To say we have a lot of Legos is…an understatement. The kids love them, and Brian and I love them, and SOMEHOW we ended up with a lot of them! Such a mystery. Anyway, it got to the point where the kids couldn’t really play with them, because the whole surface of the Lego table (a train table that we use for Legos) was covered, and it was impossible to find anything in our super tidy storage system (giant storage tupperware filled with Legos.) Something had to be done. I looked on Pinterest, (because I never learn) but almost everything on there has Legos organized by COLOR and y’all. DON’T DO THAT. It may look nice, but if you want Legos to be usable to actually BUILD THINGS USING INSTRUCTIONS, you need to sort them by piece type. We made a half hearted attempt to do this once in the past, but we had no system for actually KEEPING them sorted, so they all ended up back in a giant mess of stuff. I was determined this summer to get them sorted for good. (Key point in my plan was the kids being gone for 3 weeks.)
So! I started by ordering one of these.
I knew it would take more than one, but I didn’t really have a good idea how many Legos it would hold, or if I’d want more small drawers or big ones, or what. I figured as I sorted I’d have a better idea what we needed. In the end, I bought 3 of that first cabinet, and one like this, with just the larger size drawers. I started by sorting out smallest pieces first, and I won’t lie, this is a giant pain. Tedious and time consuming, like sorting piece by piece through a 1000 piece puzzle to find the edges. I don’t actually mind doing this kind of stuff, but seriously, HOURS AND HOURS. I worked on this project pretty much daily for the 3 weeks my kids were visiting my parents. But I’m sure you don’t want a blow by blow of the sorting, so how about a look at the end product, eh? (Not my best pictures. Sorry about that.) These 4 cases are probably only about 1/2 of our Legos, volume-wise, but they keep all the teeny tiny pieces sorted and easy to find.
By the way, if it’s at all possible, I recommend keeping Legos in a room with a hard floor. Sweeping them up is far easier than picking them up one by one to keep them out of the vacuum. Also, you can see them on a wood floor, which lowers the chances that you’ll accidentally step on one and want to die.
The labeling system is Brian’s genius idea. I was wondering aloud how to name each individual piece and he said, “just glue one on the front.” BOOM. Brilliant. Especially since my kids have made up ridiculous names for various pieces that only they use. I just used a hot glue gun. Easy and, if it needs to be, reversible. (Hot glue is pretty easy to peel off plastic.)
As you can see, some drawers have more than one piece glued on the front, because the drawer holds more than one type of Lego. Other drawers only have one piece glued on the front even if they have more than that inside (generally if it has the same piece type in varying sizes.) Some drawers aren’t labeled because either they have a whole mess of stuff (drawer with all the rubber-band/string pieces) or because there are only 2 or 3 of a particular piece and I didn’t want to waste one by gluing it on the front. Honestly I was sort of winging it here. I figured I could change things if it wasn’t working. (So far it’s working.)
This is just to give you an idea of the size of the small drawers.
For the bigger pieces I used some bins we already had, because sorting these into drawers would have taken like 2 more of those cabinets. Those bins each have multiple sizes of the same kind. No specialty pieces. Bigger legos are considerably easier to sort through and find what you need. It’s those dang tiny bits that are the trouble makers.
And last, a little spaceship that I built, using the instructions from a set from 1987! (Yes, I have some very old Legos. That spaceship has like 4 different pieces that Lego doesn’t even make anymore.)
We tested the organized system by building some sets. Kalena picked a set that we own, using the paper instruction booklet, Will picked a set from lego.brickinstructions.com, not one we own, but that we figured we had all the pieces for. I’d guess they took slightly longer than opening a new set and building just with those pieces in front of you, but only slightly! Things were easy to find, the kids didn’t get frustrated, and Will enjoyed being able to pick different colors than the instructions showed. (We did have to sub a couple pieces on his- he picked a star wars set with a couple speciality pieces we don’t have.)
Anyway, ORGANIZED LEGOS WOOOO!!