How To Restart Your Island Without Resetting In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Many players who have spent their fair share of hours playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons have no doubt had the urge to change everything up and start over. Of course, resetting the game entirely comes at the cost of losing DIYs, items, villagers, and overall progress made, making it a big decision to consider.


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Related: Animal Crossing: How To Decorate Your Island For A 5-Star Rating

That’s why some have taken on the job of redesigning their island completely, doing a big makeover while keeping their save file. If you’ve been considering doing an island overhaul, read on to find out where to start and some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Updated October 22, 2023, by Sean Murray: Sometimes, in order to create, one must destroy. But restarting your island doesn’t have to mean losing all your progress. If you’re looking for how to restart Animal Crossing without losing items, you’ve come to the right place. That’s why we’ve refreshed this guide with improved formatting and more links to other helpful ACNH topics.


Clear The Island

empty space anch island

empty space anch island

It’s hard to clean a room when there’s so much stuff cluttering the floor, right? The same goes for every building, item, and piece of greenery found on your island. Start by moving all your buildings to the beach to maximize the amount of space available for designing and terraforming.

Having the space clear will help visualize how your final product will look like.

Clearing everything will take patience, but you can spend all that time doing research and planning while moving one building to the beach per day.

Store All Your Items

acnh storage expand

animal crossing new horizons expand storage space nook version 1.6 update

Items are thankfully much easier to move than buildings are and can be tucked away in your house until needed again. However, you may find your home’s storage reaching capacity due to the influx of outside items. Consider talking to Tom Nook to upgrade your item storage capacity from 1,600 to 2,400.

This is especially helpful for those who love to collect every variant of furniture or clothing items.

Entrust Your Flowers To A Friend

acnh flowers tulips

Animal crossing new horizons flower field

You may have collected a lot of gorgeous flowers during your life on the island, including some rare hybrid flowers that took ages to breed. Unfortunately, flowers can’t be stored, creating a space problem with two solutions (besides selling them).

Flowers can be planted on the beach, where they won’t grow or breed at all in the sand, but your beach will be filled with buildings at this point. The second solution is to get the help of a friend and entrust them with your flowers until your island is ready to blossom again.

It may require a few trips back and forth, but it saves a lot of headaches in the long run.

Related: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How To Customize Your Home’s Exterior

Consider Your Vision

animal crossing new horizons fountain area

animal crossing new horizons fountain area

Maybe you have a great idea in mind already, or you just want to wipe the slate clean and work from there. Whatever the case, it’s good to take the time to consider what will fill the acres of your island, as well as what items, flora, color, and paths you’ll use to do it.

You can browse other islands via Dream Suite, make a mood board, or take inspiration from an existing place such as Paris or Middle Earth. The possibilities are endless, so take as much time as you need to come up with exactly what you want.

Use A Planning Program

acnh island planner program

acnh island planner program

Programs like these are a lifesaver when it comes to redesigning an entire island. Being able to see what something will look like without having to sacrifice time and bells in the game is undeniably helpful.

If you work better in 3D space, check out bubble wand’s Island Planner. For a 2D planner that features a top-down view, try Happy Island Designer.

Remember, your planner doesn’t have to be perfect; a first draft never is.

Related: Best Wrong Ways To Play Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Use Patterns/Paths To Plot Beforehand

animal crossing new horizons path planning

animal crossing new horizons path planning

Whether you crave symmetry or love a loose and natural feel, you’ll want everything to be in the “right” place, especially since moving them can be such a pain. Add in cliffs and water, and it only gets more difficult, especially since buildings and items have certain constraints about how close they can be to cliffs and water.

A great idea is to put down paths or custom design patterns on the area you want your buildings or trees to go to make sure that don’t make any mistakes or run out of space in an area. After all, how frustrating is it to move a building only to realize you’ve placed it one space off and have to wait to try again?

Practice Terraforming Before Attempting

animal crossing new horizons waterfall island

animal crossing new horizons waterfall island

Terraforming can be confusing and painstaking, but once you get the hang of it, it will feel like muscle memory. Knowing how to build double waterfalls and make curves in cliffs opens up a world of possibilities for creativity.

Remember that what fish you can catch depends on the bodies of water present on your island: some fish are only in clifftop rivers, where others are only in ponds. If you’re trying to catch every fish, make sure to include these rivers and ponds in your design.

Always bring a ladder with you, and don’t be afraid to call Resetti if you’re in a tight spot.

Have A Gathering Spot For Villagers

villagers play music on beach acnh

villagers play music on beach acnh

This one is great to consider for the long term. Many residents will gather in the plaza of the Town Hall to do yoga, share drinks, or do other activities together. If you want villagers to interact with furniture and objects, however, they’ll have to be placed in other locations for them to enjoy.

It’s great to have a café or restaurant, but your joy may be dampened if no villagers ever visit. It’s good to consider making your areas accessible to help the AI along.

Villagers tend to favor open areas or easily accessible items, such as ones right outside their house or in wide-open spaces. They also love sitting under trees, no matter how many chairs or benches may be nearby!

Create What Makes You Happy

acnh sitting with villager goat

acnh sitting with villager goat

Ultimately, island ratings mean little in the grand scheme of things, especially if said rating gets in the way of your dream island. Forget the numbers, and forget what everyone else is doing: make an island that brings you joy to visit every time.

You want a massive circus island? Start clowning around! Can’t decide between a creepypasta tribute or a fairytale kingdom? Combine the two, and you’ll have an island that is truly unique and special.

Animal Crossing is about living a life that you choose; each game starts with the player striking out on their own to find a new home. Life can’t always be the way we want it to be, which makes simulation games like Animal Crossing so special: a home that’s all our own, neighbors that are friendly and funny, and a community that feels safe and welcoming. If you make your island your own, it’s certain to be spectacular.

Next: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – The Complete Guide

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