When I started using Gmail some years ago I wasn’t really trying to keep my inbox clean. I marked some of my mails read, but somethimes I was even to lazy for that. Over the time all those unread and and un-archived emails added up to a couple of thousand messages plugging up my inbox and I just couldn’t be bothered cleaning up the mess up, just because they were so many — a vicious circle.
But you don’t have to worry about spending hours cleaning up the mess as you can do it in less than a minute by using GMail’s filter functionality. That’s how it’s done:
Go to your “Settings” page on GMail and click on the “Filters” tab. At the bottom is the option to create new filters. Clicking on that should bring you to the filter creation page with 5 input fields.
We need the “Has the words“-field, as shown in the image above, on the right side of page.
First we want to get all that unread mail of your being marked as read so we write “label:inbox” without the quotes in the field. Now click on “Next Step” and confirm that you know what you’re doing in the warning dialog. We are experts, we don’t need warnings!
Now, select the boxes “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)“, “Mark as read” and “Also apply the filter to x conversations below.”
After that, hit the “Create Filter“-button. Your inbox should be clean now.