Have you ever gone to find an old email only to discover that you deleted it a week ago without thinking? Sometimes when it comes to emails, hoarding is actually a good idea. It pays to keep those old messages around because you never really know when you are going to need to look at something someone said or re-download that important file your boss sent you a month ago.

There are a few simple tricks and practices you can follow to keep track of your emails and relieve yourself of the worry of losing any emails that you may need in the future. While the latest craze is all about “inbox zero,” you may realize that in your line of work that’s impossible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still keep yourself organized and quickly find the information you need. Consider following these practices to avoid costly mistakes.

Using a Desktop Mail Service Client

If you are trying to maintain multiple email accounts, like many people do, then you should consider using an email client. There’s a great chance that your computer already has one of these mail services on it already, you simply need to take a few minutes and add your accounts to it. Once you have added all of your accounts to your mail client you are ready to start sorting all of your mail out.

Identify Import Emails

After you receive an email, do you automatically delete it in order to get to inbox zero? First of all, that sort of devotion will get you nowhere. Second, you need a good system for tracking your mail to help you identify if it is important. There is a good chance that if the email is important, you don’t want to just delete the message, even if you know it’s going to some sort of archive. If the email in question is about changes in workplace policy, if it’s about a client, from a client or about new industry regulations, then there is a good chance that you shouldn’t just delete the email. If there is any chance at all the email in question may come up again, then you need to save it. But, how do you save your emails without your inbox becoming unbearable? How do you avoid listing every single message you get as “important” and therefore worthy of remaining in your inbox? Simple: you organize your emails.

Organizing Your Emails

Every email service allows users to create folders for easy message storage, but not everyone takes advantage of this option. It only takes a few minutes to create folders in your mailbox and once you have created them it is extremely simple to move new messages from your inbox to a specific folder. Consider creating just a few folders that are specific enough that you won’t have to question which folder an email should be filed under. Once you have your emails in your folders you can quickly search them for any email that you have put in the folder.

Recovering Emails

When your emails and other data files become corrupted it can be frustrating, annoying, and bad for business. Luckily there are tools out there than can scan your computer using advanced technologies and recover your emails that have been corrupted. There is no need to worry about losing that one email containing time sensitive material, or the new regulations you have to follow or the new project your boss has assigned you.

Normally hoarding may be thought of as a bad thing, but when it comes to email hoarding it just makes sense. No one likes spending 10 minutes looking for an email only to realize it has already been deleted. Instead, use folders to organize those important emails and delete the ones that you have identified as unimportant. Before hitting the delete button, ask yourself, “will I need this information later?” If you answer yes, then it should go in a folder. Take advantage of the tools that you already have at your fingertips and soon your email will be running much more efficiently.

Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to ProfessionalIntern.com, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and it’s relation to the business world and social media marketing.