How to Clean up Your Gmail Inbox in

Free up Gigabytes of Storage While Preserving Your Privacy

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By Pat
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Imagine your Gmail account like a super messy room. Now, imagine Google like the stern parent telling you it's time to tidy up. If your digital closet, i.e., your Gmail account, is brimming over with emails, Google is nudging you to put your virtual house in order. This started in 2021 when Google started to play hardball with its storage policy, leaving users with no choice but to get their act together.

Your Gmail account gives you a 15GB of storage space, like a suitcase for your digital stuff. This space is divided between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. But the generous era of free Photos storage is over. You're now left with no option but to roll up your sleeves and declutter. We're sure you don't want Google to take matters into its own hands and start tossing things out!

Let's start our cleaning spree by looking at your Gmail inbox, especially those old emails.

Before we start, make sure you're logged into Gmail. You can use your Chrome browser, Mac, Windows PC, Android tablet, or iPad. These steps work best if you're using the web version of Gmail.

First, let's find out how much space your emails are taking up. Scroll down to the bottom of your Gmail page. There, you'll see a small meter showing how much space your Google stuff is using.

Google Drive Storage

Moving on, you now have two options:

  • Delete random emails and hope they free up some storage space.
  • Use GoodByEmail, an app that helps you know which emails you should delete to really make space in your inbox.

Option 1: Choosing Random Emails to Delete

It's time to start cleaning!

Gmail has different tabs - Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. Google thinks your Primary tab has the important stuff, and the rest may not be as important. But sometimes, those other tabs hold interesting things: old newsletters, forum updates, or old notifications from social networks. You know, stuff you'd actually like to keep. Furthermore, some of these emails may not be taking up much space. Without knowing how much space these emails are using, it's really hard to know where to start.

If you decide you don't want to delete emails randomly, you can be a little more organized about it. Filtering can help.

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How to Filter Through Emails in Gmail

You can use Gmail's search box to find specific types of emails. It's like being a detective! It can search for more than just words; it can look for certain things to help you find emails you don't need. Here are some handy commands you can use:

  • older_than:5m - This shows all emails older than five months. You can change 'm' to 'y' for year or 'd' for day.
  • before:02/14/2015 - This shows all emails sent before February 14, 2015.
  • filename:pdf - This shows all emails with a PDF file attached.
  • has:attachment - This finds all emails with attachments.
  • size: larger: smaller - This can find big emails. For example, 'larger:200' will find emails bigger than 200 bytes, while 'larger:13M' will find those larger than 13 megabytes.
  • is:important - This shows all emails marked as Important.
  • from:Joanna - This finds all emails from Joanna.

Unfortunately, after all this, you still won't know how much space you saved by deleting those emails. i.e. One day later you might still get that chilling notification telling you're - still - out of storage space.

This leads us to option 2, GoodByEmail can really help get your inbox space back!

Option 2: How to Quickly Get Rid Rid of Emails that Really Take Up Space

The problem is that you can't know which emails are using up all your storage space.

Shockingly, you've been made believe that what fills up your inbox are large attached files. As the years went by, some senders sent you tons of emails. That large quantity of emails filled up your inbox. Tons of small emails can amount to lots of Gigabytes of storage.

Moreover, some of these pesky emails are from mailing lists you may no longer be interested in. Unsubscribing from these lists using GoodByEmail not only stops future emails but also helps in reducing the digital clutter in your inbox.

But what if you could know who are the senders loading up your inbox?

GoodbyEmail Dashboard

You can then sort senders by space used or by the number of emails and note down the senders you want out of your inbox.

Additionally, with GoodByEmail, you can identify which of these senders are mailing list senders and easily unsubscribe from them, preventing unwanted emails from piling up in your inbox in the future.

Gmail Empty Trash

With those notes at hand, go back to Gmail and search for those senders.

Select their emails, then click the little checkbox icon at the top left. This will select the first page of emails from that sender, not all the emails from that sender. After you select the emails on the first page, and want to select all emails from that sender you can click the link "Select all conversations that match this search". You will then get the confirmation "All conversations in this search are selected."

Gmail Delete Messages

You can now move on to deleting emails! Click the little trash-can icon to put all these emails in the trash. Once you confirm, poof! Those emails are gone… sort of.

Gmail has just moved your emails to the Trash folder. You can find your deleted emails in the Trash folder on the left side. Google kindly gives you 30 days to recover any email you didn't mean to delete. If you're sure, click the "Empty Trash now" message at the top of your Trash email list to get rid of those emails forever. But be careful, once they're gone, they're really gone!

Gmail Empty Trash

After those emails are gone from your inbox and the Trash folder, wait a day for Gmail to update things. Then, you'll have a lot more storage space!

Gmail Trash folder

With these helpful tips, you're on your way to a cleaner Gmail inbox. By not only deleting unnecessary emails but also unsubscribing from unwanted mailing lists, have fun cleaning!

Feeling a bit lost? Don't hesitate to reach out - we're here to help!

Quick Plug: Clean up your email inbox, privacy-first 💪

Isn’t it frustrating to constantly receive that "Your storage is 95% full" message?

Scared of using Email Cleaning, Unsubscribe or Declutter tools that snoop around your emails, even though they swear they are safe?

We got your back! If you haven’t tried GoodByEmail, it’s about time. Not only does it identify which email senders—many of whom you likely don’t care about anymore—are consuming all your storage space, but it also allows you to effortlessly unsubscribe from mailing lists with complete safety!

GoodByEmail uses a unique privacy-first approach by design: It simply cannot connect directly to your email provider. It does not require you to share any logins, credentials, oauth tokens, nor any sort of invasive permissions whatsoever. All the processing happens on your computer and no emails are ever uploaded to GoodByEmail's servers. Plus, you can even use it offline for maximum privacy!

Could you really trust other cleaning solutions available in the market, knowing they have direct access to your emails? Some services monetize by selling your data. Even if they claim it's secure, it raises concerns about the accessibility and potential misuse of your personal information.

GoodByEmail works with every email provider, you name it: Google, Microsoft, Fastmail, AOL, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, Office 365, Outlook, Zoho, Bluehost Mail, Namecheap Mail, Alibaba Mail, Alimail, Alyun, Gmail, Mail.com, Comcast Xfinity, Live, Hotmail, Yandex Mail, G Suite, MSN, Godaddy Mail, GoogleMail, and so many more.

You only need to make a one-time secure export of your inbox in mbox format, and GoodByEmail will find out who are the senders eating up all your inbox storage space, without anyone else getting a look at your emails. Plus, you can also easily unsubscribe from those pesky subscription emails. It’s easy to do! Need help? This guide has a step-by-step.

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