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What to do if your Gmail inbox overflows

June 16, 2014 09:40 IST

What to do if your Gmail inbox overflows

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Abhik Sen

Many of us in India had our first brush with email during the final years of the last century.

Back then, a 2-4MB mailbox was the de facto standard and one would be deleting one’s mails weekly (at least I used to) so one wouldn’t exceed the storage limit.

Then Gmail happened in 2004, and the rest, as they say, is history.

It is this same history that has come back to haunt long-time users of this service -- the history of their email interactions, at least.

When Gmail launched (as an invite-only service) on April 1, 2004, with a gigantic 1GB mailbox, most of us thought it was an All Fools’ Day prank.

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Image: An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop.
Photographs: Kacper Pempel /Reuters

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About three months later I, too, received an invitation, and the first thought that came to mind was “Wow! I’ll never ever have to delete my emails again!”

A thought I’ve come to regret some 10 years later.

Faced with the prospect of mails bouncing from my primary email account (I had used up 99 per cent of the 15GB available across Google services), the last few weeks have been stressful, but there are ways to save oneself from the stress, if one follows a few simple rules.

Delete: The worst fallout of Gmail’s massive storage capacity has been our unwillingness to delete anything from our inboxes.

Ever.

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Image: The worst fallout of Gmail's massive storage capacity has been our unwillingness to delete anything from our inboxes.

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What to do if your Gmail inbox overflows

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Therefore, delete every email you don’t need as soon as you come across it.

Also, delete unnecessary mails from the sent folder.

It helps if you stop those unnecessary notifications as well

Sync: Synchronise your mail with a desktop mail client and delete all mails after downloading them.

If you want to save heavy attachments, it makes sense to save them on a computer and then maybe upload them to a dedicated cloud service, rather than fill up your Google Drive

Forward: Yes, you can configure your Gmail to forward a message to another of your email addresses and delete the message on the server.

What’s more, you can create a filter to forward those specific mails.

For example, all my Facebook notifications are being forwarded to an email address I created specifically for this purpose

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Image: Delete every email you don't need as soon as you come across it.
Photographs: Reuters
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Migrate or modify: Picasa might be your favourite image editing programme, but it makes no sense to upload the photos on to that service as well -- it eats up your Google space.

Why not use an alternate cloud photo service such as Flickr (with 1TB of free space) to store your photos?  

Back up: Yes, there are tools you can use to back up emails stored on your Gmail.

For example, Gmail Backup is a nifty little tool that allows you to back up mails by time period (say October 5, 2009-September 6, 2012) to a folder of your choice.

A pity it can’t delete the backed up emails as well.

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Image: Gmail Backup is a nifty little tool that allows you to back up mails by time period (say October 5, 2009-September 6, 2012) to a folder of your choice.
Photographs: Reuters

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Pay up: If all else fails, whip out the plastic and pay Sergey and Larry $1.99 a month to get access to 100GB of storage space

What I did: I was desperate, so I first deleted mails and when that didn’t help, paid up for a month.

Then I set up a forwarding address for notifications, and now, delete all unnecessary emails.

Soon I’ll have a spic and span mailbox.

What about you?


Image: One can pay Sergey and Larry $1.99 a month to get access to 100GB of storage space.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Larry , Sergey

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