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Clean up your GMail account

GMail Trash iconAlthough GMail offers about 2.5GB space, it is nearly not enough to last forever. With media files, pdfs and other heavy attachments being sent frequently nowadays, many GMail users will use up the space fairly quickly. If your GMail account gets full, you will stop receiving emails. Google will hold them for a few days, so you have a chance to clean up your account before you lose emails. But, of course it is better to be prepared in advance. Here are couple of tips on how to make some space on your GMail account:

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  1. You can turn on POP mail and download all your email to your computer. If you set the preferences to delete messages from GMail upon downloading you will get a local copy of all your emails, while freeing up your GMail account. Of course this way you will lose GMail's main advantage of having all your mail online accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Without the delete preference, it is still a good idea to have a local backup of all your GMails before you decide cleaning it up, especially if you have the bandwidth and space to spare.
  2. If you decide not to delete all messages, but just filter out those emails with attachments you should do a search as: has:attachment and delete them. Of course this is a very rough approach.
  3. If you only want to delete attachments that you sent to others you may want to try this search: in:sent has:attachment. Since you are likely to have a copy of all files you sent on your hard disk somewhere anyway, this is a good bet if you want to free up some serious amount of space.
  4. Further finetuning can be done by filtering out messages that are older than a certain date: before:2006/01/01 in:sent has:attachment.
  5. For even more options on fine tuning your search check out the official GMail advanced search cheat sheet.
  6. A good way to get rid of many unneeded emails is to mass delete all those periodic email newsletters and notifications that you may have intentionally or unintentionally subscribed to. Go through your inbox and find them and identify a search string that is unique to them. For example most of them have the word noreply in their email address. Do a search on this word or be more specific and do a search on the actual email address or subject.
  7. If you use blogger, any other blogging application or a forum with notifications (such as creativebits), you may have hundreds of emails that are out of date, with information that is available through other channels. Find a common string and delete them too.
  8. Do you have many monthly bills or statements you don't need anymore? Are these emails a duplication of something that is awilable on-line anyway? If so, identify the search keyword billing ... and delete them.
  9. You may want to do a search on Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender. You may find hunderds of such emails, sometimes with attachments.
  10. Is there are person who periodically sends you forwards? Do a search on his name and do a quick clean up on his mails too.
  11. GMail saves all your chats, but you may decide you don't need those transcripts. Check out the Chats folder.
  12. Finally to help your clean up in the future, set up a label tbdel (to be deleted). When you go through your emails apply this label to emails that can probably be deleted. Every once in a while do a search as before:2006/09/01 label:tbdel and delete those messages. You can even setup Google Calendar to the deletion automatically for you automatically.
  13. Although your Spam and Trash folders are periodically cleaned up automatically, you may want to see how much you saved and go to the trash folder and click Empty trash.

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Matt Davey's picture
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If anyone wants a Gmail Account I have about 92 Invites left if anyone wants one I'll send you a few just drop me a line.

—

Matt Davey - Graphic and Web Design www.mdfolio.co.uk

Creativebits is a blog about Creativity, Graphic Design, Adobe, Apple and other related subjects.

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