Your Entire Life Is on Gmail. It’s Time to Clean That Up.

Don’t suffer like I’ve suffered

Angela Lashbrook
Debugger
Published in
8 min readOct 16, 2020

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Photo: Jay Wennington/Unsplash

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…

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Angela Lashbrook
Debugger

I’m a columnist for OneZero, where I write about the intersection of health & tech. Also seen at Elemental, The Atlantic, VICE, and Vox. Brooklyn, NY.