Don’t File Your Outlook Emails in the Deleted Items Folder!

By: standss , Apr 30th, 2010

Filing (?) emails in Outlook’s Deleted Items Folder is the easiest way to accidentally lose all your emails. Here’s why… plus a few better methods of filing your emails.

I was at a friend’s office last week and observed him retrieving an email for our discussions from the Deleted Items folder. I thought he may have accidentally deleted the emails but then found out that… the email was in the Deleted Items folder on PURPOSE!

His system for filing his emails and having a clean inbox was the DELETE button… once he was finished with an email he simply deleted it…  he wasn’t emptying his Deleted Items folder so he could refer to the emails again in the future when he wants.

no! No! NO!

The Deleted Items folder is your electronic rubbish bin… do you file your important papers in your physical rubbish bins.

Here’s why you should NOT file emails to the Deleted Items folder?

  1. Like its physical world counterpart, the Deleted Items folder can be emptied very easily (right-click and then click Empty) causing permanent loss of your “filed” emails.
  1. Also if you have Outlook data corruption due to file size etc. automated recovery programs may try and empty out your Deleted Items folder which could result in the loss of your data.
  1. IT Support people helping you with speed problems etc in Outlook may empty your Deleted Items folder before optimizing your file.

If you’re not going to refer to the email again and do not need to keep it (for legal reasons etc) then DELETE IT! Otherwise you need to FILE IT somewhere aside from Outlook’s Deleted Items folder (aka Outlook’s Garbage Bin).

Here are two options…

  1. Have One folder in which you file all your emails. (Give this email a generic name like Filing or Old Emails or Archive) and drag emails to this folder for filing… or…
  1. Have different folders dedicated to projects, cases, clients, topics etc and then file the email into the relevant folder.

Use whatever method works for you but DO NOT USE DELETED ITEMS as a filing cabinet.

If you’re new to the idea of filing emails, I would also recommend that you download our free ebook 8 Simple Tips for Email Management in Outlook from our blog.

Do you know of people who use the Deleted Items folder for filing emails? Do you do it yourself? Please leave a comment if you have reasons for doing this.


Sanjay Singh

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