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I feel practically weightless – not that I have a lot of weight on me to begin with – but now I may float away. I closed two email accounts.

Over time, I had opened various accounts for specific reasons until I had six separate email accounts, five of them Gmail accounts. A couple of these accounts became inactive, but I was still checking them once a week so that Gmail wouldn’t think they were inactive. Google requires you to login to your Gmail at least once every nine months or it can close your account for inactivity. (I couldn’t find that stipulation in Google’s Terms of Service. Instead, I found it under Gmail’s Program Policies after doing a search. See last line of that page.)

If I checked an email account only once in nine months, I wouldn’t be able to remember the password, hence the once a week check. It got to be a whole lotta hassle and time to be logging in and deleting spam. It was time to let go.

I found a helpful page on the process of deleting Gmail accounts. Before taking that permanent step, I went through every folder of both accounts, forwarding emails I wanted to keep to one of my other accounts and deleting emails I no longer needed. I also emptied the trash and deleted my contacts. This clearing of the email accounts took several days.

I logged into Blogger and changed the email address (one I was deleting) to an active email account so that I could continue to have access to my old blog, Filter & Splice. If you’re intending to ditch an email account, you’ll want to do this for every online account associated with the email address you’re deleting. Check to see that you can still access your online accounts with the new email address you entered. (Don’t hastily close an email account before you know whether your other accounts work. There are no points for speed in this process.)

I double-checked everything, took a deep breath, and started the account cancellation process.

Google gives you plenty of chances to back out, so if you suddenly have a pang of regret, you can stop the process before the final click. I stopped at least once due to a question I needed answered. I didn’t come back until the following day, at which time I started over with the process.

Google lets you know that if you delete the account and need to get it back for some reason, you can contact the company for help. Emails aren’t completely deleted from servers for about 60 days, but it’s probably not the easiest fix the longer you wait. (Better to forward those emails you consider to be the tiniest bit important before closing your email account. You can always delete them later.)

Closing two email accounts is like coming through a round of spring cleaning … so satisfying and freeing.

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