email envelope Email messages, just like website files, take up valuable storage space on your hosting account. Your hosting account will very likely have a storage limit. Even if you have “unlimited” storage, it is best practice to keep your account size manageable. I wrote this guide to help you manage your online storage space – specifically related to email mailbox size.

Usually, each email account created will have a storage limit of around 1GB of size. This is still a huge amount of space, and you should strive to keep the mailbox size as small as possible.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep a history of your emails or important communications – not at all. However, some one-off messages may take up as much space as 1,000 small messages. The trick is to eliminate a few huge files in order to keep the whole overall mailbox size completely manageable. 

Time needed: 15 minutes.

Here’s how you get started with that:

  1. Find The Largest Messages In Your Inbox

    In your Outlook or Webmail Client, go to your Inbox. Click on the “Size” heading of your email messages. This will sort the items by size. If the smallest size is listed first, click on the title again to reverse the sort order. Have a look through your Top 20 largest stored email messages and see if possibly the message could be deleted. Maybe you just received a one-time scanned document to someone? Download and store your files and documents in a separate folder on your computer – not in your email.

  2. Clean Out Your Sent Files

    Repeat Step 1 in your “Sent” Mail folder. Maybe you’ve submitted a file to your graphic designer or sent a few images to a client. Make sure you have a copy of these files stored locally, elsewhere, on your computer or cloud storage. If you know where the originals of these files are, you are completely safe to delete the “Sent Mail” item that is bulking up your mailbox size.

  3. Practice Good Mailbox Hygiene Daily

    As a general rule, never keep any non-critical email messages around – whether that’s in your inbox or sub-folders. If you receive multiple one-liner emails or meeting confirmations or other short notes – delete them after you’ve dealt with them. This not only keeps your mailbox size down, it also keeps the inbox generally clean and more like a to-do list. Certainly, file and archive important email messages containing valuable information that you might need again at a later point – I’m not saying delete every email message in your inbox. Just delete the ones that you’ll definitely not need again and that might as well just be deleted. This same rule of thumb applies for newsletters or promotions or other “junk” type of mail that you receive and like to read (sometimes), but not always. Keep a folder named “Resources” and file the good stuff that you’d like to keep for possible future reference. The rest of it gets a DELETE after you’ve had your look at it.delete button