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Animal Crossing Inventory and Storage upgrades: How to expand and manage your inventory explained

How to go from twenty inventory slots to forty in New Horizons.

If there's one task that you want to prioritise in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it's expanding your inventory and storage.

You'll soon discover that it's very easy to fill your inventory, called pockets in-game, in New Horizons with a variety of items from bugs to fossils.

Whether your crafting or fishing, then you're going to want to upgrade your pockets as soon as possible. Expanding your storage will also allow you to store more furniture, clothes or anything else you might need in your house.

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Inventory in Animal Crossing: New Horizons explained

In New Horizons, your inventory is referred to as your pockets, which you can access by pressing X. It's within these pockets that you'll hold all the materials, bugs, fish, flowers, clothing and other items you collect while playing.

When you first begin playing New Horizons, you'll only be able to hold 20 items in your pockets. As you continue, however, you'll be able to expand your inventory; first to 30 and later to 40.

You purchase these inventory upgrades using Nook Miles and, in total, you'll need 13,000 Nook Miles to purchase both expansions. Though you do have to unlock the ability to purchase them first.

Storage in Animal Crossing: New Horizons explained

New Horizons makes managing your inventory a lot easier by providing you with a storage space, which is separate from both your inventory and house. This means that you happily store all that furniture that you're not quite sure what to do with yet.

You can only access this storage space by pressing the right button on the D-Pad when you're inside your house.

Aside from the 'Everything' tab, which allows you to see everything you currently have in your storage, there are nine different categories within your storage space:

  • Housewares
  • Miscellaneous
  • Wall-mounted
  • Wallpaper
  • Floors
  • Rug
  • Fashion Items
  • Creatures
  • Other - includes tools, materials and musical instruments

In the bottom left-hand corner of your storage screen, you'll find a small counter that records exactly how many items you have in your storage compared to your storage limit.

How to upgrade your inventory in Animal Crossing: New Horizons explained

If you want to expand your inventory in New Horizons, you must first unlock the Nook Miles shop on the Nook Stop. To do this you must pay back the 5,000 Nook Miles you owe Tom Nook for your tent.

Once you've done this, you'll not only unlock your first house upgrade, but you'll unlock the Nook Miles shop in Residential Services.

Access this shop and you'll find that one of the items for sale is called Pocket Organization Guide, which will set you back 5000 Nook Miles.

This is the first of two inventory upgrades in Nook Miles and will upgrade your inventory from 20 slots to 30.

We highly recommend making this your first purchase from the Nook Stop, because it will make your island development efforts a lot easier.

To purchase the second inventory expansion in New Horizons, you must first upgrade Residential Services.

Once you're newly built Town Hall opens, head straight to the Nook Stop inside. There you'll discover that the Nook Miles store has a variety of new items for you to purchase.

Within this upgraded store you'll find the second, and last, inventory expansion. It's called Ultimate Pocket Stuffing and will cost you 8,000 Nook Miles.

Once you've purchased this upgrade, your inventory will expand to 40 slots, allowing you to gather even more items than before.

How to upgrade your Storage Space in Animal Crossing: New Horizons explained

Your storage space in New Horizons will automatically expand every time you upgrade your house.

It also means that, when you first land on your island and are living in a tent, you won't have access to this storage space. Thankfully, it's very easy to earn this first house upgrade and you'll soon find yourself living beneath a proper roof.

Below you'll find out how much your storage will grow as you upgrade your house:

  • House built - 80 storage spaces
  • First house upgrade - 120 storage spaces
  • Second house upgrade - 240 storage spaces
  • Third house upgrade - 320 storage spaces
  • Fourth house upgrade - 400 storage spaces
  • Fifth house upgrade - 800 storage spaces
  • Sixth house upgrade - 1,600 storage spaces

The free winter update, released on Thursday, 19th November 2020, included a new storage update, bringing the maximum house storage to 2,400.

To get this storage expansion, you first need to pay off the final loan on your house - a massive 2,498,000 Bells - and then visit the Residential Services.

So close!

When you arrive Tom Nook will mention that he wants to talk to about your house storage, so visit down in his chair and start chatting.

So close!

Before you do, however, you'll want to collect 500,000 Bells and ensure that you have this money in your pockets, not your bank account. Nothing with Tom Nook is truly free!

Once you have the Bells, return to Residential Services and talk to Nook; you'll first want to select 'About my home...' and, then, 'Expand my storage.'

Nook will then check that you're happy with spending 500,000 Bells and, if you agree, your storage will be ready the next day after the daily reset time for your island. You'll receive a letter in the mail from Nook Inc. the next day confirming that your storage has been expanded.

Always make sure to keep an eye on your storage counter - you don't want to accidentally fill it!

The Animal Crossing 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise is here! We can help you with the new additions - including where to find Brewster, Gyroids, new villagers, ordinances, new fences, storage shed, new hairstyles, Froggy Chair, group stretching and Kapp'n boat tours. Cooking is now unlockable, so you need to know how to make both flour and sugar, as well as how to grow carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Meanwhile, if you're new to Animal Crossing, our New Horizons tips can help with the basics. From the off, there's fish and bugs to catch, flowers and fruit to grow with. One long term goal is building your Happy Home Academy score. Finally, you need tools such as the new ladder and vaulting pole to fully explore.

Everything else you need to know about managing your storage in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There are a couple of things you can do in New Horizons to help you manage your storage, aside from upgrading it.

The first is that you can't store Turnips in your house storage. Presumably this is to stop you from cheating on the Stalk Market by hiding a load of Turnips until the market price is high.

This means that you either have to keep your Turnips in your inventory or leave them on the ground.

Secondly, since you can place most items anywhere on your island, this means you can border off a small space for extra storage. (Or just dump it outside your house…)

This is very useful if you're waiting for the Museum to finish upgrading or don't want to lose out on any Bells by using the Nook's Cranny dropbox.

Your pockets also have more to offer than simply holding your items, it's also where you'll find your wallet, which can hold up to 99,999 Bells. If you end up holding more than that amount, then the remaining Bells will appear as Bell Bags in your pockets.

You can also take out a certain amount of bells out of your wallet and hold it in Bell Bags. These amounts are:

  • 100 Bells
  • 1,000 Bells
  • 10,000 Bells
  • To the nearest round total of Bells you're currently holding

It's also possible to take out the nearest round total to the current amount of Bells you're holding. If you're holding 69,699 Bells, for example, then you can take out 69,000 Bells.

Finally, there's a special place for your clothes you're currently wearing in your inventory too. To access this, select the blue shirt icon next to your wallet.

Doing so will allow you to see all the clothes you currently have equipped. There are nine slots that you can fill to create an outfit. This doesn't, however, mean that you will fill every one.

If you equip an item that fills a slot you're already wearing, say a new hat for example, then it will replace the current item you're wearing, because, sadly, you can't wear multiple hats in New Horizons.

Good luck in all your item management schemes!

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Lottie Lynn

Guides Editor

Lottie Lynn is Eurogamer's Guides Editor. She likes exploring new games and still has nightmares about the moon from Majora's Mask.