues with Outlook crashing or running slow. Finding items is quick. I think it works for me. How about you? EMD

ssharkins
ssharkins

The biggest obstacle really isn't the amount of E-mail -- it's just being organized and disciplined and actually dumping stuff on a regular basis. I think most people just bypass the task with a quick..."I'll do it tormorrow..." But knowing how easy it is to clean it up should help.