Developer computers often get a lot of cruft built up in non-standard places because of compiled binaries, assets, packages, and other tools that we install over time then forget about as we move onto other projects. In general, I like to reinstall my OS and wipe my disk every year or so to prevent crud from accumulating. As an interemediate step, this post compiles several maintenance caommands that I run fairly routinely.


Update homebrew and remove old formulae and their folders often, otherwise it’s going to take a long time to run if you forget about it!

$ brew update
$ brew upgrade
$ brew cleanup

Linking and casks are also often problems, run brew doctor to inspect the warnings and take care of anything that needs cleaning up. Note that I usually run update and upgrade multiple times to make sure everything was correctly grabbed.

Finally, a routine brew list will show what has been installed; although it’s tough to figure out dependencies from brew, if I recognize something that I installed and am not using anymore, I usually uninstall it.


I fairly routinely clean up docker containers, images, volumes, networks, etc. from my machine since I don’t generally rely on a local build process except for testing.

$ docker system prune --all


I manage my Python system and environments with pyenv, which means it’s easy to build up a cruft of old environments and duplicate copies of Python packages. Using pyenv versions, list your environments and versions routinely and then use either pyenv uninstall to remove a version of Python or pyenv virtualenv-delete to remove a virtual environment.


I don’t use Ruby very much, but similar to Python I have rbenv for a few projects that require Ruby components. Use rbenv versions to list Ruby installs and then rbenv uninstall to remove the environments.

Also routinely run:

$ gem cleanup --dryrun
$ gem cleanup

To clean up old versions of gems.

Node Modules

Node and npm download a lot of packages into project directories. The following command searches for any node_modules directories that are older than 4 months.

$ find . -name "node_modules" -mtime +120 -type d

Clean them up as follows:

find . -name "node_modules" -mtime +120 -type d | xargs rm -rf

I usually run this in my workspaces directory before I engage in any web development.


I usually do a pretty good job deleting branches that have been merged from my local computer, but ocassionally I’ll clone a repository and do a fetch that pulls down a bunch of branches. The following command says what branches have been merged:

$ get branch --merged main

The issue with this is that we normally squash and merge our branches, so this may not catch the branches you’re looking for. However, thinking about how many git objects are on your system is important!