Home Business NewsBusiness Microsoft Outlook inbox always running out of space? 5 quick tricks to fix it

Microsoft Outlook inbox always running out of space? 5 quick tricks to fix it

by LLB Reporter
25th Mar 15 11:48 am

Stress no more – we’ll sort you out in no time


I’m careful about my inbox management, I really am.

I file, I delete what I don’t need, I use flags, and I have two dedicated slots in each day when I whizz through all my emailing in the most efficient manner.

But that is how it always happens.

There’s me: I’m in a hyper-productive frenzy of electronic correspondence, cc-ing here, reply-all-ing there, churning out evocative paragraphs faster than a 21st century Dickens on amphetamines.

No one has blasted through this many emails this quickly, ever. My god, my working day is going well.

And then the paralysis strikes, out of nowhere.

My inbox is full. I can’t receive or send emails. I have no idea how many emails I might have missed since it’s filled up because they’ll never arrive.

I then spend an entirely unfulfilling and overwhelmingly boring hour combing through my various inbox folders to see what I can bear to part with.

That is, at least, how it always was.

Until I figured there must be a quicker and better way to clear out inbox space on Microsoft Outlook.

There is. There are quite a few ways, actually. Here they are:


1. The basics

Hopefully you know this first batch of tricks already, but just in case:

  • Clear out your junk folder: right click on your ‘Junk E-mail’ folder for this option
  • Permanently delete your deleted items: right click on your ‘Deleted items’ folder for this option

Empty deleted items

2. The basics, with added oomph…

Set up your inbox to automatically empty out your deleted items folder every time you exit Outlook:

File > Options > Advanced > Outlook start and exit – check the box pictured below

A word of warning, though – if you choose this option, you’ll obviously need to be extra rigorous about what you’re deleting, as once emails are permanently deleted you can’t recover them at all. I don’t use this option but instead clear out my deleted items at the end of the week – just in case I’ve deleted something by mistake and need it back.


3. Use AutoArchive

You can move old items to an archive file, which means you reduce the amount of space they take up but they’re not permanently deleted. You can set the time limit for when they’re moved:

File > Options > Advanced > AutoArchive – see the box pictured below


4. Clean up folder & sub-folders

This nifty function goes through your inbox (or all folders and sub-folders for the full impact) and works out which emails are duplicated by being copied into newer emails.

So if you’ve had a 32-emailconversation going back and forth, but only the three most recent emails say anything new (because they have all the previous emails copied in to them), then this function deletes all the older duplicates. It’s pretty great, actually.

Home > Clean Up > [Select the option you want]

Clean up folder

5. Delete items by file size

If you’ve done all of those things and still need more space (as regularly happens to me), you’ll need to personally select which emails to part with.

Obviously the emails with gargantuan attachments are the ones eating up all your space, so pick those as your culprits.

Go to your inbox / sent items / other folder and order the emails in it by file size.

Right click on the top navigation bar (see red arrow below) > Arrange by > Size

File sizes 1

Then you’ll see what the largest emails are, which is generally down to the size of files attached to them, then get rid. If you need to keep the attachments, copy them to your desktop or cloud storage so you can still delete the email from your inbox.

File sizes 2




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