Sunday, April 17, 2016

7 Tips for Lego Storage & Organization

I've known for years that when we had kids I wanted them to be Lego lovers. I have so many memories of playing and building Legos with my brother as a kid. And Legos have only gotten better with even more themes, kits, ideas, and pieces. Yet they've held on to their classic appeal for fostering some amazing creativity.

I was so determined to have a Lego loving kid in the house that when Big Brother was only 3 months old I couldn't pass up an amazing deal on a GIANT tub of Legos at a yard sale . . . much to my husband's surprise.

Flash forward 6 years . . . and while I'm still really excited about how much he loves his Legos I'm also a little surprised at how much our collection has grown. In addition to the original tub I bought he's been given many sets over the last two years for birthday and Christmas presents, purchased a few of his own sets, and been given hand me downs from neighbors and older friends.

About 6 months ago I knew we had to get our Lego collection better organized, they were everywhere! After several months of tweaking our system, we've reached a great place with how they're organized.

7 Tips for Lego Storage & Organization

1. Invest in a collection of shallow bins for storing all the Legos. 
This was a tip I saw early on over at Modern Parents Messy Kids. The idea of a shallow bin is that it is easier to sort through when looking for pieces which leads to less dumping of the whole bin. This definitely worked for us when we switched from one deep bin to many small bins.

Our bins of choice are 6.2 Qts. They measure 15" x 11.5" x 3.25". The lids open easily and they stack nicely together on a shelf. 

2. Find a good shelf for storing all the bins and other Lego materials. 
In our case, I had my husband build this shelf for our playroom. The top and the first shelf are both dedicated to the Lego collection. We can stack 4 bins high and three bins across the shelf (although we're not quite there yet in our collection.) On the side of the shelf we also keep the Lego plates, Lego idea books, and a file folder of Lego directions. For now, the bottom parts of the shelf hold other toys, but I imagine as Little Brother also gets interested in Legos our boxes will expand on to other shelves too. 

3. Use a plastic expandable file folder to hold onto kit directions. 
We have a bright, green plastic expandable file folder to store all the kit directions. The file folder allows us to sort the directions into different categories. At this point Big Brother doesn't usually go back and create from the directions, but they're there in case he decides he wants to. 

4. Create a space for a set number of "finished" or "in-progress" projects. 
There was a time where the current projects Big Brother had created were spilling all over the playroom. Of course this was problematic for several reasons. Instead of projects having free reign, I purchased these two shallow baskets at TJMaxx which now live on the top of the shelf. Big Brother is able to keep whatever projects he wants in these baskets, and these baskets alone. It really has helped control the Lego clutter. 

5. Use tackle boxes to store and sort smaller Lego pieces. 
This idea stemmed from a cool tip I had seen over at Play at Home Mom about how they stored Playmobile pieces in their playroom. It clicked with us based on our Lego needs, and we now use plastic tackle boxes to sort the smaller Lego pieces. We started with one box, and quickly realized we needed a second one. One box contains all the pieces connected to Lego people: heads, bodies, legs, helmets, tools, etc. The other box contains wheels, plants, small circles, cones, gears, etc. We have not sorted all of our smaller pieces, but enough of the pieces so that if someone is building and looking for something small and specific they can easily find it. 

6. Find a table that works for your builder. 
There are so many amazing ideas out there for building or converting a table into a Lego table. After experimenting with a few different tables we already had on hand, we realized based on how Big Brother likes to build he needed something longer and thinner. So again I called on my husband to build something custom for our playroom. Big Brother can fit several bins across the back and still have space in the front for creating. This has been a big help in keeping the Lego process off the floor and not where people (Mama included) can step on them. 

Because we know building a table is not really practical for everyone, a great alternative to a homemade table is a longer plastic kid-sized picnic table. Or, better yet, take some time to observe what kind of space your builder likes best and see what you might already have on hand to modify. 

7. And don't forget about the Duplos! 
With two kiddos, aged 3 and 6, we're in the stage where we have both Duplos and Legos in the playroom. For Duplos, our go to tip has been to use a padded storage container to store them. This way it can be both a seat and a container. 

At this point we're pretty pleased with how our Lego organization system has evolved. Big Brother can easily find the pieces he's looking for, he has a place to keep current projects, and there are less Legos all over the house. I still can't promise all Legos are accounted for . . . but it's definitely better! 

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  1. The storage of LEGO is such an important part of playing with LEGO. It can be a challenge to organize all those little pieces. I like your solution!

    1. Thanks! And I agree that if you can't see all your materials it limits your creativity with them.

  2. I like how these ideas really make sense. I have had a ton of ideas in the past that are not actually functional. These ideas seem like they would be! And they are aesthetically pleasing as well! Great ideas.

    1. Thanks Deanna, our system has been evolving over the last year and I feel like we've finally reached the place I want to be with the organization of them.