I can delete them as is, I'd miss the searchability. I wish there was an app for "download all the attachments, print the email text itself to a PDF, throw all that into a folder".
What I do:
I view each email shown in the spreadsheet, starting with the biggest.
If I want to keep the attachment:
(a) I save it to Gdocs (now Gdrive) and give it a useful/relevant filename;
(b) I get the link to that file as a Shared file.
(c) I select foward
for the email, insert the filename and link in the text at at the top of the email, and untick
the attachment box.
(d) Put my address as the "To" name for the email (I'm sending it to myself).
(e) send the email, now less any attachment.
(f) Delete the email with the attachment.
That way, you get to separate the email from the attachment, save them both, and keep them linked.
It's a bit tedious, so I do this in bits, over time. It's surprising what a dent you can make in your "fat" emails this way, and it makes for more orderly storage.
If you use the Gdrive app to sync to your PC (I recommend this), then you can have all the attached files (which are now detached and saved in Gdrive) backed up on your PC. If you want to do that, then select their Gdrive folders in the Gdrive sync app. (I sync all folders - the whole Gdrive - by default.)
The first time the sync runs, it takes a while (all files/folders selected get transferred to your PC), but after that it's not too busy.
Your email will thus eventually be just
email with no/few attachments, and you can similarly back the email up using a client email package (e.g., Outlook) on your PC.
- Gdrive has virtual "folders" (they are really like Gmail labels - "tags"), and you can place a file in several of these "folders". It's a great way to organise your files into categories. But there's always only one single copy of the file, no matter how many folders you have it in (unless you deliberately create a duplicate of it).
- So, if you shuffle your files around in the folders on Gdrive or tick a file as being in more than one folder, then that will cause the sync app to save a duplicate of the file to each logical folder on your PC. All those duplicates could have the potential to become very confusing (e.g., which is the version you want to update offline?), a waste of disk space, and a bandwidth hog if you shuffle files around a lot whilst organising things.
- So consider turning the sync app off until your shuffling has finished and experiment carefully to discover how offline update affects file updates to Gdrive after online sync.