Managing Email Mailbox Size

[Best Practices for Managing Email Mailbox Size]
[Tips and Tricks]
[Email Reduction Tactics]

Best Practices for Managing Email Mailbox Size

  • Your Exchange quota includes all your email, attachments, calendar data, task items and more. You will see even better performance if you keep your mailbox well under that size.
  • Remember that your Sent mail folder counts too, and may be very large! If you are experiencing problems with your email program or mobile device loading very slowly, you may want to periodically archive mail in your Sent folder.
  • Although most email programs (Outlook, MacMail, etc.) offer an Auto-Archive option, for most users it is simpler to just create folders for email messages you need to save, and manually move email there from time to time, for long-term storage.
  • If you could use some guidance in Inbox management and reducing your mailbox clutter, remember the "4 D's":
    • Do it—Determine whether you will take action on it or file it for reference.
    • Defer it—Wait to deal with it until later.
    • Delegate it—Forward to someone else.
    • Delete it—Remove it from your Inbox.
  • Do not store mail you need to keep in your Deleted Items folder. If you wish to keep a message, file it in another folder. That way, you can safely empty your Deleted Items folder occasionally.
  • You may see delays and slower performance in your Exchange account if you do not empty your Deleted Items folder from time to time.
  • Save your email attachments locally (on your computer) and then delete the messages they are attached to in your mailbox.


Tips and Tricks

For email programs like Outlook or MacMail

Mass selection of email messages:

  • Select the first email. Hold down [Shift] then click on select contiguous blocks of emails.
  • Select the first email. Hold down [Ctrl], or [⌘] on Macs, then select non-contiguous blocks of emails.

Checking the size of your mailbox:

  1. In Outlook (2010 or higher), select the File tab and then navigate to Mailbox Cleanup  >  Cleanup  >  Tools  >  Mailbox cleanup...
  2. Click the View Mailbox Size button
  3. Select the Service Data tab
  4. Total Size (including folders) indicates how large your mailbox is

Where should I look first to clean out mail?

  • The obvious first choice is the Deleted Items folder.  Make sure that your Deleted Items folder is emptied regularly. As a business best practice don't get in the habit of using the Deleted Items folder as a holding pen for "just in case."
  • The second choice is the Sent Items folder. Make sure that you purge your Sent Items folder at some point. Occasionally, users have a copy of every email they have ever sent. Go ahead, pick a date, and delete all sent items prior to that date.
  • Look for items with large attachments. Although each deleted email helps with cleanup, deleting a message with a 5MB attachment helps a lot fmore than a 4KB text-only message. You may have either sent or received multiple messages that have a different version of the same attachment. Delete the messages containing the earlier versions of the attachments when you only need the final one for reference.

Deleting items older than a certain date:

  1. In your email program, select the folder that you want to clean up.
  2. Sort the message items by selecting the Date column heading or by selecting the Received column heading.
  3. Select the most recent message that you want to delete (you want to delete this message and all messages older).
  4. Scroll to the oldest message, hold down the [Shift] key and click the oldest message. All messages from the oldest to the most recent one that you want to delete should be selected.
  5. Select the Delete button on the toolbar to Delete the selected messages. Alternatively, you can press the Delete button on your keyboard.

Deleting items based on the size:

  1. In your email program, select the folder that you want to clean up.
  2. Sort the message items by size by clicking the Size column heading. The larger items will be listed at the top.
  3. Select message that you don't need and delete them. Deleting message with large attachments can quickly reduce the size of yoru mailbox.

Email Reduction Tactics

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