Housekeeping for Effective Mailbox Management

Best practice to manage your email

All users of the CH Email Service currently receive an unrestricted email quota. As storage capacity on our mail servers is not endless, we must, therefore, work sensibly within the limits of the available storage capacity.

Effective mailbox management will also benefit users. The larger your mailbox the longer it will take for Outlook to load or for you to search your emails.

There is no right way to organise a mailbox, but below are some basic email housekeeping rules and practices that as part of an overall effective mailbox management strategy will ensure you keep within your quota.

Check the size of your mailbox

In Outlook 2010

  1. Right click on Mailbox – Your, Name
  2. Select Data File Properties
  3. Under the General tab, click Folder Size
  4. The Total Size (including subfolders) figure shows your current Mailbox usage in KB

In Outlook Web Access (OWA)

  1. Hover your cursor over the Mailbox icon
  2. Your Mailbox usage is shown in a pop-up box

How big are the emails?

To see how big the individual messages are, you might need to add the Size column to your view.

  1. Click on the View tab
  2. In the Customise View dialog press the Fields button
  3. If the Size field is not visible in the right light named Show these fields in this order, select it in the left list name Available fields and press the Add button.

Regularly clean out your Inbox and its subfolders

Email is an essential work tool, you need to make time to manage it effectively. You can create subfolders to structure the email you retain on the server. Remember email filed to these subfolders is still on the server and occupies space.

Users often create sophisticated email folder structures allowing messages to be moved to folders appropriate to their subject matter. If you do this then you already possess a little of the email housekeeping know?how. Do remember, however, just because you move messages from your Inbox to these subfolders, this does not mean that you have cleared space on the mail server.

Outlook Search feature is a useful way to find emails filed. The Search toolbar displayed at the top of Outlook includes everything you need to easily and quickly search your emails. Simply click on the text box to activate the Search functions.

Managing the Sent Items folder

Outlook’s default behaviour is to save a copy of every email you send in your Sent Items folder. These copies use space so remember to check every couple of weeks and delete any unwanted items. Don't keep what you don't need in your Sent Items Folder.

Deleted items

When you delete an item from Outlook, it is moved to the Deleted Items folder. Depending on your personal email filing style, you may wish to delete all messages placed in your trash or deleted folder to increase mailbox storage. Emptying this folder regularly will save space in your mailbox.

Manually Empty Deleted Items

  1. Right click on the Deleted Items folder
  2. Select Empty Folder

Automatically Empty Deleted Items

  1. Click on the File tab and select Options
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Under Outlook start and exit, tick Empty Deleted Items folder when exiting Outlook
  4. To be notified before the Deleted Items folder is emptied automatically
    Under Advanced scroll down to Other
    Tick Prompt for confirmation before permanently deleting items

Use Folders and Rules to organise mail

First, create additional folders to help you to organise and manage your email messages.

  1. Right click on Mailbox – Your, Name
  2. Select New Folder
  3. Give your folder an appropriate name
  4. Select the location to store the folder
  5. Click Ok

To manually copy or move messages into your new folder click on an item and, holding down the left mouse button, drag it onto its destination folder.

Applying rules

Rules can save you a lot of time by automatically performance commands like moving or deleting messages as they arrive. For example, if you always move emails from a certain person to a folder, you could create a rule to do this automatically. You can create rules that look for a specific sender, recipient, subject or specific words that are contained in the body of the email.

To create a new rule

  1. Select Rules, then select Manage Rules & Alerts
  2. The Rules and Alerts dialog box will appear, click the New Rule button.
  3. The Rules Wizard will appear. Follow the instructions to create a new rule.

Move important and unimportant emails to a folder of their own

Highlight or set priority to certain addresses. For example, a rule could be created to highlight any user in your address book.

Unsubscribe from newsletters and disable notifications

Although you may have had good intentions when subscribing to a newsletter or other e-mail list these are often distracting and often clutter your e-mail. Unsubscribe from any newsletter you have not been reading.

Do not reply to spam

If spam sneaks past your protection or rules never reply to it. Delete it. Most messages in junk and spam folders are truly junk. Quickly scan these folders, reminding yourself not to fall for any phishing scams, before deleting all junk messages.

Adopt an attachment management strategy

Attachments are the main space sapping culprits. You can reorder your email to view which have attachments and their overall size.

Use the headings at the top of the items view to reorder your email. For example, by clicking the From heading will order your messages in order of sender and so on. To the right there should be a heading Size. By clicking on this in each of your folders, your messages will be ordered by size. Your largest messages will contain attachments or embedded images. Determine whether to save the attachments or images to a local or network drive, then delete as many of these messages as possible.

An email with a paperclip icon attached to it indicates there is an attachment accompanying it.

Save or remove attachments

Attachments can take up a lot of space. Where appropriate, save attachment to your PC and remove from Mailbox.

  1. Double click an email that has an attachment
  2. The email should open it its own window
  3. Right click on the attachment
  4. Click Save As
  5. Choose a memorable location on your PC to save the attachment
  6. Delete the email, or remove the attachment and save the email (right click again and select Remove Attachment)

If you need to send attachments, send them in a compressed format like zip-files. This will save you some bandwidth and the receiver some mailbox space. Periodically check the size of the individual folders.

Meeting Requests

Once you have responded to a Meeting Request, Outlook puts the meeting in your Calendar, so you can save space by deleting the original email invitation.

Note: Make sure you respond to a Meeting Request before you delete it.