Digital Declutter – February

It’s time for another digital update. 

I know I’ve been a bit MIA lately… but as some of you know.. I have limited time I can sit by my PC (health reasons). So guess what! My allotted computer time has been spent roaming through my digital clutter.

I have mentioned before that I have a shit load (pardon the french) of data to sort through. There are music, videos, documents, e-mails, bookmarks, software… you name it, I’ve got it.

Three weeks ago I decided to tackle some of the mountains of e-mails I have lurking around.

You see, not only do I have a lot of e-mail hanging around in my daily used e-mail accounts. But I also have a bunch of backups. Backups going back to when I first started using e-mails in the early 1990s. Not only do I have backups of my personal e-mail accounts, but I also have a few backups from my work mail account (as I had a bit of personal stuff going into my work mail).

Believe or not – my last count wielded about 34 backups equaling 12,8 GB of data. Yeah, that read tens of thousands of e-mail (probably more like around hundred thousand e-mails)

A lot of the backup files has the same e-mails… mostly because I did a poor job at deleting old backups when I made new ones 😦

I know there are software out there, that will let me consolidate and find duplicates. But I don’t have any of this type of software on my computer, so I’m going about it the old fashion way.

I use Microsoft Outlook as my main e-mail program – and one of the finesses of that program, is that I can open old Microsoft Outlook backups (.pst files) within the program. Opening a .pst file as opposed to importing it.. means the file ads itself as a separate mail “account”. I like this because I can work on the attached file without mixing everything with my current daily e-mails.

Example of added files

To keep some sort of control this is how my process is:

I started out adding one file (File no 1) – cleaned the heck out of it (from 6687 down to 756).

Then I added a new file (File no 2) – cleaned that one down to what I wanted to keep. Then, since I knew some of the e-mail in file no 2, was the same as I already had in file no 1, I had to find a way to easily find the duplicates.

To find my duplicates – I do the following in the file I’m currently cleaning (e.g. File 2)

  • I mark all e-mails as unread
  • I mark all e-mails with a category color (red or blue or green….)
  • I change font color on unread e-mails to the color red.
    This is how to do that; Go to  View, View settings, Conditional formatting, “choose color/font style for your unread e-mails”, Click OK, and OK again.  While you are still in the same view – go to Change View, Apply current view to other mail folders, Mark the outlook file(s) you want this to apply for, Mark of “Apply view to subfolders”, and Click OK – and presto all unread email is now the color and font style of your choice 🙂

When all the e-mail left in File no 2 was marked with the color of red and with a category color, I moved the e-mails from File no 2 to File no 1.

Since a lot of my e-mails was already organized in a folder structure, I moved it to the equivalent folder in File 1.  Then all I needed to do was go to the respective folders, sorted it according to date, and I could easily compare File 2 mails with File 1 mails as File 2 mails was the color of red and marked with a category color. The duplicates then was deleted.

As you can see, it’s easy to find the duplicates according to e-mail topic and date.

I’m using File no 1 as my default catchall, and as I’m going through and “nulling” out mailboxes, I am moving the keepers (well at least the current keepers), to File no 1 for comparison. Since not all e-mails are duplicates, File no 1 is slowly growing in size. When I am done going through all the other backups and extra mailboxes, I will perform a final cleanup of File no 1 to get rid of the “trash”.

Decluttered e-mails:

Now that I’ve semi explained my process – it’s time to get back to how I’ve been doing with my e-mail decluttering:

  • 14.02.18 – To ease into it I started with my G-mail account (which was in desperate need of decluttering) – deleted 2421
  • 17.02.18 – 20.02.18 – Outlook file no 1 – From 6687 to 756 = 5931 (this is my default move and compare file)
  • 20.02.18 – 21.02.18 – Outlook file no 2 – From 6786 to 0 = 6786
  • 21.02.18 – 24.02.18 – Outlook file no 3 – From 5166 to 0 = 5166
  • 24.02.18 – 24.02.18 – Outlook file no 4 – From 377 to 0 = 377
  • 24.02.18 – 24.02.18 – Outlook file no 5 – From 238 to 0 = 238
  • 24.02.18 – 24.02.18 – Outlook file no 6 – From 1707 to 1121 = 586 (really, really old stuff – I’ll leave the rest for later)
  • 25.02.18 – 25.02.18 – Outlook file no 7 – From 441 to 0 = 441
  • 25.02.18 – 25.02.18 – Outlook file no 8 – From 1464 to 0 = 1464
  • 25.02.18 – 27.02.18 – Outlook file no 9 – From 7568 to 0 = 7568
  • 27.02.18 – 27.02.18 – Outlook file no 10 – From 550 to 0 = 550
  • 27.02.18 – 27.02.18 – Outlook file no 11 – From 279 to 0 = 279
  • 27.02.18 – 27.02.18 – Outlook file no 12 – From 441 to 0 = 441
  • 28.02.18 – 28.02.18 – Outlook file no 13 – From 14187 to 10228 = 3959 (had a break – I’ll dive right back tomorrow)

By my calculations that should be about : 36 207 deleted e-mails – except – I have to deduct the amount of e-mails that have ended up “permanently” in File no 1.

File no 1 – new total 1603 minus old total 756 = 847 added e-mail

Which brings my total for February to – 35 360 decluttered e-mails 

Adding it up with January’s and we get:

Bookmarks – 1625
E-mails – 35795

That should make the total so far this year =37 420 digital “items out-the-door” 😉 

Now – wish me luck as I dive right back into e-mail hell!!!

20 comments

  1. purpleslob

    Wow!! Anne!! You have already completed 18 – 2018 in 2018 charts!!!
    That is a heckova great job!!
    Congrats!!
    I need to do a review of Jan, and Feb myself!! Maybe this will be the motivation I need!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne Lene @ MinimalistSometimes

      Absolutely… positively deleteful 😆 love it! Good luck to you… a little every day will get you there… I know it’s the only way I will get there… with my thousands and thousands of files and emails 😉
      I can see I’ll be at it all year 😂

      Like

  2. Pingback: Data Devices galore! | Minimalist Sometimes
  3. Brian

    I just delete all e-mails that are over a year old. I ignore the whole “unread” highlighting because so many e-mails don’t get opened because the subject line explains all; anything new and unread will be at the top of the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Digital Declutter – March and April! | Minimalist Sometimes

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