shutterstock 235515493 - Get Rid Of Email Clutter

Most of us might have already started cleaning up or decluttering spaces in our homes.  And why not?  The beginning of the year is the best time to do just that.  While you are at it, consider decluttering your email inbox as well.  Very similar to decluttering your paper files at home, decluttering your email entails a lot of time and patience.  Dealing with a large number of emails accumulated over the years is no joke and I truly regret putting off cleaning my inbox.  It was only until I was alerted by Google that my “Gmail is almost full” did I start cleaning up.

Space may be infinite; but when it comes to digital storage space, sadly, it is not.  If you are a Gmail account user,  know that every Google account is given 15GB of free storage space and once this limit has been reached, the user can no longer send or receive emails.  Take note that the 15GB storage space is shared by the user’s Gmail, Google Drive and Google photos.

Knowing how much space has already been used by your account is a good place to start.  If you are signed in to your email account, you can find this at the left bottom page of your email.  It’ll indicate how much space has already been used in percentage and in Gigabytes.  Clicking on the word “Manage” will give you a detailed list of where most of the space went.  You can also check on this by going to

Usually, most storage spaces are filled up by Gmail consisting of messages and attachments.  Items in your Spam and Trash folder occupies space as well so don’t forget to delete those.  Below is a list of the most common items/messages you need to delete to free up space in your inbox.

  1. Deal with unopened emails

Not all emails are read and opened.  I check on my work email every single day and most often than not I leave an average of 4 to 5 emails unopened.  With that, I have accumulated approximately 1,500++ unopened emails in a span of 1 year.  Anything and everything in your Gmail account takes up space.   And so while plain email messages don’t take up much space,  email messages with attachments, however, is a different story.   Say all my unopened email has attachments, just imagine the huge amount of storage space I am wasting!  Here is the thing, if I was uninterested back then to open or read that email, what are the chances that I’d be interested or even find them relevant now?  Similar to tips on home decluttering where you have a pile to keep, donate and throw, emails that remain irrelevant should automatically go to the delete pile. Hesitant to delete all unread emails?  I suggest you assign a specific time frame, say 6 months.  If unread emails beyond 6 months remain irrelevant to you, then your only option is to delete them.

  1. Delete by sender

Undoubtedly, we all get emails from marketers, sellers, etc – not just a couple; but plenty of them. These emails usually consist of newsletters, advertisements, solicitations and donations; hence, they all come with attachments that occupy a considerable amount of storage space.  If these messages aren’t appealing and not at all interesting to you, then I guess there is no reason for you to hold on to it.  If you wish to delete emails coming from a particular sender just type “from:(email address of the sender)” then Enter.  A list of the search results will appear.  Select items you want to remove.  Delete. Don’t look back.  You are not going that way.

  1. By Size

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  If the above 2 items didn’t do much then consider deleting emails based on its size.  Set a specific size say 5MB.  From your email’s search field type “has:attachment larger:5M”.  Tap enter and a list of emails with 5MB and above will appear.  Select email(s) and delete.  You can narrow your search further by adding commands, say “has:attachment larger:5M older_than:3y”.  A list of emails with attachment larger than 5MB dated 3 years and older will then appear.  Select these items and delete.


In this digital world that we live in, one can just accumulate hundreds of emails in no time.  While other messages in our inbox are important; a pretty good number that are left however, are also irrelevant.  That is why it is imperative not to allow these messages to pile up.  Neglecting them often leads to a cluttered, inefficient email system.  Make it a habit to sort messages and delete irrelevant ones.


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