The official Google blog posted about why you should NEVER delete your gmail, and instead should archive it: 9 reasons to archive.
I don’t know why they want people to use more and more storage space on their servers (it’s almost as if they were making money by occupying more space).
Anyway, for any argument there have to be two sides so here are 9 reasons for why you SHOULD NOT archive your Gmail (in other words, reasons for why you should delete emails):
- Protect the Environment – the more space that you occupy in your Gmail account the more servers Google will have to put up to provide that Space. The more servers there are, the more electricity they will consume. This will of course have a direct impact on the environment.
- Protect yourself from Information Overload – you know how even Google Search gives you so many irrelevant results when you search. Well not everyone is a Google Search Ninja, and thus cannot arrive at what they are looking for easily. Similarly if you archive everything that you get in your Gmail, and God forbid if you have to search for something later on in life, you will be presented with so many emails in your search results that you will not even know where to begin.
- Security Considerations – Say you don’t delete emails at all and archive them all. Say somehow you manage to be careless and someone hacks your account and gets access to your Gmail. Hmm, now this hacker can access all your passwords that have been sent to you by various sites all over the Internet. This hacker can access all the financial statements that you have received from your bank. You should delete sensitive information from your online account.
- Do you trust Google? – Do you really want Google to have access to all these emails of yours? A lot of people don’t trust Google and for that reason simply don’t use Gmail. However, even if you do use Gmail, you should minimize your exposure by only saving those things which YOU think are going to be useful to you in the future.
- Do you really want to? – Do I really want to archive all the emails I receive on my blog alerting me of pingbacks that I have received to my blog posts? Do I really want to archive all the daily digests that I receive from the various news sites that I have subscribed to? There are emails that will never serve you in the future. Delete them.
- Some email is not meant to be saved – Those emails from your ex – you may want to delete them to get closure. Some emails come from really irritating people that you would rather delete then keep. What about emails that have your deepest, darkest secrets – do you really want to hang on to them? The Google Spam filter is not all that great so there are some that simply get through to your inbox.
- The experts recommend deleting – Every GTD (Getting Things Done) talk I have ever heard on achieving Inbox Zero advocates deleting as part of the strategy. Even Google invites such experts to train their employees on how to manage their inboxes – see video here.
- Because not everything that Google says is right - what can I say?
- What if you changed your mind? – say you are of the type that never deletes emails. You start accumulating thousands in your Gmail account and suppose one day one of these reasons makes sense to you and you decide that you need to start deleting your emails – you will go crazy trying to figure out what to keep and what to delete. It’s better to do it on a daily basis so that you are not stuck with your decision later on.
Having said all this, I do archive about 40% of my Gmail. The message is that you need to decide what to archive and what to delete.