Anyone who's played Skyrim for some time by now probably knows that some unpleasant things can happen when your game saves start to become too large. One solution I've heard of is to wait for about a month, so that old dungeons clear out of the save data. Aside from this, is there anything else that can be done to reduce the save size?

For example, if I reduce my inventory or the contents of my houses, would that help?

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    It should probably be noted that this mainly only affects the PS3 version of the game if auto-save is enabled, and should be fixed in the forthcoming 1.4 patch.
    – user3389
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 8:36
  • It still seems to affect the PS3 if auto-save is disabled, in my experience.
    – Iszi
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 9:42
  • I've always assumed that searching a large number of containers contributed to the issue, especially if you leave them non-empty, due to the memory concerns. I don't have any evidence of this though. Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 16:41
  • Not an answer per say, but this may help: gaming.stackexchange.com/q/49012/8581 Its a post that mentions how to try and get dropped world items to go away. (Don't have a PS3 version to test this on)
    – James
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 1:38
  • Skyrim needs a mod similar to Clean Up (by kuertee) for Oblivion. Mod description: "Prevents saved-game file-size bloating by cleaning the game of actor and item references that are no longer required. (e.g. inactive references created from dropped items that were picked-up by the player.) Cleans long-dead actors that may have been corrupted somehow." More info on how it works on its download page. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 7:56

4 Answers 4


The best thing you can do is minimize your interaction with objects, esp trash objects. Skyrim has to track the position of every cup you knock off the table, so the more you disturb the "natural" world, the bigger your save file becomes.

You can also allow time to pass (as you mentioned), turn off or reduce the number of autosaves, and keep 2GB of free space on your hard drive.

See also: Tips to Reduce Skyrim Lag

Edit: It seems the PS3 has a safe mode feature that may also help; it's linked in the 2GB free space link.

  • 7
    This is a bit tricky to do, when you're Shouting "Fus Ro Dah!" everywhere you go.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 17:34
  • 5
    What's Skyrim w/out Fus Ro Dah'ing a dinner table?
    – Ryre
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 17:38
  • 1
    Personally, I prefer jumping on long dining tables and running the full length of it. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:45

If you're playing on a platform that supports mods, install the Unofficial Skyrim Patch (USKP) (original / Legendary Edition - PC) / (Special Edition - PC) / (PS4 / PS5) / (Xbox One / Xbox Series X/S). Among its fixes are (emphasis mine):

  • NPCs will no longer drop weapons or shields as separate objects, as these are never cleaned up which greatly adds to save bloating and litters the gameworld (the items will still appear to be dropped, but will access the corpse's inventory to be taken and be cleaned up with the corpse if left).
  • Ghostly Remains, Ice Piles and Wisp Cores will no longer permanently remain and bloat the save file (they will either disappear on exit of the cell or when the cell resets).
  • Civil war map flags are not displaying properly. This is due to a bug in CWMapActivatorScript which does not clean up placed flag activators. The fix also removes bloat from excess flags that have been accumulating. It will be necessary to visit each affected map twice before the cleanup can take effect on existing saves though.

Note that the official patches have now fixed ash piles and nirnroots not being properly cleaned up.

Another option to fix already bloated save game files is by using Skyrim Script Extender's (SKSE) ClearInvalidRegistrations console command.

As per SKSE's v1.6.7 changelog:

add console command ClearInvalidRegistrations to remove invalid OnUpdate() registrations

This prevents orphaned OnUpdate() events and the resulting bloated/broken saves when removing certain mods. When applied to an already bloated save, it will stop growing further and instead shrink over time as the game processes all queued events. This may take hours depending on the amount of bloat.

To execute automatically after each reload, add this to \Data\SKSE\skse.ini:


Related forum discussions about this SKSE feature:


This is what works for me, but it is a SLOW process!

What I have been doing is going back to old locations (starting with Helgen), and stealing EVERYTHING. clear old areas out of all loose items! Then I sell it.

I think it removes those loose items from the game entirely. So far, I have gone through Helgen, Bleak Falls Barrow, and stolen everything loose from Riverwood.

I have gone from a 37meg save file, to a 18.9 meg save file. Game runs a lot better, freezes are happening far less.

Just note, make sure you know where there is a fence to sell your stolen things.


Use the Possessive Corpses no more lazy zombies and shy nirnroots mod. It removes a fair bit of bloat causes, with more to come.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. It looks like I forgot to mention I'm on a PS3 again. No mods for me.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 17:28
  • 1
    In that case I would suggest at least picking up the dropped weapons of all fallen enemies. Unlike most other things, these will never be removed automatically. If you can't spare the carry weight, you can just put the weapons back "inside" the corpse, and they will be despawned along with it.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 17:48

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