Friday, August 5, 2011

READER REQUEST: Lego Organization
Organizing the instruction manuals to the Legos are one thing. The actual Legos are apparently another. Like I said in my other post - I have all girls. The ideas I'm about to give are not out of keep that in mind. But, hopefully these tips will help you find a great Lego system that works for you.

Tip 1: Don't sort by color or type. If I had Legos, this would be hard for me not to do. However, chances are they will just end up a big "mess" again...and all your sorting goes down the drain. Not only will all the Legos get unsorted, but I think the actual looking for the pieces is good for the child. It teaches them to discriminate between Legos that look very similar. And it makes the project take longer (and what parents doesn't want their child to work uninteruppted for a longer period of time?!).
  • Exception: When the Lego collector is older, it may be more helpful to sort by type. But for young kids - stay away from this hyper-vigilant organization. 
  • Do sort by size. I can think of nothing more annoying (well, that's not entirely true) than needing to find a wheel in the midst of large pieces. So, do keep a bin to put the smaller items. A tackle box or bead box would work great for this and can be found at any craft store.
  • You may also want to keep any people and people accessories in a box by themselves.

Tip 2: Have a "no more than" rule. Your child (husband, roommate, etc) can only have X number of Lego projects out at one time. Maybe that number is 2 if you're tight on space. Maybe it's 4. Not only will that help with not having an disorganized space, but it will teach kids to finish a project before moving onto the next.

Tip 3: Create a "My Creations" notebook. Instead of keeping every thing out that they have created from their Legos, take a picture of it and put it in a notebook. That way, they can dismantle it and reuse the pieces without losing their work.

Tip 4: Have a designated space for the creations they are working on, the ones that are finished but they don't want to dismantle, as well as the container of loose pieces. It may be an entire shelf on a bookcase. It may be the fireplace mantle. Be as strict or loose with that space depending on what works for your family. If it were me, I'd say no Legos in my room. Or the formal living room. Or the kitchen. Or the laundry room. You get the picture. Legos should stay in their space.

Tip 5: Get creative on the space. Short on space? Think high and low. Is there room underneath the coffee table for a decorative basket that can hide Legos? Short on floor space? Can you hang some shelves on the wall? Or get bins that stack on top of each other. Haven't used that Fondue pot you got for your wedding? Hide some in there. Yes, I'm kidding about that one. Short on money? Use gallon size plastic bags to keep the sets organized. Go around your home and look at space differently and creatively.

Tip 6: Train table. For kids who are aging out of train tables, convert it into a Lego table. Put the loose Legos in the bottom drawers and they can use the top to construct.

Tip 7: Think and plan. Your storage and organization will depend on many factors, including (but not limited to!):
  • How many Lego sets do you have? And how many Legos you have that don't even go to a set? Do your children like to be creative with all the pieces or do they tend to make the set over and over again without taking artistic liberty?
    • Do you want to keep the sets together? Or is it okay to have them all in one bin?
  • How much time is spent on playing Legos?
    • Don't spend tons of money, time, and energy on something that rarely gets played with (unless you think that the lack of organization is the reason for the lack of playing!).
  • What is your budget and what space limitations?
While researching for this post, I happened across a Wikihow post on different ways to store Legos. But before you buy any containers or start conceiving any grand storage solution ideas, be sure to answer the questions above to figure out to what extent you want to organize.

Happy constructing! Be sure to post below if you have a Lego organization that works for you!


  1. OK-- I'll weigh in, because I think I've found a great solution for little kid Lego families.

    The thing with Legos is that you need to be able to see all of them in order to find the exact piece you want. But that can mean you dump out the whole lot-- NOT COOL at clean up time.

    The solution? Straight from my friend PaigeC:
    A giant drawstring bag-- big enough to fit the Legos and stretch out flat when you're ready to play. So you can see everything you need AND clean-up is a snap-- just tighten the strings and store the whole thing in a bin/shelf/whatever.
    I made mine out of an old flannel baby blanket and some ribbon-- it took me about 15 minutes with zero sewing required.

    Hope that can help!

  2. To add to Melissa's comment, we use a huge under-the bed storage container ... you can see lots of lego, root through them, and (hopefully) only what you want leaves the box.

  3. Like your tip above, we put all the train tracks and parts in the drawers of the train table and now use the table for Lego building and playing. Really like the idea of taking pictures of the creations -- that might help Junius let go of a few :)