It's six months now since I switched the way I file email in Outlook. Rather than maintain a complex folder structure for my mail I decided to embrace desktop search in Office 2007 and cut down to just three folders. Six months later and I won't be going back.
The psychological shift was tougher than I thought it would be. Many's the time I have paused before filing an item and thought for just a moment about creating a new folder for a certain class of mail. I succumbed just once, creating a new folder for a trip I was planning. I wanted to be 100% sure I could find all the flight, parking, hotel details to print out before departure. Looking back, what I probably should have done is file those items to OneNote.
I still fret sometimes when filing items that I won't be able to find things again. I wish there was an easy way to tag mail before I file. Somewhere I can simply add a delimited list of keywords to give me an additional comfort factor. Yes, I know there are categories, but that's not what I am looking for in this instance. Maybe we'll see that in O14.
I am happy to report though, I am yet to lose anything or struggle to find an item I need to refer back to. Instant search hasn't let me down. In any query I can narrow down the potential matches quickly to less than 20 items by searching on the name of the sender and and a keyword I expect to be in the text of the mail. This turns out to be a very common search pattern. It's very rare that I will search for a mail item and be unable to remember the sender of the item I am looking for.