Saving Email

You can easily manage your email volume if you set up a separate mailbox for each person you correspond with.

Most messages take up very little space, but a deleted message can never be retrieved. Therefore, you should save almost all messages, unless they are very, very large and of no interest.

Your email program should automatically save all outgoing email in your Out mailbox. Don’t bother trying to manage your sent mail — you can always sort the Out mailbox by the “To” field to organize it into sections ordered by the name of the people you sent to. You can also sort the Out box by “Date” and scan the messages sent by hour, day, and week. Never take mail out of the Out box and file it somewhere else unless you have a very good reason for doing so — it compromises these search capabilities, and is far too much work.

The basic technique to saving email is to create separate mailboxes for each type:

  • By name. Create a separate mailbox for each of your family and friends, labeled with their last name first so they will be stored in alphabetical order. For example, if you get email from John Smith, create a mailbox called one of the following, depending on how flexible your email program is:

Smith, John

Once you have read each incoming email, store it in the mailbox named for the person that sent it. This technique makes your email management very easy. A common mistake is to create mailboxes for projects, since it is difficult to create the right set of project folders, or remember exactly what project an email was associated with if it was from someone that works on more than one project. But you can almost always remember who sent an email, which is why makes the recommended method works so well.

  • By subject. You can also create a certain number of mailboxes for email on specific subjects, such as the following, but as described above you should do this sparingly for only a few high profile and important topics:


  • Mailing lists. If you belong to a number of Internet mailing lists, you should create a “Mailing lists” folder, and create mailboxes for each mailing list you subscribe to. Name each mailbox after the name of the mailing list, and then filter the email from that list into the corresponding mailbox (see managing mailing lists).
  • Your own email. Sometimes you need to save a copy of an email that you send to yourself, perhaps as a note, or as copied on a message to someone else. You can create a folder called “Smith-Jane-Out” or something similar for this purpose.
  • From another account. You may sometimes send yourself information from another email account, for example when you send a joke from work to your home address. You can create a folder for this email called “Smith-Jane-Work” or something similar.