Deleting old useless junk from your Gmail account

I’ve been using Gmail since 2004. What this means is I have 6 years worth of e-mail stored in it, never deleting anything including videos, powerpoint presentations, sound clips, etc.. And what this means is I had 4.5GB of data stored. I have at the moment 7437MB I can use to store stuff on Gmail, so 4.5 gigs doesn’t look like a problem..but it is, and here’s why.

Recently I’ve been trying a couple of alternatives to OS X’s Mail.app, tried Postbox and really liked it so I might consider getting it in the  future. Like with any mail client you install one must first configure it to access your e-mail account and nowadays the most flexible way to do it is through IMAP, which Gmail supports.

Now, imagine the client you’re currently testing having to download 4.5GB worth of e-mails or even just the headers. Not good, huh? I know there must be an option somewhere to disable this but that’s not the point, I like having all my e-mails stored locally so I can access them whenever I want and like a friend said someday we might end up not having a good relationship with Google and it wouldn’t do being them having all our e-mail from the past 6 years stored. The point is I want all that e-mail stored locally and even possibly backed up somewhere physical near me.

Then it hit me. I had like a gazillion and one e-mails of worthless powerpoints with flowers and inspirational catch phrases, videos of people doing dumb stuff, sound clips some friends send me some times of their music, etc. Just how much disc space was all this worth? 3.4GB apparently. Since I deleted all that useless junk in a couple of minutes.

How can you delete it all in just a few minutes you ask? Pretty simple. Just add the following code to your Gmail search bar and have the files with those extensions neatly displayed for your delete hammer pleasure.

has:attachment (*.wmv || *.mov || *.mpg || *.mpeg || *.mp3 || *.ppt || *.pps)

Feel free to add whatever extensions you want, I have most likely forgot a couple of them that are extremely delete hammer worthy but even so I ended up 1.1GB of downloadable e-mails that aren’t packed with useless stuff, not as much as it was in any case. In time I will remember a few more items I don’t really want to have stored in Gmail and delete them as well. After this is done, just head on to your trash folder and empty it and voila! Look at all the stuff you don’t have to download next time you change mail client or reinstall it. Awesome, right?

I do recommend, of course, that you at least take a quick peek at the e-mails’ you’re deleting subjects just in case you end up deleting something you don’t want.