Ginny's son loves playing with LEGOs, and Ginny is an expert at cleaning up the mess.
Is It Time to Organize Your LEGOs?
My son's idea of playing with LEGOs is to dump them all out in his room, so the entire floor is covered in thousands of small pieces. He will sit in the middle of this mess and create cars, planes, and alien spacecraft until he comes scrambling out looking for food!
As a parent, I am tickled pink to see him use his creativity. He designed a robot army that stood guard on his nightstand for a solid week! After visiting a National Park, he went back into his room, dumped all the bricks on the floor, and came out an hour later with his own picnic area, complete with a grizzly bear that terrorized the visitors.
I just love seeing what his imagination conjures up!
It's Clean Up Time
And then comes Saturday morning! Every Saturday morning we all pitch in for a couple of hours to make sure that the entire house gets a good cleaning, and that includes his room.
Being like almost any nine year old boy, picking up after himself is not one of his strengths. Sure enough, scattered throughout the room lay thousands of tiny pieces.
I can't vacuum until they are all picked up and that takes more than a few minutes (especially at the pace of a not-so-enthusiastic nine year old cleaner!)
It turned out that the reason he puts them all on the carpet is that he can't find the pieces he wants when he plays. After doing a lot of research, I found a few ideas to solve that exact problem.
Store Them As a Set
Many kids like to keep all the pieces organized together in the set they came in. If you have the room, it may be worthwhile to keep the original box as collectors will pay a premium for the original pieces in the original box. That makes it very easy to keep the instruction book as well!
The drawback is that the boxes take up a lot of space, and if storage space is an issue, this may not be practical. Heck, part of the fun is to create your own designs!
Store Them by Color
This option makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. Think about how your child looks for a piece. I bet the first thing that they look for is the color. After isolating the colors, they look for the right size and shape. So, why not organize them by color?
I found great success using disposable tupperware containers. They are cheap, stackable, and translucent. It is easy to see what color is contained inside and because they are stackable, they will fit in drawers or on shelves neatly.
Store them by Type
Did you know that there are official names of the different sizes and shapes of LEGOs? If you aren't familiar with them, go to the Official Pick-a-Brick website and see for yourself. The picture to the right is a sample of the different categories.
Instead of calling a thin piece a "flatsie" or "shortie" you can place them in the appropriate category of "Plate."
A large parts organizer may be needed to accommodate all the different groupings.
Store Them All Together
Frankly, this is one of my favorite ways to store LEGOs! Dump them all in a big bin. There is no order. No cleanliness. No sir! This is a big toy box filled with thousands and thousands of your favorite pieces.
Imagine reaching deep into the chest and running your fingers through them.
The benefit of this is that they are all in one place. It is easy to close the lid and the mess goes away!
Of course, the drawback is that a particular, small piece will be all but impossible to easily find.
An often underutilized space is beneath the bed. There is a lot of space available and it can be utilized with the right storage containers. In fact, some of the under-bed storage containers have wheels on them which makes it a lot easier to pull out (and more importantly, put BACK!)
Open up the lid, dump the pieces in and slide it right back under. With an easy solution like this, your kids will have a hard time coming up with excuses as to why they did not pick up after themselves. Surely, they will make a valiant attempt!
There is no One-Size-Fits-All approach to organizing these treasured toys! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your child's collection will grow. As it expands, their organization needs will change. It is very easy to start with very inexpensive LEGO storage containers. For less than $10, a set of lidded, disposable Gladware container will keep them organized and neat!
- Look for creative storage ideas around your home. I repurposed an old Side Board that was in our dining room to store my collection. I have seen folks use Apothecary Chests and old Sewing Thread Displays for their collections.
- Don't forget about storing the instruction booklets too. I added clear plastic sleeves to a three-ring binder and kept the instructions safely protected. All of them remained together and up on a shelf until my son wanted to use them.
- For small collections, consider using 2 gallon Ziplock bags. You really can't get much easier than that! Pack some bricks into the bag and zip it up. If you are looking to keep a set together with the instruction book, then add all of the items together and seal it up!
- I also used ziplock bags to store the sets that were already put together. When I was transferred, I put as many as I could into bags and that made it easy for the movers to pack. I guarantee that some of the pieces will fall off in the move, but because they were stored in a Ziplock, it was easy to put them back together.
MopHolder on April 15, 2015:
It will be helpful for you to provide organizer.
Tom Fattes from Naperville, IL on September 25, 2014:
I am currently using storage bins and an old dresser to keep lego bricks in. I also use gallon size freezer bags to separate bricks by color or to keep a set together.
Garyd214 on November 17, 2013:
If you also have a growing LEGO Minifigure collection, let me suggest the new Brick Rack display case.
It will hold, organize and display 175+ minifigures.
Examples at www.brickrack.com
Ron L Mitchell from Knoxville, Tennessee on April 12, 2012:
When my Lego brick collection was small I simply kept them all in a large plastic tub such as may be found in many retail chains. I would dump them out onto an old white flat sheet and when it came time to clean them up I would grab all four corners, lift and set in the tub for next time.
Now I use a variety of containers. I have clear fishing tackle boxes to store smaller pieces in, a large tackle box for wings and mid-size parts and the big parts go into small plastic tool boxes. It mostly all fits into a huge tube for storage when not is use.
Good article and hope these tips from a 30 year builder help as well...
Ingenira on March 26, 2012:
Wow, these are excellent tips to keep me (a mom) happy with a tidier house. Thanks !