I'm trying to evaluate storage usage on a linux server.

Most of the bulk of storage is coming from the images. I'd like to see if I can get a sense of the size of files modified in the last year. and maybe also the last 5 years, to see how that compares to the total size of the images directory (which is 40GB)

I have tried du -h and that is handy, but I cannot see how to filter those results by modified date.

3 Answers 3


If the num-utils package is installed, numsum provides an easy way to add many numbers; while numfmt simplifies the output:

find . -type f -mtime -365 -printf '%s\n' | numsum | numfmt --to=iec

(find code borrowed from Ziggy Crueltyfree Zeitgeister.)

For the last 5 years do:

find . -type f -mtime -$((365 * 5)) -printf '%s\n' | numsum | numfmt --to=iec

If an accurate day count is needed, date will provide that. Here's a shell function that returns the exact number of days in the last n years:

# covert Last _n_ Years to Days
# usage:  ly2d n
ly2d() \
    { echo $(( \
               $(( `date -d today +%s` - \
                   `date -d $1" years ago" +%s` )) \
           / 60 / 60 / 24 )) ; \

Using ly2d for the last 5 years:

find . -type f -mtime -$(ly2d 5) -printf '%s\n' | numsum | numfmt --to=iec
  • i seem to not have numfmt available. does that require a different library?
    – Damon
    May 9, 2016 at 17:09
  • Debian's coreutils package has numfmt, or check the upstream source. If that fails, remove the numfmt, the sum would then be in bytes.
    – agc
    May 9, 2016 at 22:21

You can use perl to sum the output of find:

find . -type f -mtime -365 -printf '%s\n' |\
  perl -e 'my $s=0; while(<>) { $s += $_; } print "$s\n"'
  • 3
    If the num-utils package is installed, numsum is simpler than all that perl: find . -type f -mtime -365 -printf '%s\n' | numsum
    – agc
    May 9, 2016 at 7:10
  • Appending | numfmt --to=iec helps too.
    – agc
    May 9, 2016 at 7:20
  • @agc You should post it as an answer, no reason not to. I would happily upvote it. May 9, 2016 at 8:12

The following approach has the benefit relying only on common utilities du and find, which are available out of the box on pretty much all Linuxes.

du -hc $(find . -type f -mtime -365)

This works by finding all of the modified files using find, then passing all those files to du to calculate the sizes. The -c option ensures a summed total is printed at the end.

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