I love Lego, I really do. But when it comes to storing it, it drives me nuts because we have so darn much of the stuff - not that I can complain because I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to buying yet another Lego set for
myself the boys. Actually, I was a little hesitant about
whether to do a dedicated post to Lego storage since it’s something I don’t
feel I’ve perfected, but our system might be ideal for someone else’s
household. And who knows, perhaps someone will leave a comment with the most
amazing and inspiring “how to store Lego” idea ever (or at least will
commiserate with how difficult it is to control Lego brick mountains).
How we store Lego seems to be a constantly evolving thing, but at the moment we’re on about version 3.2. First came the “chuck it all in the big blue tub” method. I thought that perhaps my impulse to organise everything was creating an unnecessary urge to create a more sophisticated system, and that really it might be best for the kids if they could just toss it all into one place. But it didn’t work. Hubby and I were in constant demand to help the children find the Lego piece they needed. The tiniest bits of Lego were getting broken at the bottom of the box. Something had to be done.
So I bought a dozen of these Ikea 365+ storage containers and created Lego Storage V2. This was a way of organising Lego bricks based on size. My reasoning was that if the kids were building a car – or whatever - they were more likely to be looking for a certain sized brick to fit a gap, rather than be more worried about getting a colour match. But this turned out to be a stupid way of organising Lego (don’t do it). My youngest still had to ask me which piece was where and bricks would be put away in any old box, so that I soon had 12 small containers of random bricks. I have no idea what I was thinking with this system, but it led me onto the next version which works much better.
Lego Storage V3
This is how we sort and store our Lego now:
Almost all of our Lego bricks are organised by colour. It did take a long time for me and the kids to sort out their Lego collection into all the different boxes, but it’s been worth it! The kids virtually always know where to find the piece they need and parts very rarely get put away into the wrong box.
We also have a box for “figures”, “vehicles” and “miscellaneous”. I created the separate “vehicle” box to hold wheels, headlight pieces and all of the other bricks that go into creating model cars because transport is such a popular theme for my boys’ own creations that those bits really deserved a dedicated container. “Miscellaneous” is for unusually coloured bits (I don’t need an entire container to hold half a dozen tiny gold bricks!), but also having a box for odd shaped pieces helps deal with over flow. So specially moulded castle bricks go in “miscellaneous” rather than our full to the brim grey container. Doing things this way means that a handful of bricks fall under two or three of the labels, but we don’t tend to worry too much about which one they go in. Sifting through a couple of small containers to find the bit you need is still easier than rifling through a big box.
Although my boys love making their own creations, they also love many of the themed sets and tend to play with them for a long time before getting bored and taking them apart. We now house larger sets in baskets, which stops them getting really dusty as tends to happen with models that are left out in the open for long periods. Lego is a dust magnet.
The boys also have a basket for their creations that they want to keep a while for playing.
Smaller sets and add ons get stored in document boxes, labelled with a picture on the front. For example, the Hogwarts Castle and other large Harry Potter sets are in baskets, but since the boys sometimes just want to use the mini figures with their own Lego creations I keep them in a document box where they more are easily accessible.
Eventually my boys might get tired of a set and want to use the bricks for their own creations. So we keep all the manuals for when they might want to build it again. I corral all the themes in separate plastic sleeves to make it easier to find the instructions you want, but then they just get tossed in a document box. Since it is for the benefit of my boys it helps to keep the system simple.
But what is next for organising our Lego? With Christmas and a birthday in December we’re sure to outgrow our current system. I’ve got something like this in mind:
This Trofast unit was adapted by Jen from I Heart Organizing as Lego storage and is about the only practical solution I’ve been able to find on the internet for people with as much Lego as us! I’ve been holding off because we have the occasional small visitor to our home who would have the drawers pulled out and tipped over the floor in the blink of an eye, so if you have a better suggestion I would love to hear it J