Easy ways to free up storage space in Google or Gmail

Aug 22, 2021, 5:00 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

I lost count of how many emails I got when Google announced a change to its storage policies, doing away with unlimited storage for photos and videos.

Still trying to figure out a better long-term photo management solution? I can help. Tap or click to see all the free storage you can get. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you’re in luck.

Or maybe you only rely on Google’s services for search and email. Tap or click for 10 buried settings and features in your inbox. My favorite is Undo Send.

If your Google storage is full, or nearly full, photos might be the culprit. But you might be surprised to find out how much space emails and attachments take up.

Years and years of files

If you’re like me, you’ve had the same email account for years. Heck, your Gmail might even date back to 2004 when you had to get an invite to the beta version.

Want to be shocked? You can see your old chat logs going back years. Tap or click to see yours and clear them out.

Now think about all the emails you have saved — or just archived to clear your inbox. Sure, you delete spam and junk, but what an email from a friend from years ago? I bet it’s still hanging around.

Plain-text emails are one thing attachments you really don’t need anymore can eat up a ton of space. Let’s clear them out.

3 ways to clear space in your Google account

Finding and deleting attachments is step one. Doing this task manually isn’t going to cut it. That would take forever. Here’s a simple, fast way to track down big files.

● Open your Gmail account in a browser. In the Search box, type has:attachment larger:10M and hit enter. You can sub in whatever size you prefer.

● You can filter further using the buttons under the search bar.

● Open each email individually, or mark the checkboxes next to each email you want to trash, then hit the trash can icon.

You can open up even more space by permanently deleting emails sitting in your spam folder. To do so:

● In the left-hand menu, click Spam. If you don’t see Spam, click More.

● At the top, click Delete all spam messages now. You can also open an individual email, then click Delete forever.

What about Google Drive? If you have years of docs, spreadsheets and other files saved, give those a cleanup as well.

● Open your Google Drive by going to on a computer.

● In the left-hand menu, click Storage.

● This will bring up a list of all your files, sorted largest to smallest. If the smallest appear at the top, hit Storage used to filter.

● To remove a file, right click and choose Remove.

● Tip: Be sure to download or make a backup elsewhere if this is a file you might need down the road.

Within 24 hours, deleted items will show in the available space in your Google Drive account.

Here’s one more simple step you can take. The Files by Google app helps you find all the junk files eating up space. It’s an easy way to delete memes, screenshots, and blurry shots. Tap or click here for step-by-step instructions.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Easy ways to free up storage space in Google or Gmail