I'm dying pretty recently in Minecraft, and I always have fear that my items will go to waste. I found out at this question that you're able to last with your items 5 minutes before they go away. Five minutes!! That's not a lot, so I want to know if it's possible to extend the amount of time you have, and if it is possible, what are all the ways you can do so?

Note that I don't want any command blocks, and I'm playing in a Survival world.

  • See also: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/244284/… Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 8:00
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    You can keep your items with /gamerule keepInventory true. Yes, it's a cheat, but you're allowed to cheat in single-player if you think it's more fun that way. Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 21:04
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    Oof. I always try and not cheat, so I guess that's off the list. But I'll keep that mind; thank you.
    – Potato
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 1:44
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    You say you don't want to use cheats, but you're asking about how to prevent something in the game from happening that you don't want. The correct way to do that is to enable the keepInventory option. Any other method of doing the same thing would be just as much a cheat. If you LIKE the exhilaration of rushing urgently to reclaim your lost items before they vanish, then by all means keep doing it that way, but if you're getting frustrated and not having fun, you may want to reconsider your opinion on cheats.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 23:19
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    @Potato It's not "cheating" if it's a single player game. If it's more fun for you, do it. You're not going to get arrested. It's not morally wrong. It's a video game.
    – user428517
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 2:38

6 Answers 6


In short, you can't, except for circumstances which are difficult or impractical to engineer deliberately. Items dropped on the ground will always vanish after five minutes, subject to the following exceptions:

  • Dropped items can be collected by a hopper or by some mobs. Once a mob has picked up anything, it is no longer capable of despawning. But if you have enough time and wherewithal to set either of these things up, then you probably aren't going to die in the first place.
  • The five-minute timer does not run when the chunk (where the item was dropped) is unloaded, and as a result it will not run if you are not in the same dimension as the item, or far enough away (but on multiplayer, other players could cause chunks to load even if you do not).
  • As explained in other answers, there is a command to disable dropping items, but it does not work when playing in survival with cheats disabled, so I assume that you are not interested in using it.

My advice:

  • Try to die less often. Make and equip a shield. Make and equip iron or better armor and a weapon (axe or sword, usually). Avoid digging straight up or straight down, and exercise appropriate prudence when exploring underground or in other dangerous areas. Don't go raiding a Woodland Mansion or other dangerous structures until you are reasonably confident that you can survive it.
  • If you are playing over a large area, make and use beds frequently in the Overworld (they do not work in other dimensions). Try to ensure that you will always respawn near your place of death. If you're in the nether, use respawn anchors when given the chance.
  • If you die in the Nether and respawn in the Overworld, do not immediately return to the Nether. Gather equipment and resources first, since the timer is not running.
  • Don't carry any item which you are unlikely to need for your current activity. If you're mining, you don't need a hoe. If you're exploring aboveground, a pickaxe is probably necessary... but does it really need to be your diamond pickaxe? And so on. Put everything that you don't strictly need in a container (barrel or chest) in your base.
  • Collect as many materials as possible, even if you already have an adequate supply. Mined materials such as coal or iron can usually be crafted into blocks for compact storage, as can wheat. Inevitably, you're going to lose some valuable items at some point, so prepare for this by collecting enough extra stuff to make up for it.
  • Use materials prudently. You probably don't need to make a diamond hoe, or even a diamond shovel. Most tools are just fine if you make them out of iron, or even stone. If most of your equipment is iron or stone, you will fear the loss of your diamond equipment less, since fewer diamonds will have gone into it, and you will have more in storage.
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    “Do not immediately return to the Nether” only applies if you're playing in a singleplayer world. It's a bit different in LAN; if somebody else is in the Nether, the timer still runs.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 18:02
  • This is a good set of advice; I would add, as kind of a corollary to "don't carry any item which you don't need", to make liberal and frequent use of chests or other storage devices while mining or while anywhere dangerous. Keep a chest in your inventory and as soon as you see a dangerous situation develop, slap it down and stash your valuables into it. It will last forever. Of course, you'll need to find it again, but at least you can take your time to do so.
    – CCTO
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 18:06
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    @CCTO: Indeed, and in the late/post-game, you might carry an Ender Chest and/or Shulker Boxes to make this strategy even more effective.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 18:18
  • is it impossible with commands too? Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 23:59
  • @NooneAtAll: Other answers have covered the command which disables dropping items (with cheats enabled). As far as I'm aware, there is no cheat that increases the length of time a dropped item persists. Regardless, this answer is focused on survival mode without the use of cheats. I will edit the answer to clarify that.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 2:56

You can use "/gamerule keepInventory true". But that requires cheats to be turned on.

So if you mean no cheats by commandblocks, that's out.

I myself would just enjoy the minecraft experience and learn from my mistakes. If I die once I won't die same way again.

  • +1 for keepInventory. I wish they had had that when I was first starting out. It's an excellent pair of training wheels that you can remove whenever you're ready. Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 1:20

Vanilla Tweaks has a data pack called 'Graves' that stores your items upon death.

I've installed it but haven't needed it!


Items only despawn in loaded chunks (those being the chunks around the world spawn, a chunk or so radius around your Nether and End portals, and areas that are actively on your render distance at a given time).

If you died a far distance away, and the area that you died in isn't in a loaded chunk, then your items can last indefinitely until you load in the chunks with the items in it again; in which case the 5 minute despawn timer will resume.


You didn't mention whether you're playing single player, so this might or might not be an option. But in case it is:

There are mods, such as "deathchest", which will put your items into a chest or similar object when you die. This prevents them from despawning (as they aren't loose items). If you're playing single player or can talk to whoever admins your world, it might be worth looking into such mods.

(note: I haven't played minecraft in quite a while, not sure which if any such mods are up to date)


If you don't load the chunk that you died in, the timer won't change. My best advice is to get as far away from your death spot as possible until you are ready to reclaim it.

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