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How to store your LEGO?

by admin on December 7, 2010

in Care & Feed of LEGO

You may first start your LEGO hobby by purchasing one set at a retail store, or one tub of used LEGO at a garage sale. So how to store your treasure?

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! :)

And you may also like to check out these posts:
How to sort your LEGO?
Cleaning dirty LEGO
Cleaning dusty LEGO
LEGO is an Investment!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh January 10, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Wow this really helps me a lot so thank you.

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admin January 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

You are welcome, Josh! :)

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endankine March 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Nice solutions! Thanks! No more stepping on bricks everywhere! LOL!

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pete May 21, 2011 at 7:28 AM

WOW this really helped me THANK YOU so much

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LegoMom June 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Although those little storage cabinets with lots of little compartments are great for adults and for older kids for obvious reasons, for younger kids it is a bit too much organization. For them tubs are great. We have some of the Lego creator tubs and they work great.
Also, have you seen those playmats? Those are really great for the quick cleanup of a project!

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Kevin July 17, 2011 at 3:01 AM

I too use the Akro-Mills drawer sets. They are very useful for the specialized LEGO Technic and Mindstorm parts. In addition, for standard bricks, I use Sterilite 3-Drawer Bins. And for mobile storage, I use Plano fishing tackle boxes.
I have some examples here: http://www.brickengineer.com/pages/2007/10/09/storing-your-lego-collection/

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admin July 17, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Kevin, nice point about the tackle-boxes. It can be very useful for someone who needs to carry their LEGO around to shows, displays, etc.

BTW, I’m looking for someone who would write an introduction article for LEGO robotics. Let me know if you are interested. ;)

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Bug May 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Did you get someone to write the article yet? If not I should be able to as I like the Mindstorms and other robotics.

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admin May 14, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Bug, no Kevin never got around to it, so yeah, if you are interested go ahead. ;)

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Bug May 14, 2013 at 9:13 PM

What kind of introduction did you want? A basic overview of the sets and an overview of what you can do with them?

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admin May 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM

That works fine, or whatever you feel like would be helpful for readers. There are different ways to approact the subject; write for first-times, share some interesting aspects, your own personal experiences, etc. I prefer that people write when they get inspired rather than telling them what to do. :)

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Bug May 16, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Ok I will email it to you when it is done.

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admin May 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Sounds good. :)

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Bug May 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Did you get the email? If you don’t like the article tell me and I will modify it for you.

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admin May 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM

I think I got both of your emails – right? You send me two? As I mentioned I was out of town all weeek. I just got back last night. I will gradually start uploading posts that I have received. So don’t worry; if I have questions about your posts I will let you know. Otherwise I will send you an email when I will post them. ;)

DthAlchemist April 12, 2013 at 10:52 PM

I’ve taken to using a wall of papercrafting bins (12″x12″x2″ drawers) to sort my collection. I have a tower of smaller drawers which I use specifically for minifigure parts and accessories. I’m only about half way through sorting my tubs of pieces, but every day brings me closer to a fully organized collection! :D

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admin April 13, 2013 at 9:13 AM

That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Yes, organized LEGO makes you feel awesome and lets your creative juices flowing. Clean-up is also really easy. :)

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K July 30, 2013 at 4:47 PM

tyfs!

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Shilpa Joglekar May 27, 2014 at 3:21 AM

There’s another great Lego play n store solution that just been launched. Lego bags have been around — but this one is double layered, great quality and good looks…Check out http://www.playnwrap.com.au

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