How to clean Gmail inbox: 4 easy methods

From spam to old, unread messages, your email might contain lots of unnecessary correspondence. Learn how to clean your Gmail inbox efficiently.
Taking the Inbox Zero approach to email management can enhance your productivity and help you avoid running out of Gmail storage. The problem is that you might have numerous unnecessary emails standing between you and a clean inbox.This guide will help by showing you how to clean your Gmail inbox and avoid clutter in the future. You’ll also learn more about Gmail’s privacy and security policy, which will help you decide if your efforts to organize your inbox are worthwhile.
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How to clean up Gmail and automate email management

Choosing an email cleanup starting point might be challenging if you have hundreds or thousands of unnecessary emails. To remove clutter and organize your mail efficiently, follow these tips:
  1. Delete old emails in bulk
  2. Clean emails by tabs
  3. Get rid of spam and unnecessary subscriptions
  4. Use filters to automate incoming mail management

How to clean out old emails in Gmail

Most of your old emails don’t contain any useful information you’ll need to reference in the future. Instead of having them take up valuable space, you can delete them in a few simple steps thanks to Gmail’s advanced search. Here’s how to use it:
  1. Go to the search bar above the inbox
  2. Type before:[date] using a forward slash (/) as a separator and press Enter
  3. You’ll see all emails up to the set date. To select them all, click the checkbox above the inbox and choose Select all conversations that match this search
  4. Click the bin icon and confirm the deletion
Source: Gmail screenshotYour emails will be moved to Trash, where they’ll stay for the next 30 days before being deleted permanently. If you don’t want to wait, you can remove deleted emails by following these steps:
  1. Click More in the left-hand menu to expand the folder list
  2. Go to Trash
  3. Either select all emails and click Delete forever or click Empty Trash now
Source: Gmail screenshotYou can use advanced search to look for other emails you wish to delete in bulk, such as:
  • Messages from specific senders
  • Emails with large attachments
  • Emails containing specific keywords

How to clean up Gmail tabs

By default, Gmail splits your inbox into three tabs:The platform puts aside emails you most likely won’t need to address and singles out the ones that require your action. As for the rest, you can remove them all directly from the corresponding tabs, provided that there isn’t any information you might need.To do so, take the following steps:
  1. Navigate to the tab you want to clean out (e.g., Promotions)
  2. Click the checkbox above the inbox and go to Select all [XXX] conversations in Promotions
  3. Click the bin icon and delete emails from your trash by following the aforementioned steps
Social and promotional emails are typically subscription-based, so your inbox will likely fill up again unless you unsubscribe from newsletters.

Canceling subscriptions and eliminating spam

You might’ve given your email address to various advertisers to unlock hidden content and create accounts on different platforms. If they’ve been flooding your inbox with ads and other promotional content, take some time to unsubscribe and prevent additional unwanted mail.Gmail doesn’t have a centralized menu for managing all your subscriptions, so you’ll need to unsubscribe from each newsletter separately by following these steps:
  1. Open the email of your choice
  2. Click Unsubscribe next to the sender’s address and confirm the action
Source: Gmail screenshotAs a side effect of leaving your email address in various places around the web, your inbox might also contain lots of spam. While you can delete it like all other mail, you should first report the email and/or block the sender.To do this, open the spam email and click the alert icon above the inbox. If you also wish to block the sender, click the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose Block [Name].Doing this doesn’t guarantee you’ll stop receiving additional spam because such emails are sent through so-called botnets—large networks of devices controlled by one person. Still, reporting improves Gmail’s spam detection, which can prevent unsolicited mail from reaching your main inbox.

Automatically filter incoming mail

To achieve Inbox Zero and maintain clarity, you can use Gmail’s filters and choose what happens with specific emails without your direct involvement. This option is accessible from the search bar, and you can use it by following these steps:
  1. Click the filter icon on the right side of the search bar
  2. Choose the criteria for emails you want to automate (senders, keywords, subject, etc.)
  3. Click Create filter
  4. Select the action you want Gmail to take when you get an email matching the criteria
  5. Click Create filter again to set it up
Source: Gmail screenshotYou can fine-tune filters by setting several criteria and automated actions. If you wish to edit or remove filters, you can access them in Settings under “Filters and blocked addresses.”

Is cleaning out Gmail worth it?

If your Gmail inbox is disorganized and overwhelmed with unimportant emails, you can take this as an opportunity to start fresh with a new address—especially if you receive a lot of spam.You might also want to consider going a step further and choosing a new email provider altogether. Numerous users have already done it, as evidenced by Gmail’s declining user base.Despite the platform’s various features, it’s far from the best option if you value security. Google’s invasive privacy practices combined with limited protection from cyberattacks make Gmail subpar for users who wish to keep their data and correspondence private.Specifically, Gmail uses the outdated Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption protocol to protect data in transit. Data resting on Gmail’s servers is secured by AES-256 encryption, which is strong but leaves a significant vulnerability—encryption keys are created and stored by Google.This means the provider can decipher and read your emails at any time. The same goes for a hacker who penetrates Google’s servers and steals the keys.To avoid such significant risks, you should look for an email provider that offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE). Unlike Google’s default methods, E2EE encrypts an email before you send it using a key created on your device and ensures that only the recipient can decrypt the message, providing complete privacy.End-to-end encrypted email services are few and far between. If you need a reliable solution, check out Skiff Mail.

Regain control of your data with Skiff Mail

Skiff Mail is a secure email service that uses strong end-to-end encryption to keep your data away from prying eyes. When you send an email, it’s encrypted on your device using a public key shared with the recipient. The email reaches Skiff’s servers encrypted and is only visible to the recipient holding a private decryption key.Nobody else—including Skiff’s team—can see your correspondence. In the unlikely event of a cyberattack, the hacker could only see encrypted, unintelligible versions of your email.
Source: SkiffTo further safeguard your private data, Skiff Mail implements the following security measures:
Security measureHow it works
Secure Remote PasswordEncrypts other encryption keys and critical account data
Zero-knowledge loginLets you sign up for Skiff without leaving any personal information
Two-factor authentication (2FA)Provides an additional security layer through a one-time code generated by the Authenticator app
Tracker blockingBlocks email trackers that monitor your email behavior
Skiff Mail provides various features beyond strong security, most notably:
  • Fast email and text search
  • 10 GB of end-to-end encrypted storage
  • Crypto wallet integrations
  • Beautifully-designed user interface
  • Folders, labels, and filters
  • Custom signatures and a custom domain
All of the above features are available with Skiff’s free plan, and you can learn more about them in this whitepaper. As Skiff is open source, the codebase is available on the platform’s GitHub.
Leverage military-strong encryptionSkiff Mail's end-to-end encryption ensures your inbox stays clutter-free and your communication remains secure
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A secure alternative to Google Workspace

Skiff Mail is one of four E2EE platforms creating a private work environment. When you sign up, you’ll also get access to the following products:Refer to the following table for a concise overview of each tool:
Skiff DriveSkiff PagesSkiff Calendar
A secure cloud solution that lets you upload, store, and share files of all sizes and types A note-taking and document creation platform featuring a rich text editor and invite-based collaborationA comprehensive email app that automatically syncs with Skiff Mail
You can take advantage of Skiff Drive’s integration with the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to store your files in a decentralized environmentYour files’ contents and key metadata are end-to-end encrypted, so you can enjoy complete confidentialityYou can create shared calendars and host secure video conferences using the platform’s built-in tool
The entire Skiff suite is available on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and browsers, which makes it ideal for remote work.
Source: Skiff

Sign up for Skiff Mail

If you want to fortify your email security and enjoy peace of mind, you can get started with Skiff Mail in three steps:
  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Choose your username and password
  3. Explore Skiff Mail and the rest of Skiff’s secure ecosystem
The free account lets you go about daily correspondence without limitations. As your needs evolve, you can upgrade to one of Skiff’s affordable paid plans:
EssentialFrom $3 per month
ProFrom $8 per month
BusinessFrom $12/user per month
Thanks to Skiff’s one-click migration, you can transfer important emails from Gmail without complications. They’ll be encrypted immediately, and Skiff won’t store unencrypted copies.

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