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Useful category between "General Reference" and "Trash"

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  • Useful category between "General Reference" and "Trash"

    When processing my email, instead of deleting the stuff I do not need to keep or act on, I transfer most of it to a holding folder called "Hold 60 days" which automatically deletes contents older than 2 months. In practice, this is very much like trashing the messages, but if for some reason I need to retrieve something in the near future, I still have a second chance. It works like a recycle bin.

    My logic is that there is a lot of stuff that I probably won't need again but there is a small chance that the issue will rear up again and I will want the email for reference. If that doesn't happen within the next few days or weeks, then it can be safely considered a dead issue and the messages deleted. I really do not want the overhead of archiving and then later culling out such things because the volume of these items is huge and that would require handling each one again in the future. This is an efficient way to keep it retrievable for a while with no overhead. This also makes it easier for me to dump things that should be dumped without that nagging feeling that I JUST MIGHT need it someday.

    It is probably also possible in some email programs to simply set the "Deleted Items" folder to delete items only after 2 months so you can look there to retrieve stuff that you have an unexpected need for.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-19-2005, 09:57 AM.

  • #2
    I do something similar to this, but it is slightly more decision-specific.
    I have email folders named "Review Weekly" and "Review Monthly". Each Monday I check the first one and at the beginning of each month I check the second. I use these folders for emails which don't have a date-specific time to do the N/A. Some are moderately important, while others may be critical.

    To me, the key is to make the correct decision on where to park these emails at the outset. The rest of the process takes care of itself.


    • #3
      Barry, I do something that's almost identical, and it has been the single best thing that I've done to manage my email (and to keep my email in-box close to zero). I don't know how to have things automatically deleted from a single folder, so I just set up folders called "1/2005 Trash," "2/2005 Trash," etc. I delete each one when its contents are at least 2 months old -- like you, I've concluded that that's about how long I need to keep them. I've been doing this for about a year and it has worked like a charm! Now that I'm comfortable with the process, I don't even feel the need to glance over the "trash" before I delete it.

      One word of warning, though: make sure that you are deleting the contents of the folder, and not just the folder! I'm afraid that I made that mistake the first few times. Ouch.


      • #4
        DallasLawyer, I'm glad to know this method has some adherents. I started out using a 30-day retention period figuring that anything beyond a week or two would be sufficient. Then right off the bat I needed something that was 32 days old. Oh well. I bumped it up to 2 months and that has worked perfectly for me as well.

        As far as automating the process, Outlook has a feature called AutoArchive. That can be used or really a manual method is just as good. You can dump everything into one folder and (assuming it sorts by date) just periodically select all of the older items at the bottom of the list and hit "del."