Use labels and the archive feature to keep your Inbox free of clutter. I had been getting tired at looking at "1-100 of 4387" in the top right of my Gmail Inbox. I have been using the labels feature in order to have some semblance of structure in my Gmail inbox, but I really prefer to see only active conversations or unattended mail in the first view when I open my Gmail. I just spent some time using the following two features to make things a little easier for me.
These are Gmail's version of mail folders. You can create as many labels as you like in the left hand menu. The nice thing about labels is that you can assign multiple labels to a single message. Most mail clients allow you to move a message to a single folder or make multiple copies of the message, with the latter breaking up any possibilities of a threaded message discussion..
You can assign colors to the labels once they have been created. You can also rename the labels or re-color them at any time. To assign a label to a message you simply select the Label drop down menu at the top of the Gmail interface with the message(s) having been selected.
Messages that arrive in your Inbox are automatically assigned a hidden label called "Inbox." You will see this if you click on any of your label folders on the left menu.
When you are viewing your Inbox, you can select a message or multiple messages and click on the "Archive" button to remove the Inbox label from the message. If you had already assigned a custom label to the message, it will still exist in that folder but will be out of your primary Inbox view. Nice and clean.
It might be a lot of work up front, especially if you have thousands of messages in your mailbox, but if you're like me and like to look at a clean and organized inbox, it's worth the effort.
Header photo by Robert S. Donovan