I can't see that empty frames of any particular value other than where the bees are clustered, so if you can pull them and not leave an empty space (in other words, fill that space with capped stores) and get one less box, that may be worth doing. You don't want all full frames. The bees need empty comb to cluster on.
Good timing on the question. Although we still have about another 3 weeks to a month before a frost, I was inspecting my hives yesterday and wondering just how to consolidate them for the winter. I want to limit nice winter digs for OTHER critters.
Will empty un-drawn frames work as a cluster hang out? If yes, where in the placement should they be in relationship to brood and stores? I use all 8 frame mediums....or am trying to.