Step 1 - Separate your priority messages from your non-priority messages.
To do this, you’ll need to click the little arrow near the right end of the search box:
Gmail will show you advanced search options. Now select the “Doesn’t have” field and type in “label: important.” This will supposedly — we say supposedly for a reason you’ll find out later — select all the messages that aren’t marked as “important” (those are the emails with the little yellow pentagon next to them, in case you didn’t know).
If you want to save your Gchats too, type in “label: chats” as well.
Step 2 - Move to trash.
Once you’ve searched for all your chats and non-priority emails, you’ll want to select them so you can move them to the trash.
To do this, click on the check mark at the upper left. Then click on “Select all conversations that match this search” at the top of your inbox.
Your screen should look like the image below. Next, click on the trash icon:
Step 3 - Do something else for a while.
If your inbox is near capacity, chances are you’re moving A LOT of messages, and it’s going to take a while. An error message might pop up, but your emails should still eventually transfer to the trash:
While you’re waiting, why not step away from your computer to make some coffee? Or call your Mom? She’s the best.
Step 4 - Save your important messages from accidental deletion.
By now, you should be able to find all the messages you wanted to get rid of by going to your “Trash” folder. That’s here
Once you’re there you’ll probably notice something odd: A few priority messages have been deleted, too. Why this happens to your poor important messages we’re not sure, but a few always seem to end up in the trash, and it’s up to you to recover them!
Luckily, there’s an easy way to do just that. In the search field, next to “in: trash,” type: “label: important.” Select all the messages and move them back to the inbox, where they’ll be safe:
Step 5 - Finally, get rid of all those ugly messages you don’t want.
Now with your important messages back in the inbox where they belong, it’s safe to delete all the non-priority ones. Select all the messages remaining in Trash and click “Delete forever”:
This might take a while, again. Make a second cup of coffee, then get some props from the office dog because you’re almost done:
Come back to your computer screen and bask in the glory of your tidy inbox