How to clean out an overflowing inbox in Gmail

How to archive messages in gmail Isn’t it wonderful how we can just keep getting a ton of messages in our inbox? Yup, that unending space to store them rocks and we can deal with that “later.”

And later doesn’t seem to come until one day we look up and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of messages in that box and your heart sinks ‘cuz you know it will be a HUGE job to get through everything.

Do you need it? Don’t you need it? File it? Throw it away?

(And, by the way, the steps may be different for the tool you’re using to read your email AND the concepts are the same.)

Ugggggg…Calgon take me a away.

So more days go by and the pressure builds up.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

So here’s an alternative. Since there’s a LOT of storage space available in our gmail accounts, archive the darned things and be done with it. Archive means the messages are still in storage and available if you need them later. You can search for them in a whole bunch of ways

Yes, you might need to deal with storage space down the road (that’s another DO-ABLE step you can take LATER!).

So here ya go!

Step by step

(Click here for printable step by step instructions.)

  1. Decide how far back you’re willing to archive your messages
  2. Write down the date on a piece of paper
    Note: Honestly, if you haven’t acted on an email (whether to read it, delete, or whatever) within the last 2 weeks, the likelihood is that you WON’T act on it.  For this example, we’re going to archive any messages that are over 2 weeks old.
  3. Log in to your gmail account
  4. Click Inbox
  5. In the Search box at the top of your screen, type before:yyyy/mm/dd
    yyyy=4 digit year, mm=2 digit month, dd=2 digit day
    So let’s say you wanted to archive all messages prior to 8/1/2012, you would type before:2012/08/01
  6. From the Selection drop down menu, select All
  7. Click Select all conversations that match this search
  8. Click Archive

There are all sorts of additional things you can do, like only look in a specific folder, and for now, the purpose is to get your heart beating steadily again instead of going into panic mode when you open your inbox!

  • Hemanta Masarangi says:

    Funny how we dont know such basic solution to badgering problems like that.
    Thanks for the information.

    • MamaRed Knight says:

      Isn’t that the truth Hemanta…I once helped a client get rid of over 10,000 messages because she was so overwhelmed. That led to this post! Blessings. MamaRed

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