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How much email do you keep…and why?

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I long ago switched to gmail for all my email. I have a few other accounts which I don't use anymore and I've set them up to fwd to gmail.

All gmail is sync'd using Imap for local backup and offline access. I never delete email - there is no reason to. Saving a measly few MB is not worth losing 1000's of emails.

I consider emails as part of my personal history.  Do you throw letters away?  And since it's so easy to just keep digital information on a hard drive, I don't see why you wouldn't keep emails.  I've kept all of my emails since 1996.  It's almost like a's a history of your life.  Your kids can one day read what you were like 30 years ago (that might be good or bad!  depending on the content).  That's why I hate webmail, you don't have as much control as to how to store your emails.

For those of you that cherish this aspect of email, check out the software Mailbag Assistant (by fookes).  It lets you extract emails in a powerful way and you can present them in convenient formats (webpages, text files, etc.).  I've never really used it heavily, but it could be useful in the future, I'm thinking.
-superboyac (February 02, 2008, 09:02 PM)
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Exactly the same here.  :) And, like you , I dislike webmail. It's just lost.

A seemingly nice feature of Mailbag Assistant is the ability to "export your e-mails as EML files, Web pages, or other formats based on customizable templates". That would eliminate the Outlook database problem (as mentioned by Renegade) as each email can be stored as a separate file in a folder. Edit : and, BTW, OutlookSpiller seems like a good app to do just that.

I pretty much keep all relevant email

What I get rid of almost immediately:
* offers and most newsletter
* most shopping order confirmations (most shops send 4-5 per order)
* "figuring things out" emails - the emails going back and forth while hammering out what to do next Sunday etc.

What I keep, Personal email:
* messages from friends and family
* 1 shopping receipt per order for a year, later I keep only the ones about software or expensive items (i also clone that to lwa + for software i save a text copy for the "must reinstall system, what now?" CD along with drivers and installation files)
* a small set of newsletters with useful content for reference (i also clone some of that to lwa)
* travel order confirmations. Helps me remember "when did I go...."

Work email:
* all email to/from clients which is relevant (i.e. not the 3 word emails saying "see you then" or "ok ill do that")
* key internal emails and announcements
* emails about any difficult

It is cheap to store email (if you clear big attachments) and that means you can keep it forever

I lost quite a lot of email dating before 1999 when upgrading/swapping at some point. My email before was in a (wonderful product!!!) called "post road mailer" and I gave up on migrating much of that. Dont even know where the files are now.

This is one issue I avoid by being on imap now, I can point a blank email client to the server and tada!

Right now I'm using pop3 so I download my mails. It's a little troublesome as I'm having trouble migrating my email to another computer. Perhaps I should start clearing my old emails.
-chunkit (February 03, 2008, 01:01 PM)
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I'm not sure exactly what problems you're having, but there's another software by fookes (makers of mailbag assistant) called Aid4Mail that is really great for migrating between email clients.  Depending on what you're migrating from/to I know it can be a real pain.  When I was doing it (fortunately) from Pegasus to the Bat, it was easy because the authors of both programs were conscientious enough to accommodate such migration.  But if it involves Outlook, you will probably have to jump through some hoops, and it might not even be possible without aid4mail.  Outlook should be ashamed of this also.  I was really pissed about Outlook when I was trying to migrate my dad's Eudora stuff into Outlook, and there just wasn't an easy way to do it.  I don't understand why Outlook wouldn't make it easy, they stand to lose nothing.

Actually the email I am having trouble searching is the email i have accumulated on my new job, 10 months only, and that is in Outlook/Exchange - and it is very slow to search/find things. So not a case of keeping too much too long, just less than a year's worth of project emails.  :-\


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