Gmail archive clean-up. Difficulty level: Gmail account = 10+ years old.
February 12, 2016 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I just used the free service to unsubscribe from a ton of newsletters and clean up my inbox. It was awesome, but it's only for subscribed newsletters. I want to clean All Of The Email, not just Inbox email, and for the most part delete it. What else can I use to spring-clean my archive?

I checked out Sanebox but it's too.... automated. I want a one-time cleanup for my email, not a service that will manage it for me on a daily basis. I looked at this article, which would probably work except my email account is over 10 years old and this manual process would take me days.

Also, I'm not sure if actually was able to "see" the emails in my archive. When SaneBot scanned my emails, it scanned over 85,000 emails and only detected 100 or so newsletters. So, I'm not even sure it captured all of them.

Is there a service that can do this? I'm Googling but I can't find much.
posted by onecircleaday to Technology (7 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:48 AM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on how aggressive you're being Gmail's own search tool can be your ally. If there are a few common addresses or words that most of the stuff you're trying to get rid of contains you can search for that and then use the select all feature to delete everything en masse, at the risk of possibly catching some stuff that you didn't mean to lose. (For example a very indiscriminate way would be to search "unsubscribe" which is a word you don't use much in normal email correspondence and delete any email that contains that word.)

Also for future reference a trick you can use is to take advantage of the fact that Gmail doesn't actually care about periods (aka full stops aka dots) in email addresses. Sally.Smith@gmail is the same as SallySmith@gmail BUT you can use this formatting to limit search. So when you sign up for any newsletter or similar thing you might later decide to purge you could add a period into your address, thus later making it easy to search only for emails being sent to that formatting of the address.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:55 AM on February 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

Hmm. I tried Mailtrom, but my inbox only has 1 email in it : )

Is there a way to move all "Archived" email into the Inbox so Mailstrom can clean it up?
posted by onecircleaday at 12:32 PM on February 12, 2016

Technically, yes. Go to all mail (left side menu), then select all messages, then move to inbox.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:36 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you Wretch729. I've been using Gmail's Inbox since it was in beta and completely forgot how to use the old Gmail : D
posted by onecircleaday at 12:37 PM on February 12, 2016

Honest question; why "clean up" at all? If you're not near your Gmail storage limit, it's pretty harmless to just leave all the mail sitting there.

You can do a pretty good job cleaning up specific kinds of mail with a search. Search for something like "". Then check the box in upper left (to the left of the Archive button). Then click the link "Select all conversations that match this search". That will select every single email going way back that matched your search. You can then Delete, or Archive, or whatever. You want to be careful of course, either craft queries carefully using from: searches, etc or else manually review all the selected email.
posted by Nelson at 3:37 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I guess I just wanted to clean it all up completely without having to change my email address. I've tried fixing it manually, and as I can see with Mailstrom, the reason why it's been ineffective is because I have lots of email addresses from the same sender, so I never catch all of them. Not even most of them. Actually, Mailstrom makes it quite easy. I started with 65,000 emails, and I'm down to 25,000 since the start of this post. That's being very discriminating and checking them (in bulk, of course!).

I highly recommend them... I ran into one issue and tech support responded, with a fix, in 15 minutes.
posted by onecircleaday at 4:20 PM on February 12, 2016

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