Until a few months ago, I never deleted emails in my Gmail account. I changed this behavior last year as I realized I was approaching 80% of my 15 GB limit.
But, even if I started deleting email, I didn’t want the minor stress of looking at that ~80% full storage indicator everyday. So, I began deleting old email.
I started with searches for certain kinds of emails and deleted emails carefully. I realized the futility of this soon enough and began deleting entire categories.
As I clicked the option to permanently delete the first time, I wondered – “Am I going to regret getting rid of some of this email?”
When I asked myself the question, I ignored the fact that I hadn’t looked at some of these categories.. ever. The finality of deletion still loomed large.
I reflected on that moment today as I looked at my Inbox. It is lovely to see the indicator at ~30%. And, months after deleting all that old crap (it really was crap), I’ve not looked back.
We’re wired to hold onto things we have – clearly even when they’re as random as an email from Amazon in 2011.
It’s liberating to make subtraction a habit and learn to let go.