You’ve got (entirely too much) mail

I don’t do Gmail, but I figure any client for any email provider can do this to you:

I’m looking at my G-mail. I have over 10,000 messages there. Why? Because I thought maybe I should save one, and yes, maybe I should save that one too, and pretty soon I was saving everything and now I’ve got 10,000 messages. Theoretically, there might be some important information in there somewhere, and occasionally I have managed to retrieve some useful bit, but is it worth carrying all this baggage around for that one, possibly useful, bit of information that I dredge up every six months or so? If I was having to pay for this storage, no it wouldn’t. But I am willing to carry the mental load of thinking there are useful things stored safely away in this pile of verbiage. So now I am thinking that maybe I should just delete everything and start over.

I threw away around 8000 messages at the end of the year. I still seem to have, um, 41,287 in the archive. Then again, the archive goes back to 1997. And spam is not a consideration in this count: except for items mocked in this space, spam is deleted more or less upon receipt.


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 January 2016 · 2:16 pm

    I can see it now, the new TLC series: “E-mail Hoarders”

  2. CGHill »

    7 January 2016 · 3:31 pm

    Not much to look at, except for those weirdos who actually print email.

  3. fillyjonk »

    7 January 2016 · 5:18 pm

    “The Collyer Brothers of 2016.”

  4. McGehee »

    7 January 2016 · 8:34 pm

    My business professor offered this advice: look at it once. If it’s important, deal with it and move on. My inbox is almost always empty.

    I keep a label in Gmail called “Bookmarked” for items I judge necessary to keep handy. Anything else is either deleted or archived, and every so often when I’m bored I go through the archive and delete hundreds of piled-up dross.

    The rest, I may download in WLM and collect on my hard drive to ZIP, and then delete from Gmail after closing WLM.

    And then the ZIPd emails languish, never rifled, because even they didn’t contain anything I needed. But they’re off the server, and they are fewer.

  5. CGHill »

    7 January 2016 · 10:01 pm

    I run everything (eventually) into WLM. The archive is about 1.2 GB. There is stuff I occasionally need to reference — and yes, there are things I will probably never look at again.

  6. Roger Green »

    8 January 2016 · 5:58 am

    18,500 emails. This was before I learned to archive, so a good half need to be archived. But when do I actually DO that?

  7. ETat »

    9 January 2016 · 8:18 am

    *covers face in shame*
    My inbox has 2,182 pages of mail

  8. Georganna Hancock (@GLHancock) »

    9 January 2016 · 8:44 pm

    Interesting. I can’t NOT save emails in Gmail. It does it automatically, except for spam, which it deletes after 30 days. Of course with 15 GB of space for each account, it is hard to run out of room. And I have quite a few accounts among Google, Yahoo, TWC, and my website account.

  9. CGHill »

    9 January 2016 · 11:13 pm

    I concede, I am far from 15 GB in aggregate, running five accounts through WLM.

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