#12 Clean Up Outlook to Start the New Year

January 05, 2011
Tired of slow searches and sluggish behavior in Outlook? The start of a new year is a great time to do some housekeeping. A messy mailbox can reduce performance and slow down searches. Learn three easy techniques to tidy up Outlook and make a clean break into the new year.
 
1. Delete Old, Large, and Unnecessary Emails

Cleaning out unnecessary emails serves two purposes: it improves Outlook performance and helps maintain privacy standards. The best way to protect confidential data is to not have it.
Ask yourself two questions to help identify unnecessary emails:
  1. If I won the lottery and never returned to work, would my successor understand my filing and directories systems and actually need the info I’m keeping there?
  2. Is it necessary I keep this for business purposes?
To quickly find old or large emails, copy and paste the searches below (in bold text) into the Outlook Instant Search box. 
 
  • Large email: messagesize:>500k
  • Old email: received:<=1/1/2009
2. Empty your Deleted Items Folder

Deleting your extra emails is only the first step. To truly rid your mailbox of those emails you will need to empty your Deleted Items folder.
  • On the Go menu, click Folder List.
  • In the Folder List, right-click the Deleted Items folder, and then on the shortcut menu, click Empty “Deleted Items” Folder.
Extra Tip:  There’s no need to worry if you accidentally delete an email you needed. Emails are recoverable for up to 30 days, even after emptying your Deleted Items folder! Recover deleted items by opening your Deleted Items folder, then choosing Recover Deleted Items on the Tools menu.
 
3. Archive Your Inbox & Sent Items Folders

Folders containing many messages can also slow down Outlook. Consider creating an Archive folder and a Sent Archive folder to hold old emails that you need to hold onto. Microsoft recommends keeping your Inbox and Sent Items folders under 10,000 messages.
  • Create new folders: From the File menu, point to New and then click Folder  to create your archive folders.
  • Move your old emails:  Go to your Inbox and Sent Items folders, then drag and drop old emails to your archive folders. To select adjacent items, click the first item, hold down the Shift key and click the last item. To selectnonadjacent items, click the first item, hold down the Ctrl key and click additional items.
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