There are plenty of people out there with email accounts that have nothing but today’s new arrivals, right? If there are, then they are super organized and can’t stand a ‘messy’ computer, so they quickly read their emails each day, reply to those needing action and then delete, delete, delete. Immediately, before they shut down the computer for the day, they empty the email trash bin (so it doesn’t take up unnecessary space on their computer, of course).
For every one of those with clean tidy inboxes, there are probably a hundred or more who have emails that they will never, ever delete. Why would that be? What reasons are behind this accumulation of electronic data?
- Compulsive Hoarder. If a person is a compulsive hoarder, and their house is stacked with things they have not been able to throw or give away, the disorder will likely carry over to their computer as well. Their email box will continue to fill until it reaches its capacity. When it does reach capacity, they will probably just start a new email account, so as to avoid having to deal with the full one.
- Laziness. Some people do not intentionally keep their old emails, they just have never gotten in the habit of deleting them and taking those extra seconds to click delete, and then OK, just doesn’t seem worth the effort.
- Business agreements. Some emails are saved perpetually for business purposes. It is becoming a common practice for businesses to communicate with clients via email. Since those emails document conversations and agreements made with their clients, wise businessmen save those emails as part of a client’s digital folder.
- Blackmail. A less scrupulous person may save certain emails because of incriminating information that is contained within them. ‘You deleted that, right?’ ‘Of, course. (Not!)
- You can delete them? There are some people using email who just barely know how to open and reply to their email. If they do know that there is a delete option, they’re probably afraid to use it for fear of deleting more than they intended
- Guilt complex. ‘But what would Sally say, if she knew I deleted that cute email she sent me?’ There are those who are overly sensitive to other’s feelings and just can’t bring themselves to delete emails sent to them by friends and family, anymore than they can throw away the birthday cards and letters they’ve received over the years.
- Future reference. We receive so much information via email these days that it sometimes it makes more sense to keep information stored in email folders, than to print it out and put it in a file. That way the information is just a click away, when you need it and isn’t taking up filing space in your desk.
- Overwhelming inflow. Some people have just become overwhelmed with the amount of emails flooding into their inbox. Some of it may be spam, others may be from their friends who are overly zealous with their forward command. Since the project of cleaning up their email box seems so overwhelming, they will follow the path of the hoarder and just let it continue to build up.
- Sentimental value. Some emails do have true sentimental value to people, and they save them for that reason. It might be the first time ‘they’ sent an ‘I love you’ via email (by arturo). It might be a daughter’s engagement announcement or news about that first grandbaby. Digital mail has replaced the hard copy in many instances.
- Potential litigation. Individuals that have emails from another person with which they anticipate or are going through a court battle with, wisely save all email communications with that person. They may become pieces of evidence, at some point.
There can be some very good reasons for saving certain emails forever, but there is no good reason for saving ALL of your emails. For some of us, it is time to unclutter our inbox and our sent box.