It is impossible these days to keep up with the incessant barrage of spam and automated emails. At some point, I start overlooking emails that matter, and this prompts me to do a wholesale cleanup.
My employer uses Outlook, and I believe I have around 7,000 unread emails. This is primarily due to automated emails from products that constantly send error messages or status updates. The easiest way to groom this debris field is to sort by sender, select the entire group, and delete it. This works for spam as well and can provide some quick wins. I do not spend much time organizing my inbox with folders, etc., so this method is the most efficient for me when I see that my unread items are approaching 10,000.
There is no option to sort by the sender on Gmail, and the inbox is presented in chunks of only 50 messages. Here are a couple of strategies:
Search Method 1
- use the search bar to search for the sender manually
- review the results to make sure it is specific enough
- select all by using the checkbox at the top left
- click the link to include all conversations
- Hit the delete icon
Search Method 2
Sometimes the search is too generic or matches too many times when you may have forwarded an email that started a conversation you might want to recover someday. When I first ran my search for Boston Globe, I found many emails that were not just automated ones.
- View one of the emails you want to delete en masse.
- Click the more ellipsis and choose “filter messages like these.”
- Review that resulting search, include all, delete
This approach is not a “strategy” for managing email but helps clear the clutter quickly and easily.