Clear Out Your Gmail Inbox

Last Updated Aug 8, 2008 3:28 PM EDT

inboxzero.jpgIf you're one of those folks with a bunch of unread mail in your gmail account, here's a quick weekend project for you: empty it out. Here's how to do it: First, filter your inbox so that all you see are your unread messages. Phillip Lenssen, author of Google App Hacks, explains both how to do this (and how to create a quick link button for the future) in this LifeHacker post:

Click on Settings on top and switch to the Labs tab. Check the "Enable" box next to Quick Links. Approve by hitting Save Changes at the bottom. Now search Gmail for in:inbox is:unread (without the square brackets) and in the Quick Links box appearing to the left side, click Add Quick Link. Enter "Unread" for the title and approve the dialog. Next time you want to see all your unread mails in one go, just click the Unread link to the left!

If you're like me, you'll see that many of your unread messages are spam or bacn, many of the rest refer to matters you've already taken care of, and the final few (and most important) are about important stuff that you put off and promptly forgot about.

Once you're viewing your first 20 unread emails, hit "select all." Star any of them that fall into that last category and then go to "more actions" button on the right and click on "mark as read." Keep repeating until your inbox is empty. You're almost done. Then all you have to do is type "in:inbox is:starred" into your gmail search box and actually reply to the folks who deserve a response.

With almost 300 unread emails to deal with, this process took me less than an hour.