Lego storage solutions


Hi Lissanne,
Hoping you can give some tips on keeping Lego under control.  My 12 year old son has so much of it that to make it slightly more manageable I split it up into ice-cream containers into colours so it would be easier to find the pieces but now we have like 50 ice-cream containers on the floor and on shelves and whilst it is a bit more organised, it hasn’t really solved the problem.  I’m sure I’m not the only Mum suffering from Lego taking over the floor.  I did consider a drawer type arrangement but all the ones I’ve seen in department store catalogues are pretty ugly.  I am currently at a loss.  Hope you can make some suggestions.
Thanks,
Lego Lady

Supatool

Image stolen from http://www.bunnings.com.au

Dear Lego Lady

Well, I first I must ask, who is looking after said Lego and trying to keep it under control?  Is it you, or your son?  If it’s you, well… are you sure it should be you?  It’s his stuff, his responsibility and really, if he can’t take care of it, then perhaps it should go to a kid who does value looking after it (tough love, sorry, I’m clearly ripe for an episode of World’s Strictest Parents).

Second, how much is enough?  It doesn’t matter what type of content we’re talking but the less you have, the less time, effort and money it takes to wrangle.  Is the collection going to continue growing?  Do you need a Lego room? Or could we build extra room out of said Lego?  Will there be a limit to the size of Lego land?

Regardless of size of the collection, you shouldn’t need more than a dozen categories or containers at absolute most. Lego, I hear, is best sorted by colour (I am no expert), as this is the fastest and easiest way to find which pieces are needed, particularly when building from a set or map. Size shouldn’t matter too much. But it will depend on how your son like to access the pieces too, so good idea to check with him that colour is the best way.

If colour is the best way, 8 colours should do the trick – black, grey, red, yellow, white, light grey, blue and green.  All the other bits and bobs (heads, roadsigns, helicopter blades, itsy-bitsy weeny tiny transparent pieces that stab you in the foot) can go into another category or even sub catergories on their own but I think this image below will give you the best clues.  Genuis, isn’t it? Credit must go to the lovely Whitney from Raisin4.blogspot.com.

Quite possibly the most perfect Lego storage ever.
Image used with permission from http://raisin4.blogspot.com

Lego storage

Used with kind permission from http://raisin4.blogspot.com

She’s used a good-lookin’ tool box (Australian shoppers will find plenty of choice at your hardware store, the feature image above is a well spent $99) with drawers that appear to be beyond perfect for lego. Wide, deep, rubber lined, and nice and solid. Not plastic. Sexy. bear in mind many of these tool drawers also come with wheels.  Yep. Even sexier.

For the full story, Whitney’s original blog post is here.

If this look and feel isn’t for you, or for younger kids, a drawstring mat has been another popular choice for some time – maybe back to the 1970’s even? You’ll find plenty of beautiful choices on Etsy.

I hope these storage ideas help, but remember containerisation is just part of the game.  The real trick is putting away on a regular basis!

TIP: there’s no perfect container until you’ve mastered maintenance.

TIP:  Use a small (clean) dustbroom and pan – kept with the lego – to ensure a quick clean up!  Perfect for when kids dexterity is still developing and picking up little bits a challenge.

If you are still craving more Lego storage solutions, I need to refer you to my all-knowing colleague, Jeri Danksy.  Go to jdorganizer.blogspot.com and punch Lego into the search bar (top left).  You will find many more ideas!

Also, Pinterest is a good source.

GOOD LUCK LEGO LADY!

19 responses to “Lego storage solutions

  1. Wow, that’s a huge toolbox. A bonus might be using it for tools, or something else entirely, once the kids have grown out of Lego.

    • I would SO LOVE A TOOLBOX. I would actually put my tools in it. Good idea though Olivia, I reckon there would be plenty of repurposing that could be done once kids have outgrown it. Creative supplies spring to mind, or a kitchen that doesn’t feature enough drawers (like my own kitchen).

  2. I am lucky in that I have only just entered the world of Lego with my 4yo. I decided to get it all organized from the get go in the hope that he would take responsibility from the start. So far it seems to be working. I blogged about my system here: http://livingsimplybutwell.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/lego-organistion.html
    Since then I have also added a small basket that I had lying around for the “works in progress” to go in at the end of the day.

  3. I like (no, I love) the tool box. Not for leggo but for my various art & paper craft materials. Drawers are ideal storage but are generally too deep & small items get buried too easily. This would be a great solution – big enough to be useful, shallow enough keep everything visible.

  4. I’m working on Lego sorting solution for my 5 year old and have a problem with the sort-by-colour options usually suggested. When looking for a particular piece to build a set, it is the size and shape of the piece that is more important than the colour. Trying to find a tiny red tile in a big box of red is near on impossible, but picking out a red tile from a box of assorted coloured tiny tiles is far easier. Also, I find my son is usually happy to substitute a different colour if we can’t find the right one but it has to be the right shape. Of course, it requires a lot more categories and sorting and I’m nowhere near close yet, but we’re using a combination of different types of containers and I’m hopeful that we’ll eventually get to a system that is both easy to maintain and easy to use…..maybe….!
    Oh, I also try to keep complete sets separate for as long as possible, as my son prefers to build in sets with instructions, and only put pieces into the general storage system when they become separated from the rest of their set. I use clear tupperware style containers for that, with the instructions on top so we can see what set it is at a glance.

    • Good point, Karen! Sets kept together can provide much value. And piece size too (rather than colour). If you wanted to use the tool chest concept above, you could perhaps divvy up the drawers for small, medium and large pieces – that would help. A divider or shallow tray would help (even old take away containers perhaps?). Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi Lissanne, OMG I love it! This beats tacky looking, easily breakable plastic drawer things hands down. I feel a visit to Bunnings coming on in the very near future. I asked my son to read your reply and he tells me that “he does take good care of his Lego”, well, yes, he does treat it with respect, i.e. it’s clean and not broken but as for it being in one place and tidy, that’s a whole other thing – the ice cream container solution is just not working and it’s usually my son’s wonderful Nana who rounds it up when she just can’t stand it any more (then there is much complaining from my son that “it’s in the wrong container!”). So, thank you and also thanks to Whitney for this fab idea. I hadn’t even considered a huge tool chest. It looks very sexy indeed and when finally the Lego phase runs it’s course, it will be perfect for my craft supplies. A very big thanks from me. Karen aka Lego Lady.

    • Thanks Lego Lady! Thrilled you shared the post with your son. ORganising is a life skill we can teach kids – super important 🙂

      Thanks for submitting your question too – I know it will be of value to others.

  6. I find the habit of sorting by color a mystery myself. We
    always sort by size and shape. Is this perhaps the difference
    between the pragmatic builders mind (the engineer) and the flowery
    colourful mind (the artist)? IN any case I find it much easier to
    sift through the pieces of a given size or shape for the colours I
    want than the other way around not least because colour is
    secondary (If the piece fits and I’m out of the colour I need,
    another will do, the reverse is not true). Categories though at
    present are simple enough, 1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 1xN, 2xN, flats, slopes,
    specials … and that’s all we have. but getting at the rise
    shaped/size part is far more important than colour.

    • Great to hear from you Bernd, and wonderful to hear how your retrieve your pieces. You’ve given some new direction for budding engineers- truly! Thanks again for stopping by.

  7. Crazy–I have combined both philosophies, I have segregated all the unusual shapes and categorized them, yet the common shapes I have segregated into colours such as 1×2, 2×4 etc

  8. Pingback: Another great Lego storage idea |·

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