How to Organize Gmail

How to Organize Gmail

If your Gmail inbox looks like a messy platter right now and you feel uneasy every time you look at it—we’re here with Gmail organization tips that’ll make your inbox free from clutter.


Last updated: August 22, 2022

9 mins read

Your Gmail inbox is like your desk. A messy desk is never a good sight, and neither is an unorganized inbox. It not only reduces your productivity but also wastes time spent trying to find a single file that you sent to a client months ago. Clearly, knowing how to organize Gmail is important.

If your Gmail inbox looks like a messy platter right now and you feel uneasy every time you look at it—we’re here with Gmail organization tips that’ll make your inbox free from clutter.

So why should you organize Gmail?

Before we jump in to show your exactly how you organize your Gmail inbox, let’s first understand the benefits of a neat and tidy Gmail inbox.

It helps you stay organized

A de-cluttered gmail account helps you stay organized in the way that it eliminates all the junk you do not need in your folder. As a result, only important mail is visible in your inbox tab.

Ready to transform how you work in Gmail?
Teams love Keeping because you can collaborate on a shared inbox without ever leaving Gmail. It's not magic, but it feels magical.

You’ll also make things easier for others when using shared inboxes within your team. A lot of time spent going back and forth between team members can be saved when the shared inbox is organized.

It makes you more productive

Being continually involved in sorting out your emails makes it challenging to be productive. You frequently lose track of crucial conversations or files sent to you if you receive many emails.

Finding them in a disorganized Gmail inbox will be a messy process that will waste time, divert attention from important tasks, and ultimately result in low productivity. By keeping your inbox organized, tasks are easier and quicker—leading to increased productivity.

It helps with time management

The Wall Street Journal talks about how it takes 23 minutes for an individual to focus on a task after checking their inbox. That’s a lot of wasted time!

With the amount of emails an average person receives in a day, an individual probably spends more than half of their day in their inbox. With an organized Gmail inbox, you can save time and utilize it for tasks that actually need your attention.

Shayla, the founder of PrimoStats, summed up all of these advantages as follows:

“An organized Gmail inbox makes it easy to find what you need, when you need it. That way, you don’t waste precious time trying to locate an important email or forget to respond to an important client. Organization improves efficiency, leading to a more productive day.”

Use these tips to organize your Gmail inbox

Now that you know the benefits of an organized Gmail inbox, let’s get you started on how to organize Gmail!

Enable Priority Inbox

Emails in Gmail are displayed in the new-to-old sequence by default. It’s possible that not every new email is worthwhile reading. This is why our first Gmail organization tip is to keep only relevant emails on top.

Based on your needs, you can prioritize your emails in the following ways:

  • Important first: Gmail will give you important email suggestions based on its assumptions. These emails are marked in yellow.
  • Unread first: This setting will display all unread messages above other emails. Do you use Gmail as your to-do list? This one’s the setting for you, then!
  • Starred first: This setting will ensure that all your starred messages appear on top. If you have important messages that you like to star, then this setting will be suitable for you.
  • Priority inbox: Gmail will observe your patterns and learn which emails you interact with most daily. This setting will then show you priority email suggestions on top.
  • Multiple inboxes: With this setting, within your main inbox, Google offers smaller inboxes called Multiple Inboxes. This helps you create sections in your inbox according to the email type, subject, or preferences.

Adjusting the settings according to your priorities will help you clear out unnecessary emails – here is how you can change these settings:

  • Go to the settings section of your inbox. You’ll be able to find it on the upper right side.
  • You’ll be able to see a bunch of categories for settings. Click on “Inbox“.

Here you’ll see a drop-down menu with the aforementioned options for prioritizing mails.

  • Select the one for you from this list and you’re good to go!

Use Gmail’s labels

If you have wondered how to separate emails in Gmail, here’s the answer.

Gmail uses labels to organize your emails for you. Labels are nothing but tags you can put on different categories of emails you receive. It is pretty similar to folders; however, multiple labels can be put on a single email conversation—unlike folders.

For example, if you get constant emails from your manager, you can put a “Work” label on this conversation. Furthermore, you can add other labels like “Follow up” or “Submit’ for better organization of your “Work” label.

There are two ways to creating Gmail labels:

  1. Creating Gmail labels manually

To create labels manually, go to Gmail settings > labels > create new labels.

  1. Using filters to create Gmail labels

To create Gmail labels using a filter, go to settings > filters and blocked addresses > create a new filter.

Pro Tip: To further organize your labels in Gmail, you can also color code them. To do that, find a label you want to color and click on the arrow. Click on the label color and pick one.

Archive email you do not need

According to Harvard Business Review, on average, a working professional will have more than 200 emails in their inbox and receive 120 new ones daily. Of course, you don’t need every one of the emails you receive daily. This is where archiving emails come into play.

The archive feature allows you to hide an email without deleting them from your inbox entirely. Here’s how you can archive an email in your inbox:

  • Open Gmail.
  • Select all emails you want to archive.
  • In the toolbar below the search field, select Archive.
  • All your selections will be archived now.


In case you want to unarchive an email, here are the steps:

  • Toggle the All Mail label on the left side of your inbox.
  • Choose the email that you want to remove from archives.
  • Select “Move to Inbox” from the menu.

Use Nudges to your advantage

With all the emails you receive in a day, it’s possible to miss out on an important one.

The “nudge” feature will prompt you to respond to an email if you have missed it by displaying the message “Received 2 days ago.” Reply?‘ in yellow so that it immediately grabs your attention.

The nudge feature can be turned on or off by going to settings > general tab > nudges.


Star important emails

While Gmail does suggest important emails to you (by marking them in yellow), you can always star important emails. The “Important” feature applies to the entire thread, whereas stars are used for specific messages inside a thread.

You’ll be able to see a star icon on the left side of every mail in your inbox. Just click on it, and your mail will be starred in yellow. This method has the benefit of making it simple to locate starred messages by searching your starred messages folder.

You can access your starred messages folder from the panel on the left side of your inbox. When you keep starring emails, Gmail may notice the pattern and suggest important emails themselves.

Add or delete Gmail tabs

Tabs in Gmail are categories for the different types of emails you receive. There are five tab options that Gmail provides—these are:

  • Primary
  • Social
  • Promotions
  • Updates
  • Forum

Based on your preferences, you can choose to keep or delete any of these (except for the primary one). Removing a tab will immediately move emails under that banner into your Primary tab.

Once you’ve decided which tabs you want to use, you can manage them more effectively. For instance, you can star emails to have them moved immediately to the Primary tab or transfer emails across tabs.

Here is how you can add or delete tabs in your Gmail:

  • Open your Gmail inbox and navigate to settings.
  • Make your way to the inbox section.
  • You’ll find all five options listed above, and options to tick/untick them.
  • Based on your preference, add or delete the tabs.


Enable desktop notifications

Turning on desktop notifications can be really useful if you don’t frequently check your Gmail inbox. A notification from Gmail will automatically appear while you’re working on other projects, ensuring that you don’t miss any urgent or important emails–making it a great way to organize your gmail inbox.

Desktop notifications for Gmail can be activated in the following way:

  • Head over to Settings of your inbox.
  • Under the general tab, navigate to desktop notifications.
  • Turn on your preferred desktop notifications.


As you can see from the picture above, there’s three options available to you.

  • Notifications for all new mails
  • Notifications for important mails
  • No notifications.

We would suggest you turn on notifications for important mails. This way you can avoid getting distracted by constant mail notifications that do not need your attention right away.

Automatically archive emails

For conversations that you do not need to refer to time and again, you can archive them after sending. This is especially useful when you do not want to clutter your inbox with too many email threads.

This feature archives your email messages as soon as they are sent. Here’s how to activate this feature:

  • Go to settings.
  • Under the “General” tab, find “Send & Archive”.
  • Turn it on.


Once this feature has been turned on, you’ll be getting two options while sending email messages:

  • Send
  • Send and Archive

You can select one based on your preference. If you send and archive a message that has a label, it will be sent to the designated label—rather than the archive folder. If someone responds to an email you’ve sent, the conversation thread will automatically return to your inbox.

Use smart replies

Based on the content of the email you received, the smart reply tool suggests words and phrases to use as responses.

This feature allows you to select the word or phrase you wish to use and then choose whether to transmit it verbatim or after making any necessary edits. In your Gmail settings, click the “General” tab to enable Smart Reply.


This will save you a ton of time, especially if you only need to send a brief message before lunch. Start by typing, and Google will finish for you!

Mute email threads

Sometimes you may become part of conversations that do not actually involve you. For example, your co-worker may be having a chat with your boss but you’re stuck in that thread too. The constant pings are bothersome and there’s no denying to that.

Fortunately, Gmail provides the feature to mute an entire conversation thread. When you mute a conversation, the messages stop showing up in your Gmail account. Instead, they are archived. 

To mute a conversation, do the following:

  • Open the email thread you want to mute.
  • Click on the “More” menu and select “Mute”.

You can always go back to the thread and unmute the conversation. To see the muted thread, just search “is:muted”.

Activate undo send in gmail

Undo send is a feature that lets you reverse a message you may have sent.

A spokesperson for CPS Test, talks about using the undo send to organize gmail for better efficiency.

“Sometimes you make a typo in an email or press the send button too early without writing the complete email. To get rid of this issue, Gmail has a feature called “Gmail Undo Send.” It allows you to undo your sent email for up to 30 seconds after it has been sent.

To enable this,

Go to settings -> Find “Undo Send:” under the General Tab -> Select Send cancellation period -> Save.


In the latest updated Gmail app, you can use Undo Send on the mobile device as well.

Use canned responses

Do you frequently send the same emails to numerous clients or colleagues? This could involve arranging an external or internal meeting, sending a follow-up email to request approval of a project, and much more.

To draft and answer emails with repetitive messages, you can set up canned responses.

Go to Settings, select the “Advanced” tab, and then select “Canned Responses (Templates)” to make this function available.

Unsubscribe from newsletters

The fewer emails you have in your inbox, the easier it is to organize them. So, unsubscribe to all those emails you probably never read. This is an easy way to organize Gmail.

These emails are usually promotional emails sent by brands you may have once bought from. You have even subscribed to some newsletters or social media content that does not interest you anymore.

Keep an eye out for these emails and take active steps to unsubscribe. This way, your inbox stays organized, and you can more easily keep track of the emails you actually need.

Explore Gmail add-ons and extensions

Gmail and Google Workspace add-ons and extensions are a great way to improve the functionality of your inbox and make it more organized.

Without switching to a different tab or window, add-ons and extensions enable you to access external applications through Gmail as pop-ups on the same screen.

At Keeping, we help your business improve customer service by converting your Gmail inbox into a fully featured help desk. Is that something you’re interested in? Check out this demo video on how Keeping can help your business.


Sanjana Sankhyan is a freelance writer who specializes in delivering data-driven blog posts for B2B SaaS brands. She helps businesses attract more audience and sales with her writing. If not writing, you’ll find her helping other freelancers improve their work. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Join 150+ teams that are sharing inboxes with us

The easiest way to upgrade your shared Gmail account. There’s no credit card is required.