Your Entire Life Is on Gmail. It’s Time to Clean That Up.
Wednesday, 2 p.m. Eastern Time: I am on hour 9,000 of deleting emails from my overloaded Gmail account. My eyeballs are leaking out of my head and pooling in a sticky puddle on my laptop’s mouse pad.
Or it feels like it, anyway.
In recent weeks, Google has sent me repeated warnings that I’m approaching my Google Drive storage limit. I had rarely considered that Google would limit my storage capacity; the company’s potential for data collection seems infinite, incapable of being incapacitated or overburdened. And yet my email account, which I’ve had since 2014, is finally tired of holding my endless stream of newsletters and press releases; the 15 gigabytes that Google allots free users is nearly full.
I’d hoped to write this story with a title along the lines of “One Simple Trick To Clearing Out Your Google Drive Storage.” Deleting every last email in your inbox and starting fresh would be ideal, but there’s such a wild mix of correspondence stored there — chain emails from your second cousin, newsletters from companies you bought a sweater from once, love letters from the early days of a current relationship — that the nuke-and-run method isn’t recommended or possible for anyone but those who lack even a drop of sentimentality.
For everyone else, there’s no one trick to clearing out your Google Suite. There are strategies, which I will get into below, but the best thing you can do, I have unfortunately discovered, is keeping tidy as you go. And that means deleting all the emails you don’t need as you receive them so you don’t get caught up in the mess I spent the last several days cleaning up.
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Over the course of the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with various methods of deleting my emails and documents. It was a painful experience: Reading old emails that detailed difficult situations and brought up bitter memories was not how I would prefer to spend my workday (or my time off)…