Buried In Emails? Shrink Your Massive Inbox To Zero With Mailstrom

Ryan Dube 05-06-2014

Hello. My name is Ryan Dube and I am an Inbox hoarder.  I’ve decided that my project this week, and for this article, will be to conquer my email Inbox issues using the email management service known as Mailstrom.


I’m not kidding about inbox issues. My Yahoo email account has over 13,000 emails. Gmail has over 10,000. As part of this article, my goal was to see if I could start chopping a few thousand emails off of that 10,000 Gmail account. If effective, I would probably sign up for a full account with Mailstrom.

Upon first signing up for a free account with Mailstrom, I discovered the limit trial was just under 1500 email deletions for free. After others at MUO tested the software, we determined that the trial deletions are dependent upon how many total messages you have in your inbox. As you test the service, there will be an option to continue extending the free deletions up to over just over a third of your inbox, after which you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan to clean up the rest. This test period was plenty to test how effective the Mailstrom system is at cleaning up a massively cluttered inbox.

We’ve offered a number of solutions through the years to manage your Gmail account Regain Control Over Your Inbox With These 5 Tips For Managing Gmail Everyone knows that these days, it's pretty difficult to survive or to manage your affairs without email. In fact, most people have two or three emails to manage, so without a good handle on email... Read More and to clean up a cluttered inbox How To Make Your Email Message Stand Out In A Cluttered Inbox Have you ever sent an email you felt was important only to be answered many days later, or worse forgotten about? Granted, sometimes it’s out of your control, but there are things you can do... Read More , using different solutions like MailMat MailMate: The Smart Solution for Getting Your Inbox to Zero Your mail client should work for you, not against you. If your mailbox is cluttered with unread and unfiltered messages, you need to check out the IMAP mail client, MailMate. Read More e or Gmail’s own unsubscribe button Keep A Cleaner Inbox As Gmail Gets One-Click Unsubscribe Button A prominent "unsubscribe" link at the top of an email is the small but user-friendly change that should be coming to all Gmail accounts soon. Read More . All of these solutions are fantastic, but nothing is more convenient than a central online solution like Mailstrom.

Cleaning Up Your Inbox

For many people, the reason for not tidying up the inbox is lack of time. Mailstrom’s slogan is simply, “Clean Up Your Inbox Now”. They literally mean now.

Before you can get started right now, you have to sign up for an account. Mailstrom is especially effective with Gmail accounts and Windows Live accounts, but didn’t work when I tried it with Yahoo. The system said that Yahoo was only temporarily not available. Testing with Gmail worked immediately, and the system instantly started sifting through the account.


Time is the key behind making inbox organization. Scrolling down through 10,000 individual emails to find the ones that you can delete will just never do when things have gotten that far out of hand.  Instead, Mailstrom identifies and sorts your email into various categories like Sending, Subject, whether you can Unsubscribe, whether it’s from a shopping merchant or anyone else.


The point of this is to give you very big blocks of emails that you can manage all at once, rather than one at a time. The Sender category instantly revealed one of my biggest culprits — daily subscriptions to Google Alerts which weren’t being properly filtered to another folder that could be cleaned up at regular intervals. Instead they were all cluttering the inbox.

You’ll discover all kinds of opportunities like this using Mailstrom. It’ll let you identify and wipe out or better organize hundreds to thousands of emails in seconds.


Deciding What to Do With Your Email

When you click on an individual email, Mailstrom provides you with several options, including moving them to a more descriptive folder (and out of your inbox), deleting, archiving, moving to the Spam folder, or “Chill”.

Chill is a cool feature where you can force the email to be re-delivered at a later time when you know you’ll be better prepared to deal with it.

If you’re having space issues with your email account, you can go right to the “Size” category and instantly find the biggest culprits – those emails in the “Extra Large” and “Jumbo” categories.

Don’t worry about losing important emails — instead of losing those critical ones that you come across with Mailstrom, just click on the “Move” button and organize them into an “Important” folder that you can deal with later, instead of letting those emails get buried underneath a cluttered inbox.



Using Mailstrom Categories

The reason Mailstrom is effective at helping you clean up huge collections of email is because it helps you group up those cluttered emails How To Make Your Email Message Stand Out In A Cluttered Inbox Have you ever sent an email you felt was important only to be answered many days later, or worse forgotten about? Granted, sometimes it’s out of your control, but there are things you can do... Read More into blocks that you can organize or delete all at once. Some collections are more useful than others depending how you use your email most of the time.

For example, if you’re a shopaholic 6 Creative Ways to Give Money as a Gift Online Sending cash money as a gift isn't creative. These thoughtful money-gifting methods will put a smile on your loved one's face. Read More and you’ve signed up for all kinds of shopping deal newsletters or alerts through the years, the odds are pretty good that the “Shopping” category will help you out a lot.



If you’re a social media addict and you’ve enabled email alerts in all of your social accounts, then you can just imagine how much the “Social” category will help you clean things up.

If you are at your wits end, and you just want to wipe out everything that’s older than a certain date, then the “time” category is where you’ll want to get started. At the very least, it’ll show you where the bulk of your emails exist so that you can tackle some of those older ones that are probably of no use to you anymore.


Unsubscribing from Email

This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to not only clean up the existing mess in your inbox but also to unsubscribe from those you’ve subscribed to. To see those, just click on the “Unsubscribe” category.


Mailstrom is able to identify those incoming emails that you’ve subscribed to, and it offers a feature to unsubscribe for you – or at the very least it’ll send you to the website where you can unsubscribe. Just select the email and click the “Unsubscribe” button.

You have the option to either unsubscribe only, or unsubscribe and delete the email as well.


Making Progress and Additional Features

As you fly your way through cleaning up your email inbox, you’ll see a progress bar at the lower part of the left navigation menu. This area shows how many messages you’ve cleaned out of your inbox today, how many new messages you received, and a percentage representing how much you’ve accomplished already.


It’s very motivating to see the inbox contents drop so rapidly, and it’s satisfying to see just how clean a normal inbox can be. Thankfully with Mailstrom, it’s not as difficult as it could be. The irrational fear that something important might get lost is replaced with a very uplifting revelation that your inbox is never going to be cluttered again.

Paid Features in Mailstrom

You can actually use Mailstrom for free to delete up to 4,000 email messages from your inbox. If you don’t have a huge mess to deal with, this might be enough. However, if you have a mountain of emails to get through like I do, or you want to have a system like Mailstrom to help you maintain the cleanliness of your inbox, then the cheap $49.95 per year full subscriber plan may be worth it. A full subscription lets you manage 10 addresses rather than just 3, and it includes up to 200 automatic rules for managing incoming emails.


If you have a crazy volume of emails every day, automatic rules for keeping the inbox clean can go a long way toward maintaining your inbox and your sanity. And since those rules apply to the categories defined in Mailstrom, it provides you with functionality beyond the filtering How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Here's how to filter emails in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook so you can better organize your inbox and stay productive. Read More provided inside of email services like Gmail itself.

As you can see, organizing your impossibly cluttered inbox doesn’t have to be an impossible task — or even very painful for that matter. Given that email is one of the most commonly used productivity tools on the planet, keeping your inbox smoothly running and effective is one of the easiest ways to also keep yourself as productive as possible.

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. Beth
    March 27, 2015 at 10:40 am

    What happens to my gmail account? Can I still see gmail as normal if I download mailstrom, and go back to using gmail instantly if I don't like mailstom? Silly question, maybe, but important to me!

  2. switchblade
    July 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I hope you offer this in MUO Rewards(The Annual Subscription). Looks neat :)

  3. Susan C
    June 27, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Well, I think it's a great idea and plan on utilizing it. I think the reason my email has so many messages (around 28,000 in yahoo) is because I don't read them all when I come in. I just look at the ones I want to see and leave the rest for IF I have time and want to go back and read them. I never did get filters set up. I used to go in and delete by sender a full page at a time, but that took forever and wasn't very effective. Having so many emails makes me feel like, uh oh, I can't let this go on forever, I've got to do something about it. So if this program will sort them out for me and give me options for what to do with them and then do it, I think it would be very good to have it.

  4. RD
    June 10, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Had mailstrom and used it while it was free. It was nice, but not nice enough that I would ever consider paying for it. As soon as they notified us that our free service was going to cost I canceled my account.

  5. alina
    June 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I use mailstrom and love it. I can group and delete through thunderbird but then it lags while deleting. This on the other hand is quick and immediate. It has made my life easier

  6. Bud
    June 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the reply! Sorry for my criticisms, but whatever may float your boat, sinks mine. :(((

  7. Bud
    June 7, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Thought this article might have a reference to using it with my Mac, but alas, too many recommendations/suggestions about...... and for using various computer softwares are a waste of time, such as IS this article. My ISP allows me to delete accumulating junk mail/old read emails without a hassles and for free, so why use another piece of "bloat software ?"

    Sorry, but I sometimes wonder if these articles are well-thought out, instead of suggesting something that isn't necessary for my home users, eh ?

    Maybe fine for internet techies, but NOT for the majority of non-teachie home users.........

    I must learn to not reply to articles that are of zero use for me, thus wasting my time here. :(((

    • Ryan D
      June 7, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Ah yes, sorry they don't offer a Mac solution Bud.

  8. Richardatkinsonuk
    June 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    As there are so many websites out there that can keep us up to date with those subjects we are interested in. Rather than me hunting all those sites to get updates, I use two methods: outlook and Blogtrottr. Outlook lets me creates rules so that any newsletters go into my newsletter folder, and Blogtrottr allows me to get RSS feeds sent direct into my Outlook: again using the rules to have them go to the newsletter folder.

    • Ryan D
      June 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      That's a cool solution for funneling RSS feeds & newsletters to one central place to read - thanks for sharing!

  9. Tom D
    June 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Not sure why I would use this. When I was in the corporate world and used Outlook, I reviewed my inbox and other folders about every 3 months. If i hadn't looked at it in 3 months, I figured it was useless and deleted it. Do a similar thing with gmail except its archived instead of deleted and I do it more frequently, about once per month. But as someone else said, with the amount of storage gmail provides, my guess is that for most people it really doesn't matter about how big the inbox becomes.
    I use some filters and use a lot of labels and those allow me to keep the inbox at a reasonable level.

    • Ryan D
      June 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks Tom. To be honest, I think maybe a solution like this is for people who aren't quite as disciplined as you. You're able to get yourself to remember to go in every 1-3 months and do that cleanup. Mailstrom is sort of a solution meant to make that task less time-consuming so that doing it doesn't seem like such a chore. I do agree with you that creating good filters in the first place is definitely the best solution over the long-term.

  10. R
    June 7, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I use mail washer pro

  11. Antonio N
    June 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I don't know if I would ever use this but something does need to be done about mailboxes... At work there are tons of people that have a huge amount of inboxes full of useless junk..
    I use rules to filter my messages so that my inbox stays clean. but even that accumulates junk as well.

    • Ryan D
      June 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      One solution I've seen put in practice at some companies is a time-limit on email retention. If users keep an email in their inbox beyond 6 months, they automatically get deleted. Seems a bit draconian, but I guess when you're talking about storing that much useless data just because people aren't willing to take the time to clean up their inbox, it's an appropriate solution.

  12. mary
    June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    how about Outlook? is there one that works with that program???

  13. Utomo
    June 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    How about email on outlook and Thunderbird desktop?
    I hope there is solutions too

  14. Vanessa
    June 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

    By the time it takes to read this article, sign up for an account and configure all the options I could have deleted 1000s of emails myself. For free.

    • Ryan Dube
      June 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Yes, but then you'd have to spend the same amount of time deleting 1000 the next time again, rather than this system cutting that to a quarter of the time it normally takes. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results... Sometimes improving requires taking the time to make a change.

  15. badc0de
    June 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    And what's so great about deleting old mails? I mean, great would be never receive more junk or get it delete after some days or something like that. I have 36,000 and just 3.64GB used of a total 15GB. Where's the problem? I really don't see much benefit in another company viewing my mails just for the sake of it.

    In fact, I made my own filters to put all that shit away the moment it comes to my Inbox. A complete xml with all typical filters . That would be truly something. Free, faster, more secure, customizable...

    • Ryan D
      June 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Wow - you have 36,000 old emails piled up in your inbox??