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Part II: How to tame your Gmail
Getting rid of 50 GBs of e-mail isn't easy
In our last installment, we talked about what to do if Google turned on you and refused to let you use its services anymore. Where would you go? What would you do? Would you, gasp, start paying for e-mail?
I contend that you already do pay for e-mail, whether you know it or not, in terms of monthly storage fees, and that you will definitely be paying much more as the years go on.
In 15 years, I have somehow amassed over 48 gigabytes of Gmail, a non-stop collection of updates, notifications, newsletter installments, story pitches, photo assignments, contracts, invoices and the like, with photos, videos, songs, PDFs, docs and more attached.
If you’re like me, you try to delete as often as you can, but you can’t keep up. So they grow, like a cancer and spread.
Every day Apple nags me that I’ve run out of room on iCloud to store photos, and that’s okay. I have multiple hard drives to take care of them.
But when Google writes you and says you’re “dangerously” running close to the storage limit, you pay attention. Because once you hit the magic number, you won’t be able to read or respond to all those daily e-mails. And who wants that?
So what to do? Go on a deleting binge?
That’s one method, but you won’t get very far. Google is very oblique in exactly where the storage is used. The company gives you 15 Gigabytes of free storage, which isn’t much help, because Google Photos and Google Docs/Drive are also included with the 15 GBs.
Put an afternoon’s worth of high-res photos and videos on Google Photos, store a few docs and generate a lot of e-mail, and you could run out very soon.
The best place to start to tame your inbox is not by deleting like crazy. As annoying as all those newsletters (present company excluded, right?) and notifications are, deleting as many as possible won’t help much.
I was able to whack my 48 GB of storage down to 47.9 GB when I killed as many CNN newsletters, Amazon.com notifications and the like. And I had thousands of them.
The biggest culprit are those attachments. All those photos and videos. That’s where the storage is.
Google charges $1.99 monthly for 100 GB, $2.99 for 200 GB and $9.99 monthly for 2 TB, or 2,000 GB, as part of the Google One cloud service, which includes Gmail, Google Drive and Photos.
If you’re paying customer, you get to go to the Google One website, where the company does a better job of showing you where your storage is. I recommend stopping here first.
It showed me that I’ve got 10 GB of photos and other attachments lurking within Gmail.
On the other hand, it also claimed that I could clear 1.8 TB in total, including everything that I store on Google Drive—which is there on purpose, and 767 MB worth of videos that I like having on Google Photos.
As for the big photos and other attachments, the tool lets you see what you have in an easier, more logical manner than just typing “has:attachment larger:10M” into the Gmail search box, and looking one by one.
But here’s a big tip: once you delete from Google One, it won’t make one difference in your Gmail. It won’t show any difference.
You need to go to the BIN section of your Gmail, which is way down low, under MORE and just below SPAM, and clear the Bin. Only then will Google accept that you’ve made some room.
As for myself, I was able to get my 48 GB of e-mails down to 44.82, enough to get Google off my back. I also deleted video files from Google Photos, going from 15 GBs to 4.71 GB there, which bought me some breathing room. And I deleted a bunch of stuff in Google Drive that didn’t need to be there.
I told you yesterday about Gmail alternatives, and I sure wish I could switch. But after 15 years of having the same e-mail address, where everyone knows how to find me? I wish.
One of these days, when I have a a year or two to get back to the process of deleting old e-mails from my Gmail inbox, I’ll jump back in. Or just give up, and pay the company more money. With a huge grudge.
Other tips on taming your Gmail:
The Incredible Islands of L.A.!
Last weekend I told you about this magical island in British Columbia with no Amazon, mail service, visible police force, retail stores or restaurants. And the response was overwhelming. So many of you want to go there. And you should definitely put Savary Island on the list for next summer.
Meanwhile, did you know that California has over 500 islands? Two of the best, and most notable are easy to get to from Southern California and worth visiting anytime.
Come join me on Catalina Island (just 26 miles off the L.A. coastline) and Balboa Island, a short ferry ride from Newport Beach.
But regarding those 500 islands (per Wikipedia) in the Golden State, I bet you’d have a hard time naming ten of them. I’ll make it easy—besides Catalina and Balboa, there’s Coronado near San Diego, the Channel Islands near Ventura, San Francisco’s most famous island—Alcatraz, as well as two other gems, Angel and Treasure Island. And there are several near Eureka.
I’m on an island kick, so I plan on producing PhotowalksTV episodes soon from Angel and Treasure and would love to get San Diego’s beach cities and Coronado under my belt before the year is up. Which one should I go to first gang?
P.S.: The Catalina/Balboa episode is a classic from the archive that’s been updated, with a fresh re-edit and new music from the talented Jez Graham and Paul Ellis.
Thanks for reading, watching and listening! Have a great week everyone!