In the past, I’ve managed my dotfile repositories by git adding the configuration files I’ve wanted to track, and leaving everything else in my home directory unstaged. This strategy has proven to be a mess. Every git status in my home directory would list hundreds of perpetually unstaged files, and git-integrated CLI prompts never worked correctly in my home directory.

In an attempt to do things better, I’ve opted for a new technique. I’m ignoring every file in the repository (*), and explicitly unignoring the files I care about (!.tmux.conf). My .gitignore looks like this:


Now we can git add our dotfiles as usual:

git add .tmux.conf

When git adding files in nested directories, they may be affected by other .gitignore rules, so we’ll have to git add --force them when adding them to our dotfiles repository.

git add --force .config/nvim/init.vim

That’s it. That’s the tip.