Cleaning Redundant Emails from Your Outlook Inbox
Outlook has a handy Clean Up feature that you can use to remove redundant emails from your Inbox. In this post we explain what redundant emails are, how to use and customise the Clean Up feature to get rid of them, and finally how I personally use Outlook’s Clean Up.
What are Redundant Emails?
Emails are generally parts of a conversation which include many other emails. Usually a reply to an email contains a copy of the original email… and as the conversation continues each email contains everything from the previous emails in the conversation.
This means that there are a lot of duplicated messages that you may not need to read or keep i.e. they are redundant emails.
How to Clean Up Redundant Messages in Outlook
Go to the Outlook folder that you wish to clean up.
Click on the Folder tab on the Ribbon and then click Clean Up Folder (you can also click on the drop-down and select Clean Up Folder & Subfolders if you want).
Note: You can also right-click over any folder to use the Clean Up Folder option.
Redundant copies of emails will be cleared to the Deleted Items folder.
Settings for Clean Up
You can customise how Clean Up works from the Settings screen which lets you choose where cleaned up emails are moved to, as well as what emails should not be moved when Clean Up is clicked.
Click on File and then Options.
Click on the Mail tab and scroll down to Conversation Clean Up.
Change any setting that you want and then click OK.
How I use Clean Up
This is how I personally use Clean Up in Outlook.
I usually leave emails in my Inbox until the overall tasks that they are related to are completed. This can quickly result in multiple iterations of the email in the Inbox as the matter “gets discussed”.
I normally use either QuickFile for Outlook or EmailTags for Outlook to file emails out of the Inbox once I receive a reply but sometimes I forget. So…
I find it useful to run the Clean Up function at least once a day on my Inbox. This means that I only have one copy of the email in my Inbox. I feel better (less overwhelmed) when my Inbox To-do list is smaller.
If there is an email that I don’t want to cleaned-up, I can set a follow-up flag on the email (by default Clean Up will not delete any emails with flags or categories on them).
I hope that you find this tip useful. If you have your own tips on making better use of Clean Up, please share it by leaving a comment.
If keeping your Inbox empty is important to you and/or you need to keep your emails well organized, you may also want to take a look at QuickFile for Outlook.