Reclaim some Gmail storage with just a few clicks

I created my first Gmail account in 2006 at the tender age of 16. These were the halcyon days when getting access to Gmail required an invite from someone who already had Gmail. My friends and I were early adopters and quickly moved off AIM to Google Chat (remember when it was a separate standalone program on your computer?) A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my archives and reminiscing on softball games and the files I would email myself to print at school.

My walk down memory lane was rudely interrupted by Google threatening to no longer deliver mail to me since my storage was almost full. I could have coughed up the $1.99/mo for 100GB but I hate recurring charges and the main function of this email now is to be my “throwaway” email for promotions and newsletters so paying for storage felt indulgent.

I’ve seen other tricks like searching for attachments but I knew that my issue was pure email volume (hello, 13 years!) vs. straight up documents.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Looked at my All Mail to find low-value emails I no longer cared about. For this example, I’ll choose francesca’s.

2. Open the email and identify the from: address. Bonus: You can also unsubscribe if you don’t want the emails anymore. Copy the address.

3. Navigate back to All Mail and drop that address in the search bar. Make sure to select the conversations and then select “Select all conversations that match this search.” As you can see, there are “many” conversations. If you’ve been subscribed to newsletters or promotions from a company for years you could be dealing with thousands of emails.

4. Select the trash can, it will warn you that you’re about to perform a bulk action. Click OK. Those emails do not spark joy!

5. You’ll probably see a little yellow Loading… bar at the top of your screen while the messages delete. You can navigate away from the page without impacting the deletion process.

6. Your final step is to go to your Trash, select all the messages and choose Delete Forever. Ta-da! No more emails. 🎉

I managed to delete over 6,000 messages and it only took about 5 minutes total. I was at maximum capacity and am now down by 3GB which gives me plenty of space to play. My daily Dictionary.com email had generated over 3,500 emails over the years! Multiply that by a few other subscriptions and you can easily have over 10,000 emails in your inbox.

Enjoy your freshly decluttered inbox and bask in the glory of saving yourself $20/year in storage.

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