Tagged: E-mails

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!!!

Digital Declutter – January

Happy Valentines, everybody! 

I was thinking it was time to give you an update about how my digital declutter is going. 

It’s taken me a while to post this January status, due to my head playing up again.  When my headaches gets bad, I tend to cut down on my computer time, as hanging around the computer makes it worse.  Which means I pretty much haven’t been on my computer, since… yep, you’ve guessed it, since last time you heard from me.

I had all these elaborate plans for showing you pictures of before and after for each bullet below… but for the sake of getting this post out there, I’m going to take a cue from John and Barb, at Decluttering the stuff and just write it all out.

      • E-mails – I’ve got a ton of emails to go through (thousands of emails) as I have a bunch of e-mail backup files (more on this later). For now however I’m just going to be digging into one of my everyday accounts, my main account. I started out with 2065, and are now at 1630. That’s 2065 minus 1630 = 435 e-mails decluttered.


      • Bookmarks – Deleting bookmarks turned out to be a bit of a pain –
        I started out with almost 3000 bookmarks! I chipped away at it a little every day, and after a good week I was down on the 1200 level – and then – a hiccup!
        Something went wrong with a synchronization between iCloud, Google and Internet Explorer.. and suddenly I had 3332 bookmarks in my Favourites folder. Noooooo!!! Guess who had to start over 😦
        Thankfully I remembered some of the major deletes, so within a short time I was down to a more manageable number to chip away at.Today I’ve got 1375 bookmarks sitting nicely in my Favourites folder. So I guess that makes 3000 minus 1375 = 1625 bookmarks decluttered  (decluttered twice.. mind you 😉 )


I have to admit, it’s been kinda fun cleaning up old bookmarks. It’s been fun, because the bookmarks shows where my interest and focus has been. I’ve been roaming through topics like cars, IT user equipment, minimalist wallets, DIY sheds, house stuff (for when I was building my house), travel, golf ++ just to mention a few. It’s almost like looking at old photos.. it takes you down memory line 😉

So here you have it – total decluttered =2060 digital “items”