Banishing Emails, Hillary-Style

I just finished cleaning out 16,271 sent emails quicker than you can say Hillary Clinton.

I’m not sure what motivated this housecleaning of 10-plus years of email responses. Earlier in the week I got rid of more than 4,000 emails – all read I’m proud to say. That’s how it goes sometimes. You start on one closet and before you know it have moved to another. The domino effect.

How did I accumulate so many sent emails, I asked myself when I started the process? I guess it’s like the little things you gather in life that you don’t really notice until they sneak up on you. Like perfume and face cream samples that date back at least 15 years.

Sometimes it’s tough to part with things you think you may need one day. What if I want to go back and re-live a discussion from eight years ago with a friend who died in 2021? It’s satisfying to re-visit, if just for a minute or two, that conversation. In the course of the cleaning, I saw the names of at least 10 people who are no longer with us. It made me sad, but as in real life they were also deleted — though destined to remain in my heart.

I was glad to see some of the names in my emails go. The so-called buddy from 2012 who stopped speaking to me shortly after I moved to Florida. Or maybe I stopped speaking to her. After 11 years, I can’t remember. Anyway, those few “we will be best friends forever” emails have vanished just like our loyalty to each other.

And the man who had big construction ideas for our historic church? The emails imploring him to look into the background of our little island before making changes are now gone. They didn’t do much good at the time. He left the church before his building project was finished. Good riddance to his emails…

At this point, you may be expecting me to produce some particularly poignant or meaningful email that didn’t make the chopping block. Sorry, when I’m in the cleaning mode, nothing is sacred.

What I do know is that within the next several days I will surely regret having chucked an email from 2018 that is particularly relevant to some piece of information I need today. Tough luck for me.

I’m now thinking about tossing the 150 interviews I did for a corporate history book more than a decade ago. At the time the boss suggested I should dump them when I was through with them, which is why they are still on my computer. You never know when you might need something like that. A cleaning project for another time.


Under the Sand, my newest novel, is in the hands of a couple of different editors. Early readers, including my partner and my ex-husband, say it’s my best book ever. But you’ll be the judge of that sometime later this year. Have a fun summer.

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