How to Clean Up Gmail

How to Clean up Gmail in 8 Easy Steps

Aside from simply setting up a new account, cleaning your Gmail inbox is the best way to stay on top of the mess and ensure you keep delivering a superior standard of customer service. 

catherine heath

Last updated: September 12, 2023

7 mins read

Customer service teams receive a large amount of email and it can be tricky to stay on top of it all. And if you’re using Gmail to manage your customer service emails, you might be interested to know how to clean up Gmail to make it more manageable. 

Don’t carry on using emails in a disorganized fashion. Take control of your inbox now. 

If you’re like many customer service teams, you’ll have hundreds of emails stored in your Social and your Promotions folder. These emails are just taking up space and eating into the 15 gigabytes standard storage limit that Google gives you for data. If you’ve been using your email account for a number of years, it’s likely you’ll be hitting your Gmail storage limit soon. 

If you want to avoid upgrading to more storage, you’ll want to take advantage of the following tips we have for you to clean up Gmail. It takes just a few minutes out of your day, but you’ll be able to drastically improve the amount of storage you have available with Gmail. 

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When you clean up your Gmail account, you end up with more space for customers to email in about their urgent enquiries. It’s all possible in just a few clicks. 

What does cleaning your inbox mean? 

Cleaning your inbox means getting rid of the emails you don’t need anymore, and setting up a process that stops you receiving so many unwanted emails going forward. 

Cleaning up your inbox is not just a one-time job, but something you should do regularly to stay on top of your emails and gain more storage space. 

The advantages of cleaning up your email inbox are: 

  • Finding missed messages: there may be email messages you have missed due to the clutter of your inbox. Cleaning your inbox means you can review overlooked messages and respond to them in a timely fashion. 
  • Reduce unwanted emails: you may get a lot of emails that are from sources you aren’t that bothered by. Cleaning your inbox means you can delete a lot of these unwanted messages and prevent them from distracting you in the future. 
  • Eliminate distractions: when searching your Gmail inbox it may be hard to find the messages that are really important. You’ll be able to more clearly see your present workload and find the messages that matter. 
  • Gain more storage: Deleting unwanted messages means you can free up more space for the emails that matter. You’ll be less obligated to sign up for more storage if you can find more space for your important emails. 

How to clean up Gmail in 8 steps

1. Get rid of large attachments

Attachments on emails can take up a lot of space in your inbox. Using Gmail, you can search for these large attachments and delete the ones you no longer want. Deleting attachments has the potential to free up a lot more storage space in your Gmail inbox. 

Read More: How to Manage Multiple Inboxes with Keeping

To delete emails with large files attached, navigate to the Show search options button on the right-hand side of the Gmail search bar. In the advanced search criteria, enter “1 MB” on the Size line to bring up all your emails that are larger than one megabyte. Gmail also gives you the option to select only those emails that include an attachment. 

If you want to keep an attachment, think about saving it elsewhere and then deleting the original email to free up more space and in the process you’ll clean up your Gmail. 

Find Large Attachments

2. Delete all messages in a tab

Gmail organizes your emails into Primary, Social, and Promotions. It’s likely that all your emails in Social and maybe Promotions are unwanted. There’s a simple way to delete all these messages from your Gmail inbox and clean up your Gmail.  

In your email inbox, navigate to your Social tab. Just under the Gmail search bar, check the box to select all emails in this tab. This will open up the option to select all emails in your Social tab. Select all conversations in your Social tab and then press Delete just under the Gmail search bar. 

Deleting all these emails will free up a huge amount of space in your Gmail inbox. After all, you don’t need to know who posted last on Facebook or who has recently followed you on Instagram. Your Gmail inbox will be a lot cleaner and you’ll have more space for customer emails. 

Delete Promotions

3. Remove emails before a certain date

Do you really need emails that were sent to you five years ago? It’s unlikely that these emails will come in useful for you, and they’re taking up valuable space in your inbox. You can use the Gmail advanced search options to locate emails that were sent to you within a specific date. 

For example, in the Advanced search options you can select all emails sent to you within one year of 2017, then check the Select all box for all these emails. Delete all these emails at once to free up space within your Gmail inbox. 

You can make it a company policy to delete all emails after a certain period of time. Did you know it’s also possible to sort your Gmail emails from oldest to newest? You simply hover over the number of emails in the top right-hand corner and select Oldest. You’ll be able to easily see the emails that you don’t need anymore. 

Of A Year

4. Block spammy senders

In order to clean up your Gmail, you may want to block unwanted senders who are sending you emails you never want to read and reduce your amount of incoming junk messages. This is a good option if the sender doesn’t offer an unsubscribe option in their emails. Customer service teams can find themselves subscribed to all sorts of mailing lists when their email address is publicly available. 

To block a specific email sender in Gmail, navigate to the message in question that needs blocking and open the email. Tap on the vertical ellipses labeled as More and you’ll be able to select Block “sender”. 

If you’d rather not receive emails at all from a certain sender, it’s best to block them from your inbox. This keeps your inbox tidy and ensures that you only receive emails you want to see. 

If you want to unblock a sender, simply the Settings or gear icon in your Gmail inbox, then select Settings. Navigate to Filters and Blocked Addresses to find a list of email addresses you’ve previously blocked. It’s possible to unblock whenever you like to bring them to normal if you decide they’re not sending you spam messages.

5. Erase certain senders

When you’re going through the process of cleaning up your Gmail inbox, you might want to get rid of emails from certain senders that no longer interest you anymore. In Gmail, it’s possible to search by sender and then delete all their emails so they are no longer cluttering up your inbox. 

To delete unwanted senders from your email inbox, simply navigate to the search bar and select Show search options. This opens up a menu that gives you an option to enter the email address of the sender you want to delete. When you’ve typed in the email address you want to delete, select Search to bring up all of their emails. Select all and delete them. 

This approach can be handy if you no longer work with certain customers anymore. It doesn’t make sense to keep their emails if you stop doing business with them. 

6. Erase by topic

You might want to go through your emails and delete all messages that are to do with a certain topic. Perhaps it could be to do with a line of products you no longer carry or emails sent to a specific individual who no longer works on your team. Luckily, there’s an easy way to delete emails by topic using Gmail. 

Gmail’s advanced search features allow you to look for emails with specific words or phrases in the subject or body of the email. Navigate to the search bar and select Show search options. You can enter your words or phrases into the menu, using quotation marks to denote specific phrases. When you’re done, hit search and then select all the emails you want to delete. 

7. Use Gmail labels

In order to keep your email inbox organized, you might want to take advantage of Gmail labels. Labels are Gmail’s answer to the folders and subfolders used in Outlook. Using Gmail labels, you can group related emails together and make it easier to search through them at a later date. Labels can even be nested underneath one another to create a detailed filing system. 

If you want to create a new Gmail label, navigate to the left-hand panel of Gmail and scroll down to select Create new label. Enter the label name and select Create to create your new label. 

Once created, you can apply your new label to any individual message within Gmail. You can even add multiple labels to a single message. You can open a label at any time you like in order to browse all messages associated with that label. 

8. Use Keeping for Gmail

If you’re regularly using Gmail for customer support, it’s likely that all your customer emails are mixed in with your personal emails. This presents an organizational hazard and makes it harder to keep on top of customers. You should consider using Keeping for Gmail, which is customer support software that sits right on top of your inbox to help you turn your customer emails into tickets. 

One of the big advantages of Keeping is that it separates out your customer emails from your regular emails. Whenever you log in, you can easily see your new customer emails distinct from your other emails. Keeping allows you to mark your emails as Open, Closed or Pending, so you can quickly discover which emails need attention. 

Keeping is like Gmail taken to the next level for customer service teams. With Keeping, you’ll have a tidy inbox which enables your service reps to collaborate more effectively on customer requests. 

Pro tip: don’t forget to go through and empty your trash folder when you’re done. Your emails will still be taking up storage space if you don’t. 

Wrapping up

When you’re a Gmail power user, with customer emails flooding into your inbox on a daily basis, it makes sense to keep your inbox tidy. It’s bad email hygiene to hoard emails forever, especially when you know it’s likely you’ll have no need to use the email again. 

Cleaning out your inbox means you’ll have more Gmail storage space to play around with. 

It’s better for your customer’s data security if you don’t hold onto their emails indefinitely. You might want to have access to your customer’s history for added context to their account, but consider only keeping their data for a certain number of years. 

If you clean your Gmail inbox regularly, it’ll make it much easier to stay on top of important emails and see which customers need help. If you’re cleaning your inbox for the first time, setting aside just 15 minutes a day can help you make a dent in the chaos. 

Aside from simply setting up a new account, cleaning your Gmail inbox is the best way to stay on top of the mess and ensure you keep delivering a superior standard of customer service. 

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at

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