I have, right now, 2105 email in my inbox at work... I need to clean it out as well.
How I do this is by sorting by who the sender is. Then I can delete entire categories at once - like say all my emails from my husband or a girlfriend at work. Once I narrow it down that way, I work on things by subject. Since it's work stuff and we never know when something is going to resurface, I try to file anything work related so I can find it again later. Makes for a mess of files, but sometimes it has to be done.
And since you have gotten me thinking about this, the inbox will be my task for the day.