How to keep a Gmail inbox clean?

Tug Ricks September 26, 2012

I’ve used both Gmail and Outlook, and definitely prefer how easy it is to keep the inbox clean with Outlook. Is there anything similar to the scheduled clean up feature found in Outlook? That is, delete after 10 days, only keep latest email from this sender, etc.


  1. Rick
    February 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Use a Google Apps script and filters/labels to automatically delete the emails you want according to your specified time period. Same concept as, just not as user-friendly to set up: Instructions here:

  2. Calle Sweden
    October 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Isn`t it easier just deleting it your self? Because, let`s say you get a very important mail while you are on holiday in spain, and you forget to remove the auto deleting thing so it gets removed after 10 days?

    • Tug Ricks
      October 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Spain? It would be more like Boise, ID for me... :]

      That's a great point. For most emails, I have it setup to delete after 30/60 days. The only ones I have automatically deleted after 3/10 days are newsletters/etc. which seem to clog up my inbox.

  3. Justin Pot
    September 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    You can set up filters to accomplish just about anything in Gmail, including the things you outlined above. You'll find them in the settings, and their usefulness will kind of blow your mind after a while.

    To me, though, the best way to keep an inbox clean is to archive emails I no longer need. Just hit the "e" key when you're done reading and replying to an email and it will be archived.

  4. Zane Raggs
    September 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Enjoyed every bit of your post. Cool.

  5. Rody
    September 27, 2012 at 7:08 am

    You should be use outlook and access your gmail with them just configuration gmail with Outlook and all the feature work same as you wish and do with Outlook for inbox clearness .

  6. Rajaa Chowdhury
    September 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I use the GMail filter options in conjunction of color labelling the mails by the filter rules, even straightaway deleting unwanted mails. Very effective and pretty simple to define the filter rules, moreover you can even apply the newly created rules even on the existing mails and the ones you shall be receiving in the future. My inbox is now always very clean and only shows the mails which are useful for me. Color labelling as a feature is not supported in Outlook, which supports the folder concept being a email client. Login into GMail, then click on settings and then click on filters and yuou will get the option of creating your own filters. Also use the service to unsubscribe from the unwanted mailing list for which your GMail ID maybe subscribed to further cleanup your gmail inbox. Follow these two steps for a much cleaner and organised GMail inbox. :D

    • Tug Ricks
      September 27, 2012 at 4:52 am

      I actually prefer the folder setup over the labels and my messages are filtered to essentially replicate a folder type organization. Hopefully MS isn't done with Outlook and will continue to make improvement such as colors, IMAP, and better security. We shall see. Thanks for the suggestion !

  7. HLJonnalagadda
    September 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Yeah you can create labels and categorize the mail according to labels. Easier would be to just configure Gmail for Outlook.

  8. Rob Hindle
    September 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Something of the sort features fairly regularly in Google Groups gmail-labs-suggest-a-labs-feature. Why not add your voice and one day it may happen.

    Personally I delete some as soon as read and keep the rest in case I need to refer back, sometimes years later.

    Sometimes I delete something by accident or need to check again - that's OK it stays in trash folder for a month. Maybe that's your solution? Rather than mark "delete after 10 days", delete it, it will stay in trash for a month.

    Or how about set up a label for each month. Mark stuff you want to keep short-term but not long-term with this month's label. At the end of month view all with the previous month's label, select all and delete.

    • Tug Ricks
      September 27, 2012 at 4:49 am

      That's actually a good idea. I haven't done it in the past because I always seemed to delete emails only to later find out I still needed them. But with 30 days to get them back, that should be a pretty good option for most emails.

  9. JayHwon
    September 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Well if you mean Gmail to delete all message, just click All on left over inbox then delete.

    • JayHwon
      September 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      I'm not actully good at Gmail, but yeah I like it usually.

    • Tug Ricks
      September 27, 2012 at 4:49 am

      But with Outlook there's a "set it and forget it" feature which does that for me. How lazy am I when I can't be bothered to delete emails manually...

  10. GrrGrrr
    September 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    You can use Outlook email Client for ur Gmail. Then set the cleanup preferences.
    Remember to use IMAP option.

    • Ahmed Khalil
      September 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      what is outlook email client for Gmail ? from where i can get ? is it free?

      • GrrGrrr
        September 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

        If you are on XP, you can use Outlook Express which comes for free.
        If not, then you can buy Outlook.

    • Tug Ricks
      September 27, 2012 at 4:48 am

      I have Outlook, but don't really care for it, as I prefer a web interface. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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