Archiving versus Deleting
Gmail is a great tool for communication, but your inbox can quickly fill up with emails that you no longer need. Google offers many different ways to organize your messages – from stars to labels to folders – but one of the easiest and most valuable ways to clean up your inbox is to archive your messages.
When you archive a message, the item is removed from your inbox and placed in another folder from which it can still be retrieved at a later date. This is akin to sticking the message in a drawer that you may dig through later. You can archive individual messages or check the boxes next to several to archive at one time.
If you find that you need the message at a later date, you can search for it by sender name, keyword, or date. If the message is part of a conversation, any new activity will pop the message back into your inbox.
Deleting a message will remove it and place it in your Trash folder. You can still retrieve items out of the Trash for a while, but the Google Sanitation Engineers come around about once every 30 days. Some messages will truly never be needed again and can safely be relegated to the dustbin, but archiving can save you some hassle if you decide in the future that a message was more important than you thought.
The school district maintains a separate archive system that saves all email messages regardless of whether an individual has saved or deleted their messages.