BOX OR TUB: when you own just a couple of LEGO sets you may store them in their original box or tub, or perhaps transfer them to a container with a lid. Because of the small quantity it is fairly easy to find parts, even though they may be all mixed together. And it is just plain fun to dig your hands into a tub of LEGO! 😉
MORE BOXES & TUBS: as your collection grows, you may find that it is very difficult to sort through a tubful of bricks just to find that one special part. You could end up spending more time looking for parts then building! It is time to reconsider your storing method. So you may get several boxes with lids and do some basic sorting between them; either by type or by color. I found plastic shoebox-size containers especially useful at this stage. They stack well too!
BOXES, TUBS & BAGGIES: boxes are great way to store large quantities of the same size and color bricks, but they are not so good at separating out small or special items like minifig parts, minifig tools, decorated pieces, etc. So, you may continue using your boxes and also separate some of your special parts out into small Ziploc baggies, then store the baggies in one of the boxes. Another method people may use for special parts is tackle boxes, used by fisherman. Both of these are fairly cheap options and work quite well.
As you acquire more LEGO and do some serious building however, you may outgrow these methods. It becomes too tedious to manage a bunch of boxes and baggies every time you want to build something. If you have more than 4-5 tubs and a handful of baggies you know exactly what I’m talking about!
STORAGE CABINETS: One of the best storage methods I have found is a small-parts storage cabinet system, often used in repair shops and garages to store screws, nails, hobby items, etc. These cabinets have lots of various size see-through drawers, and can be attached to a wall.
Below is a wonderful example of this storage system. This is fellow LEGO fan, Philip Stark’s LEGO space. See how bright, peaceful and clean it looks? It practically has the serenity of a meditation room! (Click on the picture to see a larger version at Philip’s own gallery.) I would love to build here! 🙂
These type of storage cabinets are available at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s, as well as Sears, Wal-Mart, Target and K-mart also carries them, but with less regularity and variety. There are also online stores like Amazon that have a nice selection. Here are some brands popular with LEGO fans (if you use Firefox and you have ABP turned on you may not be able to view these):
The cabinets cost about $20-$25. They usually have plastic frames, and are quite suitable for our purpose. Some more expensive cabinets come with a metal frame to be able to handle more weight, but for LEGO it is really not necessary.
I switched over to this method about a year ago, and I’m extremely happy with it! It is so much easier to find parts to build something! And it is a breeze to clean up!
For most LEGO fans this storage cabinet method coupled with a good sorting system is probably the most they would ever need. And you can always get more of these cabinets as your collection grows. However if you amass a very large quantity of parts there are similar storage cabinets in larger sizes, used in more industrial settings.
There is a very nice online gallery with a collection of pictures of LEGO fan’s storage systems. Check them out here! I’m sure you will find a system that works for you! 🙂