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I like to compare Outlook to my closets. Just like my closets, Outlook is filled up with all my stuff, and I eventually need to clean up the clutter; however, in the case of my closet, I generally need to set aside a day or two to drag all my discarded items out to the garbage can. With Outlook, I can do the task with several clicks of the right button. Now one of the ways that you can clean up data is manually; for example, I can go to my Deleted Items folder, select Items and delete them one by one.
I can also do a right-click on my Deleted Items folder and delete the entire folder by clicking Empty Folder, if I'm absolutely sure that I want to get rid of all those items; however, Outlook also gives us an automatic way to clean up our data, and that's what we're going to focus now. I'm going to click on the File tab, and go down to the Cleanup tools. You'll notice that one of the items, Empty Deleted Items folder, will also take care of that deleted items folder; however, I feel a little safer doing it manually in the way that I just showed you, so I very rarely would ever use that option.
So for now let's head up to the Mailbox Cleanup and see what that's going to do for us. Now what I like to do, before I start cleaning up my data, is do a little homework to decide what actually needs cleaning. And I could do that by viewing the Mailbox size. So I'm going to click this icon, and actually this button is a little misnamed because in addition to showing me just the size of my Inbox, I actually can see the size of all my Outlook items, including the Calendar and the Contacts. So in this case I can get an idea of where I might want to focus my cleanup efforts.
So armed with that information and in this case I think I'm going to concentrate on my Deleted Items and maybe a little bit of my Calendar, I'm going to click on Close. Now one of the things that you might want to do is hunt for things that are taking up a lot of space. So in this case we see the default is set to Find items in my Inbox that are larger than 250kbs, and that seems like a good starting place, so I'm going to click the Find button and sure enough, Outlook found several items. And I notice three of them are sitting on my Deleted Items folder.
So those are the ones that I'm going to get rid of. So I can remove them by clicking on the first one, holding down the Shift key on my keyboard and selecting the last one. And I can simply do a right-click and delete them to get rid of those larger items that were sitting on my Deleted Items folder anyway. So that worked pretty well, but we're going to try this procedure, this time, on our Calendar. So I'm going to head back to my Cleanup tools and once again go to Mailbox Cleanup, even though I want to cleanup my Calendar. And what I'm going to do now, I'm going to click on Find items older than 90 days and click on Find.
And you notice that this opens my Advanced Find button, and it's still basically looking for e-mail items. But I want to look for Calendar items, so I'm going to click on the Messages and choose Appointments and Meetings, which are basically my Calendar items. That's going to clear my current search criteria, which is a good thing because I'm going to head over to the Advanced tab and give it a click. Now I need to figure out what field I'm going to use as my criteria, and I think I'm going to use the starting date of all my Calendar items, so I'm going to click on Field.
I'm actually going to use the Appointment fields and choose Start. Now I want to clean up things prior to the first of the year. So I'm going to change that condition from anytime, by clicking the dropdown, scrolling to the bottom of the list and choosing On or before, and I'm going to type in the first of the year. Now I'm going to add this to my List of things to look for. So I'm going to be looking for my Calendar items that were put on my Calendar on or before the first of the year.
And I'm going to click on Find Now, and it found a lot of things. It also found a few things that were on holidays. So I'm going to sort by clicking on the category header, and I'm just going to expand my holidays here, and it found 25 holidays from last year that I no longer need on my Calendar. So I'm going to click on the first item, scroll all the way down, hold down my Shift key and select the last item. At that point, I can right-click and delete all those old holidays.
Finally, one of the other cleanup methods that I can use is to create an archive. So I'm going to click on my Cleanup tools and choose Archive. Now it's really important to note that when you create an archive, two things happen: One, a new data file that's entitled Archive will appear and secondly, all the items that meet your criteria will be removed from your current data file. So I might select any one of my data folders and archive the items that are older than, and I can choose whatever date I want.
When I click OK, again, all items in my Inbox that are older than a year will automatically be put into an archive file. If I wanted to archive my entire data file, I could do that by clicking up on the top of my folders, and that would archive my entire data file. But again, be careful because those items will be moved into a totally separate data file. Although cleaning up your Outlook data is not mandatory, it is something that you want to do from time to time, especially if you send and receive lots of e-mail.
The Cleanup tools make it so easy that you'll have plenty of time left to tackle those closets.
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