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Re-organizing my emails

Currently I archive my emails in a fairly deep hierarchy. Under Archive, I have various categories (friends, family, work, politics, projects, etc.), and then individual people, organizations, or projects under that. I've had this system for a long time, but I'm finding now that it takes me longer to archive messages than I'd like, both in terms of thought (where does this go?) and UI fiddling/clutter (expand the Archive folder, then the category, scroll down to the person). I'd really just like to be able to say "I'm done with this message" and be done with it, but I hate to lose all classification.

I'm thinking of taking away the bottom level of the hierarchy --- no folders for individual friends, etc., but having folders just for 'friends', 'family', etc., and then relying on searches, Beagle, or Evolution search folders to get to a finer grain than that. I generally use either Evolution or Emacs-Gnus for email, or sometimes Thunderbird, and my mail is stored in a normal IMAP setup. I guess the thing I'm worried about is not trusting the search mechanisms available. Beagle's email searches are really only available to Evolution, likewise Evolution's search folders. I don't want to feel bound to one email client (which is why my mail is all on a local IMAP server to begin with).

Any thoughts?

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