Stop suffering from too many tabs in Chrome

Why it is such a pain?

  • System resources. The more tabs you open, the more CPU, memory and, finally, disk space your browser consumes. When you computer is out of disk space, it gets slow and might even freeze. It's annoying.
  • It distracts us. - What was I doing? Oh, what an interesting article! I guess I should read it now.
  • It makes us feel guilty. Only those 3 tabs are actually related to your current work. Ok, make it 7. But the rest are just sitting there to make you feel bad about the amount of unread stuff.

Cure the symptoms

If you care about your system resources, but still want to have a lot of tabs, try The Great Suspender extension:

The Great Suspender (4/5 stars)

Automatically suspends old tabs

It replaces your pages with stubs after a configurable time, so they consume almost no resources. Clicking on stub reloads the page, so you can get back to surfing.

A bit more radical but still a completely safe solution would be Tab Wrangler:

Tab wrangler (4.5/5 stars) Automatically closes old tabs

It stores the history of closed tabs, so you can restore them.

Straightforward solution

You can try to prevent the problem by limiting yourself.

xTab (3.5/5 stars)

Limits number of tabs per window

But be aware – some users have been reporting that this extension might cause a loss of open tabs (if there are too many of them when you install the extension).

...and I bet it will force you to open new Chrome windows. Which is not bad. Because you'll naturally start to group them by topics. You can minimize unused windows, and return to them later.

Actually, I got mad on xTab quite soon and disabled it. But I acquired the habit to create separate windows with tabs for every topic I work on. And Tab Scissors was super useful for that:

Tab Scissors (4/5 stars)

Splits your tabs between two windows

Make sure to set and remember a keyboard shortcut. I use Alt+S
It can also 'glue' your windows - you just need to set a shortcut for this function too.

But let's try to dig deeper. Why would you actually want to keep so many tabs open?

Getting to the root of the problem

These tabs are valuable for us, so we want to keep them. We already spent some time finding this information. We do not want to lose it now.

But remember that feeling after Chrome has crashed and buried all your 50+ tabs? Not the instant feeling of anger and indignation. The next one :)

Right, that was a relief. No need to go through that big pile of who-knows-what anymore. You finally have the justification to forget about it!

OneTab gives you similar feeling but without the angry part:

OneTab (5/5 stars)

Closes your debt tabs, but keeps the links

You can restore the tabs later, or get a page to share the links to somebody.

GTD perspective

From the "Getting Things Done" perspective, your set of tabs on some topic is no more than a task:   Sort out links about _____________

OneTab "Sharing" feature is super useful here because you can attach all your discoveries in your task tracker using just one link.

Look, here I am sharing all the links from this article with you:


I ended up using Tab Scissors + OneTab. Maybe other extensions will also work for you well.

This article is a part of Productivity Mode for OS X course
We'll talk about how to deal with distractions like social networks, entertainment websites, etc in article "How to limit yourself to the good"