Google Gmail is one of the most used email providers available for free. And with that lovely $0.00 price tag, every Gmail user gets a hefty 15 GB of storage, which is, admittedly, shared between Google’s other services like Google Photos and Google Drive. It’s hard to imagine reaching that limit even if you strictly use your email and, quite frankly, you probably never will. However, for those who actively use their Gmail account for, say, business and are constantly sending emails with attachments, that 15 GB limit might be within reach.

When you find yourself reaching that cap, you might be tempted to start up another email account. Don’t. It may seem like your only option is to thumb through your emails for the biggest ones, but you don’t have to. Instead, use Gmail’s own search function to sort out the messages by size. This feature can greatly speed up the search for those hard hitting emails to your storage limit.

And no, you won’t have to delete them one by one. In fact, once you’ve sorted your Gmail to place the largest ones first, you can then use Gmail’s own mass delete to quickly clear out your Gmail inbox. So, let’s get started.

Sorting Your Gmail Messages by Size

Your inbox is flooded with emails every day, especially when you use it as a work email. Trying to locate a specific email by way of thumbing through them one by one is tedious, time consuming and, quite frankly, a useless endeavor.

Gmail introduced a function quite some time ago that allowed its users to search for specific emails–a tag, a name, a keyword, and, yes, even specific email addresses. But, more importantly, there’s special parameters you can use–special keywords that tell Gmail to look for specific details, like an algorithm–to sort your Gmail messages. The parameters you’re going to use are going to tell Gmail to provide emails of specific sizes.

Here’s what you do:

1. Locate and launch your preferred web browser, however, please you a safe and secure network connection because your personal information is important. If you are using a public network connection – please wait until you are home.

2. Head on over to Google Gmail’s homepage and log into Gmail, if you aren’t already logged in.

Click Search mail

3. Now, let’s run a parameter for the sake of a test. Click Search mail at the top. Then type into the empty field “size:5MB” (without quotations) and hit the Enter key. Any and all emails that reach 5MB and above will show up, if you have any.

Now let’s specify your search even further.

click Search mail again

4. Go back and click Search mail again, but this time type into the box “larger_than:1MB smaller_than:5MB” (without quotations) and hit the Enter key again. What that will do is present you with a list of emails that are 1MB to 5MB, but no more than 5MB, which is the limit in that specific parameter. You won’t see, say, an email that’s 10MB.

The parameters “larger_than:” and “smaller_than:” don’t have to be present in the search. You can use them separately, which can be of great help when you want to purge any and all emails of a specific size.

Sorting Gmail Attachments with Google Drive

Whenever you get shot an email that comes with an attachment, you are given the option to save that attachment to your Google Drive. And because of that, it gives you the opportunity to sort your attachments while using Google Drive. In fact, in some cases it’s far easier to just use Google Drive rather than use parameters on Google Gmail.

Here’s how you sort:

1. Locate and launch your preferred web browser, or just open a new tab, and head on over to Google Drive’s homepage.

2. Log into Google Drive, if you aren’t already logged in, with your Google account.

select Storage

3. In Google Drive, you’ll see a column on the left hand side. At the bottom of the column, you’ll see “Storage” followed by the amount of space you’ve used and another number that represents your limit. Click the numbers.

Storage Used

4. On the main body of the page, you’ll see an entire list of your attachments that were saved to Google Drive. In the upper right corner of the page, click Storage Used. Doing so will sort the attachments by size, smallest or largest.

When sorting, the arrow pointing down means the attachments are sorted by largest attachments first. When the arrow is pointing up, it means the attachments are sorted by the smallest attachments first.