I've been keeping all of my personal email since 2001. I keep it nicely organized in yearly folders and sub-folders...but should I?
This is vaguely related to this question
. My personal email file goes all the way back to 2001. Each year, I create a folder and subfolders for the previous year's emails and store them away. These emails can be anything from e-mail receipts to correspondence from friends and family to long and rambling love letters sent between myself and ex- romantic partners.
Besides the occassional need to find an emailed software activation code in my archives, I have rarely touched these emails over the years and, when I have, I've been amused or (many times) embarassed to see who I was years ago and the promises or emotional pontifications that I made that are no longer valid today.
I've also kept a diary (not in my email) for the past 7 years that will pretty much tell the same story that could be gained from my personal emails, albeit less specifically.
I have a very strong tendency to want to "pack rat" things for no good reason, and I know that at my place of employment, they actively encourage us to delete ANYTHING that is no longer actively needed (I assume for legal reasons).
Oh, also, the email resides on my own mail server, so space is not a concern.
So, my question is: why should or shouldn't I keep those e-mails around? Are there legal implications to keeping the email (e.g., could it be discovered in a lawsuit and be used might paint me in an unfavorable light - even if that would be a stretch)? Are there good reasons why it is useful to keep these old emails? Does it really matter one way or the other? What are your thoughts?