Thoroughly Clearing Out Your Email Accounts

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who gets hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of emails daily across my various email accounts. They add up so quickly and it’s sometimes hard to know what to keep.

While going through one of my email accounts, I found some of the oddest things. Why do I keep these things, in what circumstance will I ever need most of the information ever again?

I found emails from Turbo Tax from 2010 telling me that our federal and state tax returns had been accepted. So why did I save this? They’re from 4 years ago. Obviously our returns had been accepted, as had the ones from later years. What’s wrong with me?

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you will ever need a certain piece of information ever again. What if…? That’s the problem! That’s how so many emails accumulate and get stored in our email accounts. Most of them will never truly be of use ever again.

Must. Purge. Now!

Options for Storing Potentially Useful Information

When you’re going through your many emails, sometimes you’re just not sure if you should keep something or not. So you need a place to store the potentially useful information just in case.

You don’t need to keep the whole email, nor do you need to keep this information stored in your email account. A simple copy and paste of the relevant information is the way to go.

But where are you going to paste it? Do you want to keep it only on your home or office computer; or do you want to have access to it from anywhere?

3 Recommended Storage Options

1. Evernote– is a free online cloud service that lets you store information online that you can access from anywhere.

2. Dropbox– Another free online cloud service that makes it easy to access the information from anywhere, but also makes it easy to put it the information on various devices opposed to just keeping it online.

3. A simple Word or Text document stored on your computer and backed up onto either an external hard drive, usb drive or burned onto a disk.

For passwords and log-in information, I suggest recording the information in a small portable, hide-able notebook. I use an Extra Small Moleskine Notebook for mine, but that’s just my preference. You could use a single sheet of folded up paper to save money and space.

Saving Information Quickly

Now that you’ve decided where to save your information, you don’t want to get caught up with properly organizing everything. Doing so would take extra time, slow down your purging efforts and probably end up not getting done.

What I do is have my little notebook and a pen handy for recording sensitive information, such as passwords and account numbers and have Evernote (where I copy and paste everything to) open and ready to go.

Then I’ll create a new note or folder and name it email info from x (x=  email address where information came from) to keep things simple and partially organized. That way, if I ever end up looking for information, I know what email address to look under.

Now I can quickly and efficiently copy and paste without worrying about putting them into separate notes or folder, everything from that email address is in one place. I copy and paste information and then press enter to get to a new line, then I add 3 dashes to create a small divider so that information doesn’t get mixed up and confusing later on.

The main idea is to get it done quickly and worry about organization later…if ever at all. More than likely, you won’t ever really need the information again. You’re keeping it “just in case.”

Back and Forth (Conversation Emails)

You know how sometimes people like to save email communications between friends, family, colleagues and various businesses? I do it, but I can’t be the only one who does. If you absolutely must save them, you have two options.

  • Option 1 is to save the email as a PDF. Assuming you’re using Google Chrome, because that’s all I use,  it’s so easy. All you have to do is click print, like you’re planning to print your email and in the print options for where you want to print, choose “save as PDF” from the menu. It’s that simple.
  • Option 2 is to just copy and paste into whatever program or online storage you’re using. You could create a new note or folder for this, but I don’t. Remember, we’re trying to get everything done as quickly as possible and saving organization for later or never. Just get it done, you know.

For both options, you’ll want to do it with the most recent replied email so that you’re not going in and saving duplicate content and making your work redundant.

Questions To Ask Yourself

Am I ever going to need this information again?

Can I easily obtain this information through a quick online search?

In which circumstance will this be needed?

Is this something I should print?

Will it kill me to just delete it?

Is the world going to end if I don’t save this?

Why am I keeping all this useless crap?

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