Do you want to get rid of some clutter on your mailbox or reaching the limit of your mailbox storage quota, but don’t know how and where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Email in any type of industry or business can quickly pile up. Staying up to date with your messages as they arrive is the best solution to keep your mailbox uncluttered and orderly because a clean mailbox can affect your productivity each day.

However, if you leave your mailbox with unnecessary or outdated emails, you can simply use the Mailbox Cleanup feature in Outlook.  This feature is a set of tools that can get rid of clutter and other rubbish from your mailbox. You can automatically clean out items according to their date and size, review the size of your mailbox, and more. Read on below to know more about this feature and how it can help you declutter your mailbox.


Reviewing your Mailbox Size

First, you have to open the Mailbox Cleanup. Just go to MS Outlook and open the File option. After that, click Tools and choose Mailbox Cleanup, located on the right side of the screen. There are various tools available inside this feature, and we will start by looking at the size of your mailbox.

An Outlook mailbox consists of different folders, including Sent Items, Archives, Inbox, and more. To help you see where all your new and old emails are, you have to know the size of each folder.

  • To review your mailbox size, just click the View Mailbox Size button.
  • The Folder Size windows will appear on your screen, showing the size each folder holds. It will be opened by default it the Local Data tab. If you don’t know what Local Data is, this is the data that’s stored on your computer in .ost and .pst files.

  • Each column will show the size, name, and total size of the folder. It will also show you the folders you’re not normally using or considering to delete. These folders include the calendar folder. You could easily have a chunk of kilobytes in your calendar folder if you have already got several years of meetings and appointment requests. If you want to clean it up, just delete old events.

  • Click the tab that says “Server Data” if you want to take a look at each folder size on the mail server. It might take a little while for the data to get full if it’s your first time to open up the Server Data tab. This happens because the Exchange Server is still being contacted by Outlook to release, download, and display the data on your files.

  • Since the Exchange server only performs difference analysis and most of the folders don’t change their size, the data retrieval will become quicker every time you open the Server Data tab. You will be able to see the sizes of each folder on the Exchange server once the tab is finished loading. You have to take note that the size of each folder on the Data Server tab might not be the same as what you’ll see on the Local Data tab because Outlook doesn’t download all messages necessarily to your computer.

Outlook only keeps a specific amount of email on your local client by default. Outlook does this to make sure that emails won’t take up too much space on your computer. Outlook will only keep emails dated from last year if your computer has a hard disk bigger than 64GB.

Older emails than last year will be kept on the email server, which can still be accessed. All you have to do is download the older emails and change the default settings if you want. But, you have to remember that you can change the default so it can be able to download less email, too. So, if you need more space in your mailbox, you might need to change the default setting from 1 year to only 6 months or lower than that.


Finding Large or Old Mail

Now that you know the sizes of each folder, you can proceed to the next process, which is searching for large or old mails on your mailbox.

You can search across the entire mailbox for larger or older mails if you’ve got mails in different folders.

If you want to move mails from Outlook to a cloud service and hard drive or find large items that you can delete, this method is very useful. For instance, if you are looking for mails with over 10MB in size, you can simply change the “Find items larger than” box to 10000KB and just click the Find button.

The standard search panel of Outlook will bring a list of mails that are 10MB in size.

This list of email results only returns emails. But, if you want to cast a wider net, you can change the field that says “Look” to any specific type of file.

You can open each email and remove it or delete attachments in it via the search results. Always save all important attachments first before removing or deleting if they need to be saved.


Kick-off AutoArchive Rules

You can kick all autoarchive rules off in the mailbox Cleanup if you’ve set them before. To kick them off, just simply click the AutoArchive button.

This process applies any rules you’ve set up on your AutoArchive and swings through all folders in Outlook. You might be worried about accidentally clicking this button if you haven’t set up any rules yet. But, don’t worry because the autoarchive rule is to do nothing by default.


View and Empty Deleted Items

This option is for you if you want to just “soft delete” your mails. Soft delete means you just want to move all mails to the Deleted Items folder.

Important Note: Don’t use the Deleted Items folder as a sort of archive to toss mails in there and not really emptying each folder. There are many ways to empty the Deleted Items folder easily so using it as an archive is not a good idea. Set up an archive if you really need to keep a message instead.

To see how much space these deleted items are taking up, click the View Deleted Items Size button. After that, take a deep breath and click the Empty button.

All items from the Deleted Items folder will be deleted. If this method worried you because important mails might come with it, just move all important mails into the Archive folder first. But, emptying your deleted items regularly is recommended and don’t use it as an archive.


View and Delete Conflict Mails

Deleting conflict messages will be the final tool that we will tackle in the Mailbox Cleanup feature. Because they have the same header information as the existing mails, Outlook thinks there’s a conflict. This is normal. There are some temporary syncing issues in the Exchange server, but you can still delete conflict mails without any problem.

Just click the View Conflicts Size button to see if you’ve got any emails inside the Conflict folder. You will be able to see the Folder Size window with its filtered version.

Close the Folder Size window if there are any emails. Then, click the Delete button on the Mailbox Cleanup.