Most people have a Gmail account these days, and at least some of you might have realised - with an unpleasant shock - that the space in your inbox is getting filled up. Gmail has a pretty huge 15GB limit, but over the years, mail tends to build up, and many of us are probably reaching those limits now.
Luckily cleaning up your Gmail inbox isn't a challenge, thanks to some Gmail's own tools and some third party apps as well. We've found a few reliable ways to quickly clean your Gmail inbox. Start now and we promise it won't take more than half an hour.
Gmail search filters
Gmail doesn't have the option to sort files - you can't get the inbox to display mails alphabetically, or according to the date received, or size. This might sound like a problem, but as is to be expected from a Google company, Gmail has a superb search function, which can be used to solve the problem easily. Follow these steps to clear up the emails you don't need:
1. Sign in to Gmail > go to the big search bar at the top.
2. First, let's clear out the emails taking up the most space. Type Larger:10M in the search bar > hit enter or click the magnifying glass icon.
3. This will find emails taking up more than 10MB. Now select the mails you don't want > delete (trash can icon).
4. You can experiment with different file sizes, depending on how much you need to delete.
5. The obvious next step is to clear out emails from the long ago. You can use Before:YYYY/MM/DD to specify a cutoff date, or older_than:years if you want to search for mails that are one, two or more years old. For example, if you want mails that are older than one year, you can type older_than:1y > press enter to see the list, and then select mails > delete to make space.
6. You can use combinations of commands, so if, for example, you want to delete old mails with attachments that are more than 1MB in size, then type the following into search: has:attachment larger:1M older_than:1y > press enter, then see the list, and select items > delete mails.
7. In case you're starting to worry about remembering all these operators, then you will be happy to know that Google has you covered. Click on the downward pointing arrow at the right corner of the search bar, and you will see the advanced search, which lets you apply all these filters in a simple menu.
Find Big Mail
Find Big Mail was the only way to - well - find big emails in Gmail, until Gmail added the filters we mentioned already. The app is still pretty useful because it automates the process of finding mails that should be deleted and also creates labels so you can find them again later without any difficulty.
Follow these steps to clean up that messy inbox:
1. Head to the Find Big Mail website > enter your Gmail address in the big form > click Find Big Mail.
2. Now Google will ask you to authorise this service. Enter your password (if you haven't logged in already) > click Allow access.
3. The service will now begin scanning your inbox. It claims that it only sees the size of your emails and not the content. Once scanning is complete, you will get an email alert. Ignore the email.
4. On the left side, under the links for inbox, sent mail, etc., you will see new labels. If you don't see this, expand the labels menu. You will see four labels: FindBigMail - Top, FindBigMail > 1MB, FindBigMail > 5MB, FindBigMail > 10MB. Click any of these > select the emails you don't need > delete.
5. The advantage of this method is that you don't need to repeat the search later to find the worst offenders, if you're running out of space again.
If you're willing to use a paid service, then we really liked Mailstrom. The app works great and you can delete up to 660 emails for free, to get an idea of how it works. Unfortunately, using it beyond this limit involves a payment of around Rs. 300 per month.
With that said, Mailstrom's feature set is fairly advanced. It sorts emails by sender, let's you unsubscribe from newsletters quickly and bundles related emails so that you can delete several at once. Follow these steps:
1. Open the Mailstrom website > enter your Gmail address in the form > click Start Free Trial > click Authorize With Google > enter email and password > Sign in.
2. Now you will see your inbox through Mailstrom. It will take some time to sort all your emails. Once done, you will see all emails grouped by sender. We found surprisingly large numbers of emails from people we hadn't spoken to in years. We started by deleting these.
3. You can quickly clear emails using the left sidebar, which lets you view emails by size, time, emails from social networks and has a handy Unsubscribe link to help clear the clutter.
We recommend Mailstrom for those who are facing a serious email overload and have abandoned all hope of ever cleaning up their inboxes. We managed to clear over 200 emails within a minute using Mailstrom. For the average user though, the free methods we already described are probably the better choice.
These are our favourite methods for cleaning the Gmail inbox. What are yours? Tell us via the comments.