You get 15GB of free storage with a Gmail account, and in the early years it seems impossible to fill up that much space. But after a decade of saving messages just because—whether it be receipts, family vacation-planning threads, coupon codes for a store you never shop at, love letters, you name it—you’ll find yourself nearing that cap. The time has come to delete.
I set up my Gmail account in 2007, and let’s just say I have not been diligent about keep it organized. I try to unsubscribe from lists when things get too unwieldy, but actually cleaning out almost 15 years of emails is daunting.
Fortunately, you can mass delete Gmail messages without having to select each one manually, and it’s actually pretty easy. In the top search bar, type: Label:all mail and press enter. Options will appear directly below the search bar, including the ability to choose emails from a specific sender, a certain time frame, or messages that include attachments. I have a bad habit of subscribing to newsletters that I then let accumulate without ever opening, so I usually use the specific sender method of mass-deleting, but I forget that attachments can take up a ridiculous amount of space (chain emails from 2008, we hardly knew ye).
Once you’ve selected your filter method, click to check the box in the top left above the list of messages to select all. If you want to delete more than the 50 messages displayed on the page, click Select all conversations that match this search. Then click the trash icon.
In case you change your mind, Gmail retains all trashed emails for 30 days by default. You can always hop into your trash to immediately delete those emails forever—simply click the check box on the top left of your Trash folder, and click Select all conversations that match this search. Then click Delete forever. RIP.