Keep Your Google Services Free With This How-To Guide

Way back in the dark ages (2005), you needed an invitation code for Gmail. These days, it's unthinkable not to have multiple linked Google services, for everything from calendars to spreadsheets to file storage. These services are free (well, free-ish), but they're not unlimited. Across platforms, Google gives everyone 15 gigabytes of space upfront.

Stay on Gmail long enough and even that seemingly endless amount of storage will fill up eventually. For those who have used the service for a decade or longer, you may have noticed that your available Google storage is dwindling. Of course, there are paid tiers of Gmail and related products, but let's face it, most of what's taking up space is expired email. If Inbox Zero sounds sort of exhausting, never fear: There are other methods to trimming down all those Google Alerts and unread newsletters.

CNBC tech reporter Salvador Rodriguez has shared his year-end method for mass-clearing your inbox (or your All Mail, if that's how you roll). Rodriguez says the whole thing takes about half an hour; it involves a little more-advanced-than-basic use of commands, interfacing, and search terms, but he provides step-by-step instructions as well as screenshots to help explain it all. Once you get the hang of things, you can save time by repeating it monthly, or in whatever intervals you like.

Ultimately, no one really likes email. It's a modern necessity that you can manage at the front end and behind the scenes. The less mental energy you have to expend on the likes of Gmail, the more you'll have for what really matters to you.