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How to upgrade your Animal Crossing inventory size and tools

Unless you’ve mastered the art of traveling through space and time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a slow burn. You land on your new deserted island with little more than the shirt on your back and a raccoon with lofty ambitions. Streams and cliffs block access to more remote parts of your new holiday home, and gathering materials and digging up weeds will soon fill your pockets.

But all good things come to those who wait. Here’s how to unlock some of the most important upgrades in your Animal Crossing: New Horizons career: From inventory space increases, the vaulting pole, and ladder, all the way to unlocking the Pretty Good Tools DIY recipes so that you can gather without the grief.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons storage upgrades

Animal Crossing New Horizons increase inventory size
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How to increase your pocket space

When you’re trying to cram fruit, bugs, fossils, April fish, and three kinds of wood into a paltry 20 inventory slots, you’ll likely start screaming to the high heavens for deeper pockets first. The good news is it doesn’t take too long to increase your Animal Crossing inventory size.

From the get-go, you’re able to spend Nook Miles at the terminal in the Town Hall tent/building to up this limit to 30. That’s an entire extra row more to work with. Need even more space? You got it. Once Resident Services becomes a proper Town Hall building, you can fork over another 8,000 Nook Miles for the final Ultimate Pocket Stuffing inventory upgrade. That’s another 10 slots, giving you a grand total of 40.

How to add additional house storage

While not as convenient in a pinch, stockpiling items in your home storage is another big deal. Home storage is generally used for clothes and unused furniture, but it’s a great way to hold onto things like excess bugs and fish you’re saving for when C.J. or Flick come to visit. Both guests will pay a premium for your fish or insects, respectively. You can read more about this in our Animal Crossing money-making guide.

You can store far more in house storage than your own pockets at the very start of the game, but this space increases further as you upgrade your house. Pay off your debt to Tom Nook, and you can expand your house size once more. There are at least seven home upgrades, including getting out of your initial tent. With each upgrade, the amount you can store increases, too. That’s on top of the extra physical space you’ll have in your home to drop stuff on the ground or hang on the walls.

Navigation tools

Animal Crossing Vaulting Pole unlock
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Your island isn’t a flat plane. It’s broken up by streams and multi-tier cliffs, and you won’t be able to fully explore your new home without the Vaulting Pole and Ladder.  It doesn’t take long to unlock these methods the natural way, but you can rely on a friend to speed things up, too.

Vaulting pole

The vaulting pole turns island navigation into an Olympic sport. It’s probably not up to code, but excitement comes before safety in this make-believe world. If you’re not willing to trust a bendy stick to launch you over streams that would gladly sweep you out to sea, you’re going to have to get rich quick and build some bridges.

Luckily, the vaulting pole doesn’t break and can’t be used where it would send you to a watery grave. It’s a no-risk tool you unlock once Blathers makes his way to your island on Day 2 — provided you follow Tom Nook’s instructions and hand over five bugs or insects to entice the well-educated owl to show up.

If you’ve fallen a bit behind, you can get a friend to craft a Vaulting Pole for you, instead.

Ladder

Itching to explore the rest of your island? Then you’ll need the ladder to climb up onto the cliffs. Each Animal Crossing island has a few tiers, but one ladder will get you up the lot. Sadly, you’ll have to wait until Day 4 of proper play to get your hands on it at the earliest — unless, of course, you have a friend drop one off instead.

If you can’t rely on a buddy to help you scale your island’s highest mountains, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way and acquire it through gameplay. The ladder recipe requires four of each type of wood to craft.

Once you’ve progressed the “story” enough for Nook to suggest trying to find some neighbors, he’ll give you the Ladder DIY recipe as a way to gather some island flowers you’ll need for a flower-based craft.

Pretty Good Tools

Animal Crossing Axe unlock
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The “Pretty Good Tools” recipe series can be picked up from the cabinet in Timmy and Tommy’s shop. These tools offer higher durability over their flimsy variants, meaning they won’t break quite so quickly. That’s except for the new axe recipe.

Stone Axe and Axe

Not to be confused with the Flimsy Axe or Stone Axe, the regular, scary-looking Axe is what you’ll need to chop down trees. Three swings and you’re left with nothing but a stump.

Also part of this recipe set is the Stone Axe. Rather than being a step-down from the Axe, it’s an upgrade to the Flimsy Axe. It won’t chop trees down, but it has a stronger durability rating than its Flimsy counterpart, making it a better option for wood harvesting than its predecessor.

Watering Can

A basic upgrade over the Flimsy Watering Can, this helpful item lasts 2.5 times longer than its flimsy counterpart. That’s 100 uses rather than 40. It also usefully allows you to water more than one flower at a time. Make us of its 180-degree watering motion, and you’ll be able to douse 300 flowers before this one breaks.

Shovel

You won’t have to worry too much about this one breaking during your daily money rock whack. This particular shovel, which requires a Flimsy Shovel to craft, can survive 2.5 times as many hits as its prerequisite craft before breaking apart.

Fishing Rod

Sick of your Flimsy Fishing Rod breaking apart in the middle of a fishing session? The regular Fishing Rod will help. You’ll need to use a Flimsy Fishing Rod in the craft, but the result is a tool that’ll last far longer.

Net

We can wear down our Flimsy Nets swinging at nothing, inching us closer to having it break apart the moment a tarantula hops over. But grab the Pretty Good Tools DIY recipe and add an iron ore, and you’ll end up with a far more durable net.

Josh Brown
Josh Brown is a UK-based freelancer with devoted interests in video games, tech, film, and anime/manga. Just don't talk to…
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