How to keep on top of your Google Drive storage usage

If you own a Chromebook or Android device the likelihood is that you’re using Google Drive cloud storage. This is a free service that you get as standard with your Google account. Even if you don’t own one of these devices, you’ll most likely use it if you have a Gmail email address, which let’s face it most of us do.

The great thing about Google products is that they are usually available to use free of charge. This removes any barriers to using their services, as you don’t need to spend any money. Although this is obviously great it can mean we get a little lazy when it comes to managing these services. Meaning you’ll most likely use Gmail, Google Photos or Google Docs and never really worry about storage.

You’ll only realize you have a problem that needs to be dealt with when it becomes an issue. Running out of storage means you’ll no longer be able to store files in the cloud. Perhaps even more concerning is that you may stop being able to send and receive emails. Therefore, keeping on top of how much space you have available on Google drive is important.

What uses up your Google Drive storage

You get 15GB of Google Drive storage with each Google account. This is shared between your emails, Google Photos, and any files stored in the cloud. Therefore, this will also include any files you may have created when using apps such as Google Docs or Google Sheets.

Although 15GB of storage is quite a lot when you consider this is provided for free. If you use Google services regularly; over time you may get to a stage where storage becomes an issue. You’ll usually notice this when you get warnings in Gmail or Google Drive that you’re about to run out of space.

One way to fix this is to simply buy more Google Drive storage space. I have a few Google accounts, and with a couple of these, I’ve increased the storage and paid a small monthly fee for doing so. However, this isn’t necessarily something that you need to do. The first thing I would recommend doing is to manage your Google Drive storage and reduce what is taking up your cloud storage.

Gmail and how it uses cloud storage

Whenever you send or receive an email using Gmail it will take up cloud storage. This is because these emails are available in your Gmail account no matter what device you’re using. This is exactly what you would want because it avoids emails being stored locally, which could cause a whole lot of issues you could do without.

This means all of your emails received and sent are using up your Google Drive cloud storage. Many people tend to avoid managing their emails because we receive so many throughout the day. I am definitely guilty of doing this myself. However, keeping on top of emails is vitally important to keep the storage being used to a minimum.

Your Gmail emails take up Google Drive storage

If you use your Gmail account for too long without making a conscious effort to manage it. The idea of dealing with these emails at a later date may sound like a mammoth task. This is why it’s much better to try and get to grips with your emails sooner rather than later.

Therefore, it’s essential to delete emails you do not need. It’s very easy to become a hoarder when it comes to your emails, but you’ve got to ask yourself, do you really need to keep this email? If the answer is no then just go for it and delete it. If you do need to keep it, then I’d recommend moving the email to a separate folder.

Google Photos

We all love keeping many of the photos we take. After all, these photos usually contain memories that you want to cherish forever. This possibly makes managing your Google Photos much harder than anything else. It’s a whole lot easier deleting emails we no longer need, but it can be much harder to delete our photos because of sentimental value.

That being said, if you’ve set up your Android phone to back up all of your photos to Google Photos. How many of these photos really need to be backed up? Of course, you’ll have photos you want to keep forever, but there will be many others that can be deleted.

Google Photos
Your Google Photos take up Google Cloud storage

We take great photos we want to keep, but how many photos are taken to upload to Facebook or for other reasons? Many of these photos once uploaded to social media may not necessarily be something we want to keep forever. Do you sell your old stuff on eBay? Do you really need to keep the ten photos you’ve taken of your old laptop you no longer own?

Take a look at the photos you have stored in Google Photos. I think you’ll be surprised with just how many of them you can easily get rid of without feeling you’ll be letting go of something precious to you. Deleting photos you don’t need on a regular basis will dramatically reduce the amount of storage you’re using on Google Drive.

Google Docs

If you use Google docs such as the word processor, Google Sheets or Google Slides. Then any of the files you’ve created using these programs are most likely saved to your Google Drive.

The good news is these types of files generally take up very little space. That being said, if you use Google Slides and add a lot of high-quality images to your slides. You may be surprised how these can easily start eating into your cloud storage.

Google Slides uses Google Drive storage
Google Docs such as slides use up Google Drive storage

You could argue many of these files are essential. Therefore, apart from your Google Photos, these files may be something you need to keep. I use Google Docs every day, but I try to make sure I manage them correctly.

Again, the best thing to do is to make sure you only keep the files you need. This is definitely true when it comes to any documents that have images, as these can take up most space.


Google Drive is a great way of saving your files in the cloud. It’s the best way to ensure your much-loved photos of your family, friends, and pets are kept forever.

The best way to ensure we keep enough storage space available for these cherished memories. Is by spending some time making sure we only keep what we need. By doing this on a regular basis you’ll avoid having to buy more storage space when it simply isn’t needed.

Your emails are definitely something that can get out of control. They are also something where we could do more to manage by only keeping what we really need.

Essentially, it comes down to spending a little time managing your Google Drive. You’ll be much happier once you’ve done it, as you get the same feeling of having a nice tidy home. Having a cluttered Google drive and emails dating back years in your inbox is something that will eventually need to be dealt with. The best way is to manage your cloud storage as you go. You’ll feel a whole lot better for it.