a) Deleted Items

This one is easy; you wanted to get rid of it? Well do get rid of it! Right click the Deleted Items folder and choose “Empty Deleted Items folder”.


  1. Do you want to be prompted to empty the deleted items folder when you close Outlook? Choose; Tools-> Options…-> tab Other-> option: “Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting”
  2. In Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 you can find this option under; File-> Options…-> section Advanced-> select: Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook


  1. Want to skip the Deleted Items folder and get rid of the mail straight away?
  2. Instead of pressing DELETE use SHIFT+DELETE to delete the message permanently.


b) Junk E-Mail

Unfortunately, nowadays everybody needs a Junk Mail folder. Cleaning this folder is nearly as quickly as emptying the Deleted Items folder. Scroll through this folder one last time to make sure that there aren’t any needed e-mails in it. If so, you can move these to the appropriate folder. Once you’re done, you can easily empty the folder by right clicking on the folder and choose “Empty Junk E-mail folder”.


  1. If you are using a third party Junk E-mail filter which places the Junk E-mail messages into a folder of their own, you’ll probably won’t have the “Empty folder” right click option.
  2. To still get rid of the messages quickly, select one message and then press CTRL+A. Once they are selected press SHIFT+DELETE to get rid of them.

c) Inbox, Sent Items and other subfolders

These folders can all be tackled in pretty much the same way.

Large messages need to go first

  1. Now that the trash cans are empty, we’ll continue the cleanup process with first finding the largest chunks in the mailbox. In most cases you’ll find that 20% of your mailbox items account for 80% of the size. If you are using Outlook 2003 or later, you can find these large chunks by using a Search Folder called “Large mail”. If you do not have this folder, you can create it via;
    1. Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 File-> New-> Search Folder…
    2. Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 tab Folder-> button New Search Folder
  2. In the dialog that pops-up, select “Large mail” and set the “Show mail at least this large” option to 5120 KB (which is 5 MB). If not a whole lot of messages are found, you can reduce this to 3072 KB (3 MB).

For previous versions of Outlook or as an alternative, you can also use the Mailbox Cleanup tool.

Now that you have found the largest items in your mailbox, you basically have 4 options;

  • You don’t need the message or the attachment;
    Use SHIFT+DELETE to delete the message at once
  • You still need the message but don’t need the attachment anymore;
    Double click on the e-mail to open it-> right click the attachment and choose “Remove”. Save and close the message
  • You don’t need the message but you still need the attachment;
    Right click the attachment-> choose Save As and save the attachment. Then use SHIFT+DELETE to get rid of the message
  • You still need the message and the attachment;
    You can leave it then although this doesn’t help cleaning up.