Yarn/npm Cleanup: How to Remove Unused Dependencies & Packages in Node.js

Yarn/npm Cleanup: How to Remove Unused Dependencies & Packages in Node.js

Marcell Simon
Marcell Simon

In the world of Node.js development, maintaining a clean project environment is crucial for efficiency and performance. Over time, your project may accumulate unused npm/yarn packages, cluttering your workspace and potentially slowing down your application. Luckily, there's a straightforward way to identify and clean up these lingering dependencies.

Identifying Unused Dependencies

You could manually sift through each dependency in your project, but that's a time-consuming process. Thankfully, the depcheck utility offers a more efficient solution.

Using depcheck

depcheck is a tool designed to scan your Node.js project and identify unused packages. To use it without permanent installation, simply run:

npx depcheck

Heed the Warning!

While depcheck is quite powerful, it's not infallible. Some dependencies might be listed as unused even if they are actually in use by your project. This often happens with packages that aren't directly imported, such as certain build tools or libraries like webpack and React-related packages.

Before you rush to remove everything depcheck suggests, take a moment to verify each dependency's relevance to your project. If you encounter what you believe to be a false positive, consider contributing by creating a ticket on the depcheck repository.


Note that depcheck may not recognize dependencies in subfolders treated as separate projects (those with their own package.json files). Be sure to run it within the specific project directory you wish to clean.

Installing depcheck Globally

For frequent use, you might prefer to install depcheck globally:

yarn global add depcheck


npm install depcheck -g

Once installed, you can run depcheck in any of your project folders to identify unused dependencies:



Regularly cleaning up unused dependencies helps keep your Node.js projects lean and efficient. With tools like depcheck, what used to be a tedious task is now simplified, allowing you more time to focus on developing great applications. Remember to verify each suggested removal to avoid inadvertently deleting something important!