My Gmail usage hit a peak this week. And for the first time ever, I got a popup today that said that “You are dangerously close to your quota. Delete some mail or purchase more space.” Or something like that. I should have taken a screen shot, but I was too busy deleting mail.

I posed this subject on Twitter and Facebook the other day and of course got a ton of responses from people telling me to delete stuff. Well yeah, of course I need to delete stuff. I delete stuff every day, all day. I check my spam folder probably once or twice an hour. If I don’t, by the next day I will have 200 messages n there, maybe more. I know some users never check their spam folders at all, but I have too. There were a couple of times that i missed the original of an important email. This was back when I did not think that I needed to check my spam. Luckily the senders sent a follow-up email, but I did miss an event or two that I would have loved to attend. So now, I check my spam folder religiously. I’m trying not to think of the “House Guest” pun along with this. Haven’t seen it? Look it up… it stars Sinbad. Hysterical movie! You will get it after you watch. ­čÖé

Anyway, so I clear out the spam, I get rid of unwanted junk that comes through. Recently I have been unsubscribing from mailing lists that I never get to read. And still, I am at 94%.

So why the heck do I have so much mail? Well, let’s break it down. Here is what I have:

1. I admit that I use my mail as a filing cabinet. I run a photography biz, and I consider my blog a biz, so I keep all mail associated with anything going on with those 2 things.

For the photography biz, this includes order receipts since I order just about all of my supplies online. I need those receipts at tax time. This also include customer orders, invoices, quotes, questions, requests, etc. I refer back to all of that multiple times sometimes when completing orders.

For the blog biz, this includes requests for ads, sponsored posts, guest posts, PR pitches, other blog RSS feeds (although I should delete most of those when I don’t get to read them right away), questions from readers, etc. You would be surprised how often I refer back to some of that stuff.

2. I don’t actually have that much “personal” email. Some, but not a lot. I do most of my personal chatting via IM if onilne, so I guess my chat folder is pretty full. I can probably get rid of some old archived chats.

3. I keep things that I deem will be useful one day. This includes things from┬áWordPress┬átutorial lists, photography lists, and similar things that I think that I will read some day. I guess I should get over it and just delete them. ­čÖé

A while ago I wrote a Gmail Tips and Organization post that I still live by, so my mail is very organized, there is just way too much of it. I have my inbox set to display 50 messages per page. There are over 17 thousand messages in my inbox. This is not counting the sub-folders. Clearly I need to delete.

I am going to set out over the next couple of days to see just how much stuff I can get rid of. I almost feel like there is some secret, hidden, background script running that keeps dumping more invisible mail in my box because I keep deleting, but it keeps coming back. Ugh.

Wish me luck!

How does your mailbox look?

UPDATE: I did find the mysterious hidden folder! When you don’t visit a folder for a while in Gmail, it collapses to a little arrow that you have to expand to see. A LONG time ago I had joined a Yahoo group to which people constantly send clipart, and share Tubes. There were over 1500 messages in that folder. EVERY ONE OF THEM WITH AT LEAST ONE ATTACHMENT. HA! Deleting all that brought me down to 78%. I need to get to 50%.

READ NEXT: Increase Your Gmail Storage