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It comes a time to do a little spring cleaning, and for Outlook that means getting rid of our old deleted messages. Remember that when you press Delete, it only moves it to the Deleted Items folder. By getting rid of old messages, we can reduce the amount of space Outlook consumes, speed up our searches, and keep our network administrators happy. Outlook gives us a few ways to do this. If you simply want to empty the trash, that is to delete everything in the Deleted Items folder, point to Deleted Items, right-click and choose Empty Deleted Items. This will remove everything in your Deleted Items. But since clearing out the entire Deleted Items folder is a little extreme for most of us, a more selective approach might be better.
A quick method is to use the mailbox cleanup tools. While viewing your Inbox, pull down the Tools menu and choose Mailbox Cleanup. From here, I can review messages that are old or large based on the criteria that I specify. I'm going to choose to show messages that are older than 60 days. When I click Find, Outlook searches my entire mailbox or any messages that are older than 60 days. Note that this also includes messages in my sent items and other folders. However, I may want to reduce this and show only those in deleted items.
So I'll click Browse, uncheck my Mailbox select, Deleted Items instead, and then hit OK to continue the search. Find Now will start that search over. Now I'm seeing just the messages that are in my Deleted Items that are older than 60 days. To delete these permanently, I can click in the area, hit Ctrl+A to select all, and then press Delete on my keyboard. If I answer Yes, these messages are permanently deleted. Don't forget that we often send emails with large attachments and those take up space as well.
From time to time, you may want to review your sent items and consider deleting some of those larger emails too. Remember that these deletes are likely permanent. You should consult with your IT department before doing something you might regret. Next, let's check out a way to free up some time by putting Outlook to work for us.
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