Let filters do the work
Managing an inbox is no easy task, but Gmail has tools to help. You can turn any search into a filter that can then be actioned: search for emails “from:Facebook”, for example, then create a filter to mark these messages as read and archive them (assuming you don’t want to know what’s happening on Facebook, of course). Or build a filter to match the email addresses of your nearest and dearest, then mark these messages as important to ensure you never miss an email from your better half. Filters can promote important messages and downgrade the clutter before you’ve even logged in.
Make the most of search
You would expect a Google product to excel in search. It’s not always obvious, but the Gmail search box has more flexibility than you might think—click the drop-down arrow to the right to see all the options on offer. Look for emails with attachments, then delete these messages if you want to free up some room in your account perhaps. Or, if you’re searching for an email from a particular sender, streamline the search with a “TK:TK” command.
If you have a particular search query—emails from your birthday last year, the year before, or any year, say—you can dig them up and relive the moment. Of course, how well this works depends on how many emails you received from friends and family to mark the occasion, and how many were auto-generated greetings from the forums and mailing lists you’ve signed up for.