Keep your system clean with linux

I monitor my system disk usage a lot and lately, 90% of the space was used. This needs spring cleanup! I use a partition for / (30GB) and one for /home(466GB).


Docker has a special directory at /home/docker, for this to work add this to /etc/docker/daemon.json:

{"data-root": "/home/docker"}

To clean up docker usage, there are prune commands for images, volumes and networks. You may want to stop and remove running containers first:

# Kill all running containers
docker kill $(docker ps -q)
# Delete all stopped containers
docker rm $(docker ps -a -q)

For the volumes (warning: potential data loss):

docker volume prune

Works also for networks:

docker network prune

And for images:

docker image prune


I use NCurses Disk Usage to find what’s using space, to inspect my root partition I’m using:

ncdu --exclude /home /

In doing so you’ll often find out that the space is used by:

First clean your /tmp directory using rm -r /tmp/*. Then the logs:

# Keep latest log under 50M
journalctl --vacuum-size=50M
# or purge by date
journalctl --vacuum-time=4weeks

You can custom default values in the journald.conf file see man journald.conf. I like to keep the defaults and to clean manually from time to time.

My /home directory will hold a rather big ~/.cache directory. I usually keep these as it is used by: browsers, spotify, npm, composer etc.

The /var/cache directory may also hold big directories, I removed the pkgfile cache.

For the documentation they may be removed by removing the packages or manually in the /usr/share/doc/ directory.


Remove unused packages:

pacman -Qtdq | pacman -Rns -

Delete the pacman cache:

# Remove the cache for non-installed packages
pacman -Sc
# Remove all the cache 
pacman -Scc

There are nice Pacman tips and tricks on, make sure to check this page.

Useful commands

# List disks
fdisk -l

# File system disk space usage
df -h 

# check your partitions
> print all