If you’re like me and use Gmail – and your Gmail box has gotten completely out of control with UNREAD MESSAGES – here’s one way to address this and how I took my unread messages in my Inbox from 40,662 messages down to 14,976 in less than 20 minutes.

My Problem: I have thousands of UNREAD MESSAGES from more than 2 years ago still in my INBOX. These are NOT important messages, which I do open promptly.

The majority of them are newsletters and “notifications” (i.e. WordPress updates, Facebook notifications, Instagram notifications, Linkedin notifications, bank statements notifications  “now available online,” e-newsletters, shopping-related offers (Staples: ugh!), coupons, etc.).

How Did This Happen: Don’t ask, please!

Objective: Delete all of these old, useless, never to be read messages. They clearly are not important and if they were they would not be UNREAD. I’m very disciplined about opening my important email. The rest of it, not so much.

Sidenote: Google Gmail gives me all kinds of space, and it would last me the rest of my life, no doubt, but I still have decided to clean up my email box.

Here’s how I did it and you can too!

In Gmail go to the search bar (top of Gmail) and type in the following search:

older_than:2y is:unread
This will return all unread messages older than 2 years old.
Then SELECT all of those messages using the small square box at the top left.
You’ll now see the first screen full of messages and at the top probably see a prompt that says “Select all conversations that match this search.” Click this option.
Depending on how many messages you have it might take a few moments to perform the delete.
You can change the number of years to look back just by changing the query.
1 year: older_than:2y is:unread
5 years: older_than:5y is:unread
Final Note: Even though I used the “Select all conversations that match this search” option it clearly DID NOT select all of the messages that matched my query. This is probably because of the number of unread messages that matched the query. The solution was just to repeat the process a few times.


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