Start labeling like a champ
If you aren't already using labels to organize your messages and tame your inbox, you're missing out on one of Gmail's greatest features. The customizable folders make it incredibly easy to stash and organize every message as it arrives.
You can either assign labels manually to particular messages as you go through your inbox, or proactively filter them to individual labels according to certain criteria (e.g., emails from a particular sender go to label X, or those with a particular subject line or keyword go to label Y, etc.), that way you can keep random updates from your gym, or weird uncle, or the election from clogging your inbox. Gmail lets you create up to 5,000 different labels, and you can even create labels inside other labels.
To understand all the crazy ways you can filter incoming mail (and there are a lot), and how to optimize your label action, check out these handy how-tos.
Create alias addresses to divert spammy newsletters
One little-known Gmail feature makes it easy to sign up for as many websites, apps, newsletters, or K-pop forums as you want using your regular address, without inundating your inbox with spammy messages. Here's what to do: when registering for something you'd rather assign a throwaway address to, add a "+" and any word before the @ symbol in your regular email address. For example firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Messages sent to those addresses will still reach you at firstname.lastname@example.org, but Gmail will also recognize the +word attached, so you can easily set up filters to redirect messages to specific labels. Turns out, there are a handful of other interesting ways to take advantage of the alias feature.