As we have discussed in our last few posts, Spring cleaning your technology is very important. Today we are going to discuss the importance of cleaning out your Outlook mailbox, and organizing it to make it better work for you.
Memory – The Closet of Electronics
You know that closet in your house where everything seems to wind up? After months of old sneakers, random boxes of junk, and other nick knacks getting tossed in there the closet becomes full and cannot hold anything more. Your computer, tablet, and smartphone are like that closet; everything gets stored in the device’s memory and eventually needs to be cleaned out. Your email is often one of the largest culprits of this problem. This is why cleaning out your Outlook is so important.
In the corporate world, emails are our life-blood. Emails are how we plan meetings, discuss projects, etc. In 2013, over 100 billion emails were sent each day. With that much email traffic, imagine how much memory is consumed on our computers collectively! What can we do to lessen the amount of space that Outlook takes up on our computers?
Get Organized by Cleaning Out Your Outlook
With such a large amount of email, the Outlook mailbox can be a complete mess! The first thing you’ll want to do is get organized. Organizing will filter out emails that are not necessary to hold onto.
Are all of your emails sitting in your Inbox? Then create labeled folders such as, “Invoices,” “Clients,” “For Follow-up,” etc. Then move the emails to the appropriate folders. Watch the following tutorial for tips and tricks for working in, and organizing, your Outlook mailbox:
While you’re going through your emails, to sort them into folders, you can take that time to delete any emails that you no longer have a need to retain. But be warned! When you delete your emails, they are not gone entirely. Instead, they go into the “Deleted Items” folder where they will stay until either you empty that folder, a rule empties that folder, or your corporation’s retention policy permanently deletes them. Until you delete them from “Deleted Items,” they will still take up your precious space.
Into the Vault!
Ok, I know that we all have emails that we feel we must hold onto until the end of time, but even with organizing our Outlook Mailbox, the mailbox space can still become too full. When our folders need to be emptied out, we have to turn to the archiving options built into Outlook.
Outlook has an auto-archiving option that will create an archive, or PST, automatically based on specified criteria such as the age of an email. The auto-archive will continue to grow as more and more emails meet the criteria. But remember, the larger the PST, the larger the file gets and while it’s still open in Outlook, it’s taking up your space. For more information about Outlook’s auto-archiving feature: Click Here.
I find that exporting the folders to a PST file manually and importing the PST into Outlook only when needed helps alleviate space issues in the Outlook mailbox. You can save the PST file to an external flash drive, import the PST long enough to view the necessary emails, then close the PST, and eject the flash drive.
Click here to learn how to export Outlook folders to a PST. This reference shows how to export your entire mailbox to a PST, including your contacts, calendars, etc. Instead of selecting the full mailbox, you can specify individual folders to export. Once the folders are exported to the PST, you’ll be able to delete the contents of the original folder.
Click here to learn how to import a PST into Outlook. While a PST is imported into Outlook, it will increase the size of the Outlook mailbox, so you’ll want to make sure you close it after you’re done reviewing the emails. Close the PST by right-clicking on it in Outlook’s folder view, called the “Navigation Pane,” and select “Close ‘PST Name’.”
There are tons of tutorials and more information available at Microsoft Office’s Support page.
Happy Spring Cleaning!