Using the “rm” Command with Trash

Author: Jake Bauer | Published: 2020-07-13

Those who use regular file browsers like Nautilus, Dolphin, or Thunar are used to having an item go into the Trash folder (or “Recycle Bin” for Windows folks) when it is deleted. This allows them to restore that file in the case that they accidentally deleted it. However, on the command line the rm command will irreversibly delete a file from your system (short of using data recovery techniques) and has no concept of a Trash folder. This is a simple hacky way to make rm remove a file to the Trash folder first so that you can prevent yourself from accidentally irreversibly deleting something really important.

POSIX, Bash and Bash-like, Fish, and Korn Shells

alias rm='mv -t $XDG_DATA_HOME/Trash/'
alias rm!='\rm'

C Shell (csh) and TENEX C Shell (tcsh)

alias rm 'mv -t $XDG_DATA_HOME/Trash/'
alias rm! '\rm'


The aliases above do the following:

If you choose not to have $XDG_DATA_HOME defined, you can replace that bit with whichever path you prefer such as $HOME/.Trash. The folder you choose must already exist or else mv will be angry.

This is my seventieth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at