How to Empty Google Drive: A Step-by-Step Guide to Free Up Space

To empty Google Drive, you need to systematically delete files and folders, clear out trash, and manage shared items. This guide will walk you through each step, ensuring you can free up space in your Google Drive efficiently.

How to Empty Google Drive

In this section, we will break down the process of emptying Google Drive into easy, manageable steps. By following these steps, you can delete unwanted files and reclaim valuable storage space.

Step 1: Open Google Drive

Start by opening your web browser and navigating to Google Drive.

Once you’re in Google Drive, you can see all your files and folders. This is your starting point to identify what you need to delete.

Step 2: Select Files and Folders

Click on the files or folders you want to delete. You can select multiple items by holding down the "Ctrl" key (or "Cmd" on a Mac) while clicking.

Selecting multiple files allows you to delete many items at once, which saves time. Make sure you only choose files you no longer need.

Step 3: Move to Trash

Right-click on the selected files and choose "Remove" or drag them to the trash icon.

Moving files to the trash doesn’t delete them permanently. They will stay in the trash until you empty it, giving you a chance to recover any mistakes.

Step 4: Empty Trash

Go to the trash folder on the left-hand side, right-click on it, and select "Empty Trash."

This step is crucial because files in the trash still take up space. Emptying the trash permanently deletes these files, freeing up storage.

Step 5: Manage Shared Files

Check the "Shared with me" section and remove any files others have shared with you that you no longer need.

Shared files can also consume your storage quota. Removing them helps to ensure that no unnecessary files are using up your space.

After completing these steps, your Google Drive will have significantly more free space, making it easier to store new files and keep everything organized.

Tips for Emptying Google Drive

  • Regular Maintenance: Make it a habit to clear out unnecessary files regularly to avoid clutter.
  • Use Google Takeout: Download important files before deletion to ensure you have a backup.
  • Sort by Size: Sort files by size to quickly identify and delete the largest ones.
  • Check Hidden Files: Some files can be hidden within folders; make sure to check these.
  • Unsubscribe from Shared Folders: If you no longer need access to shared folders, unsubscribe to free up space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to files in the trash?

Files in the trash are still stored in your Google Drive until you empty the trash. They can be restored if needed.

Can I recover files after emptying the trash?

No, once you empty the trash, the files are permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

How do I check my storage usage?

You can check your storage usage by clicking on the "Storage" option on the left-hand side of Google Drive. This will show you a breakdown of how much space each file type is using.

Are shared files counted in my storage?

Yes, files shared with you do count towards your storage quota, so it’s a good idea to remove any shared files you don’t need.

Can I transfer ownership of files instead of deleting them?

Yes, you can transfer ownership of files to someone else if you no longer need them but don’t want to delete them. Right-click on the file, select "Share," and then "Transfer ownership."


  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Select Files and Folders
  3. Move to Trash
  4. Empty Trash
  5. Manage Shared Files


Emptying Google Drive might seem like a daunting task, but with a systematic approach, it’s straightforward and manageable. By regularly maintaining your Google Drive, you can keep it organized and free of unnecessary clutter. This also ensures that you make the most out of your storage space, allowing you to store important files without worry.

Remember to back up any essential files before deletion and consider using tools like Google Takeout for this purpose. Regularly maintaining your Google Drive and removing unwanted files not only helps in managing storage but also makes it easier to find and access the files you truly need. Take the time to go through this process, and you’ll find your Google Drive more efficient and easier to use. Happy cleaning!