git stash - How to Save Your Changes Temporarily
There are lots of situations where a clean working copy is recommended or even required: when merging branches, when pulling from a remote, or simply when checking out a different branch.
The "git stash" command can help you to (temporarily but safely) store your uncommitted local changes - and leave you with a clean working copy.
git stash: a Clipboard for Your Changes
Let's say you currently have a couple of local modifications:
$ git status modified: index.php modified: css/styles.css
If you have to switch context - e.g. because you need to work on an urgent bug - you need to get these changes out of the way. You shouldn't just commit them, of course, because it's unfinished work.
This is where "git stash" comes in handy:
$ git stash Saved working directory and index state WIP on master: 2dfe283 Implement the new login box HEAD is now at 2dfe283 Implement the new login box
Your working copy is now clean: all uncommitted local changes have been saved on this kind of "clipboard" that Git's Stash represents. You're ready to start your new task (for example by pulling changes from remote or simply switching branches).
Continuing Where You Left Off
As already mentioned, Git's Stash is meant as a temporary storage. When you're ready to continue where you left off, you can restore the saved state easily:
$ git stash pop
The "pop" flag will reapply the last saved state and, at the same time, delete its representation on the Stash (in other words: it does the clean-up for you).
Using the Stash in Tower
In case you are using the Tower Git client, saving to and restoring from the Stash can be performed right from the toolbar: