How do I clear space in my Gmail inbox?

Clear space in my Gmail inbox
Big clear out: use search to identify massive attachments

Google is pretty generous with its free Gmail. I currently have 17GB of storage on my long-running Gmail account, but because I use Gmail as my day-to-day email address, even that is 80% full. So how do I clear space in my Gmail inbox?

Delete large messages

The easiest way to clear space in Gmail is to get shot of emails with large attachments that you no longer need. You know, those X-ray pics of Uncle Derek’s hernia operation that you were sent in 2012. That kind of thing.

Gmail doesn’t make it easy to sort your inbox by size, but there are ways to identify the space-hogging messages using Gmail search.

If you type the following into Gmail’s search box, you will see only those messages that are greater than 5MB in size:


Alternatively, you can click on this link and it will do the job for you automatically, provided you’re already signed into Gmail.

If you want to up the size to 10MB, change the command to:


There are other, less zero-filled ways to crack this nut. If you want Gmail to only show messages larger than 10MB, you can type the following:


If you want Gmail to only show messages with attachments larger than 10MB, type:

has:attachment larger:10mb

Once you’ve used the search to identify these storage-swallowing monsters, tick the box next to the messages you want to get shot of and press the delete icon (trash can) at the top.

Now click here: how do I make Google delete my data?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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