How to delete a file and free up space in a SharePoint Site Collection

Background

When you simply delete a file from a SharePoint library, you don’t necessarily free up space because the file was not deleted from the Recycle bin as well.

Overview

When items get deleted in SharePoint, they are not deleted from the database. They are moved to ‘End User Recycle Bin’. Once They are Deleted from the ‘End User Recycle Bin’, they are moved to the Second Stage or ‘Site Collection’ Recycle bin. They must be deleted from the Second Stage Recycle Bin for the space to be reclaimed.

Steps

To ensure you properly delete a file and free up the space taken by the file:

  1. Delete the file first from the library
  2. Navigate to the Recycle Bin of the site

  3. Select the file and Delete the file there.

  4. Delete from Second Stage Recycle Bin.

    Do this by navigating to the site settings

    Click on Recycle Bin under Collection Administration

    Click on Deleted from end user Recycle Bin

    Select the file and delete it