Project file won't compact?

I have a project that has grown to 2GB on Windows 10, I noticed recently that certain tasks like joining two clips or using an effect like time stretch is causing Audacity to freeze up, and I end up having to close it and re-open. I’m using version 3.4.2 btw, and the project sample rate of 44100 Hz matches all the tracks. I deleted several tracks and saved and closed the project but still the file size has not changed at all - I gather that this is because it is not compacting like it should. Why is it not compacting, and how can I make it do so? This is really frustrating, I’m honestly afraid to keep working until I can shrink the project.

This issue could be related to “smart clips”. Something to try - make a “clean” copy of the entire project: Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+N, Ctrl+V.

Thanks, that shrunk it slightly, from 2100 KB to 1854 KB. Still can’t do a simply joining of audio clips though. I tried deleting another track to see if it would shrink it further but somehow after saving and closing the project it grew instead to 1916 KB. I’m puzzled as to why it would grow when the only thing I did was delete a track. I then deleted four more tracks, saved, and closed but it’s still 1916 KB.