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LEGO organization: the portable solution

(Written by Sarah)

I know organizing a LEGO collection may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as an adult fan it’s quite important when you go to build a creation that you’re able to find what you need. Regardless of whether you sort by type of brick, color or the phases of the moon, having a good LEGO storage system is a must.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not at a point where I can design a LEGO-building-room complete with permanent desks, shelving and drawer-systems. I work out of portable organizers for a couple of reasons; One, I rent so I don’t want to build some massive drawer thing and have to move it in a couple of years. Second, I find that keeping everything in portable units is great for when I need to take it all with me.

You can find some pretty cheap solutions, but for best result, they must be sturdy and stay closed. The last thing you want is for all the small pieces to spill out across the floor. I’ve found some good LEGO storage options at Big-Lots. The dollar-stores always have tubs of various sizes, but I’ve never bought any for our LEGO collection.

Just be careful with discount places as they may never stock what you need again and it’s not fun to have 5 different storage units that don’t stack easily. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more to be able to buy the same unit in the future.

For small pieces, I recommend flip cases & other organizers in the tools sections. Avoid ones with adjustable compartments as pieces can easily slide under or over dividers. Again, make sure that the unit stays tightly closed so you don’t pick it up and it all spills out.

For large quantities of pieces and larger pieces, I recommend large tubs that stack easily. I use a variety of zip-lock bags to separate the pieces inside each tub. However you decide to sort is up to you. I put the same type of pieces in one tub, like plates, but then separate sizes and colors in the bags. If you do label the outside of the tubs, choose something that is temporary or easily changed. As your collection expands, you’ll want to be able to shift your organization around and re-label.

Every now and then, LEGO releases official storage units. These can be expensive, but it’s always fun to own LEGO-decorated organizers. In the past few years, I’ve seen piece-sorters, small carrying cases and larger bins. I’m sure there are a lot of choices if you go to BrickLink and look at what’s been released in the past. Just be warned that not all of them are as functional as you may want out of your organizers.

Last, but certainly not least, you may want to utilize whatever you had as a child. Using your childhood LEGO storage solutions can bring back memories and remind you of the simple joys in life, specifically LEGO.

So now my question, dear readers, is what do you use to organize your LEGO-collection? Do you have a particular method in how you separate pieces? Or do you not organize at all? Do you have one large box that you dump it all in? (That would be my husband’s preferred method if he had his way!)

Please post in the comment section below. I’d love to know what you had as a child and whether you still have it! 🙂

And if you would like to read more about LEGO storage solutions check here:
How to sort your LEGO?
How to store your LEGO?

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • YTjedi July 19, 2011, 2:07 PM

    I’ve always admired this solution by AFOL Nannan at the Brothers Brick:

    He has 3-drawer Sterilite containers stacked from floor to ceiling. They’re durable enough for stacking and distribute the weight well enough so the drawers still slide out easily. They are also deep enough to hold a good amount of pieces, but shallow enough to dig through them easily. I hope to emulate it someday, to an extent anyway 🙂

    • admin July 19, 2011, 5:10 PM

      Yeah, I liked Nannan’s room so much, I blogged it myself: Featured LEGO Fan – Nannan Zang 😀

      That’s a really good point about the weight distribution! Starting a system that can handle a growing LEGO collection makes sense! Also, store your LEGO on the bottom floor! 😆

    • Sarah July 19, 2011, 10:07 PM

      That’s really cool! I think we all want a dedicated LEGO room that has storage bins from floor to ceiling, I know I certainly do.

      But until I get there, I work with what I can and that’s mostly portable stuff.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing the link!

  • SPMom July 19, 2011, 5:17 PM

    Does anyone have that yellow lego head sorter? Just wondering how well it works and how practical is it?

    • Hayato July 19, 2011, 8:39 PM

      We have the lego head. It is a big help for small kids. Easy sorting, easy cleanup. My oldest (who is six) is growing out of it though. He wants his lego to be more organized. He likes tackle boxes for his special parts and minifigs. And he hides them from his younger brothers. But for young kids, who are less organized, the lego head is a good sorting and storage option. It doesn’t hold as much LEGO as the lego storage tubs, so this may be a consideration too.

    • Sarah July 19, 2011, 10:09 PM

      We have it, but we bought it more for its looks – it’s a great conversation piece when our friends come over. It’s not all that useful at storing or sorting, for that matter.

      For young kids, I can see it being quite fun and somewhat helpful. Beyond that, though, most kids and adults are most likely going to sort by hand.

  • brickmaster July 20, 2011, 9:39 AM

    Nice options you are listing there! Good ideas!
    When I was a kid Lego made boxes with inner trays to separate parts. I can’t actually remember how we kept the bulk of our Lego, but I do remember storing my special parts in those trays.
    I’m using a different method now as I have a lot more Lego, and no, I do not have my childhood sets or boxes with trays any more. My younger siblings inherited them. What happened from there I don’t know. 🙁

    • Sarah July 20, 2011, 9:11 PM

      That’s cool what you had as a kid. It’s always neat to hear what LEGO used to make. Sorry that you don’t have them anymore, but I hope your siblings got a lot of use out of them.

      I think most of us adults have more LEGO now than we did as kids. Sure does make it more challenging to keep track of, but then, it offers us more options for building. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • DavidH July 22, 2011, 10:54 AM

    You got some nice solutions listed here! When I was a kid we used one of those round lego floormats with a pull string to store our lego. We could easily spread it out, play, then pull it together for clean up and just hang it up on a door nob. I also kept special parts in the storage trays that came in the lego boxes. I still have the floormat and still use it for projects. IMHO it is one of the most useful pieces lego ever released!

    • Sarah July 23, 2011, 11:32 AM

      That is a really cool device that LEGO made. It’s too bad they still don’t make anything like it. Thanks for sharing about it. I’m going to have to see if anyone sells it on bricklink.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Luca April 17, 2012, 9:58 PM

        I have one from when I was 7 and I still use it. It’s AWESOME!

  • slovakiasteph August 2, 2011, 9:54 PM

    We used tackle boxes when I was a kid, too, and everything was mostly organized that way– at least the small parts.

    I bought some Sterilite drawers to keep my quickly-expanding LEGO collection in. If I had something where I had to take off the lids, I’d never ever put them back on, 😀 so drawers work well for me.

  • Tobymacboy December 17, 2011, 6:26 AM

    Grey pieces go in my giant sort-n-store minifigure head , And I have a giant set of drawers. All colors have their own drawer. Then , at the bottom , I have special parts like fire peices and such.

  • Tobymacboy December 17, 2011, 6:31 AM

    Minifigures have their own box , so do vehicles , Then there is a box for my vintage sets (But my giant Lavatraz base wont fit!) . And I have 3 lego NBA minifigures in a display case. ( set #3566 VERY rare , original box , cards , stands , and one of the card is gold.) And last but not least , all my big sets go in my stopmotion studio. Wanna see my vids?

  • Bane July 10, 2012, 3:54 PM

    I’m going to try to get some wall-mounted tackle boxes at Walmart this weekend.

    • admin July 10, 2012, 4:52 PM

      Bane, yeah, those can work great! It takes a while though to figure out your own perfect LEGO storage system. 🙂

  • Strider October 29, 2012, 2:42 PM

    When I was thirteen we would have this site called “The Brick Blogger” where people could share ideas about storage solutions. Oh wait…

  • Kristina January 11, 2013, 7:22 PM

    Hey everyone
    New here and loving it.
    When I was a kid, my sister got a LEGO set (similar to one of the pics up there; blue box + green plates)
    It had three compartments where plates slid over to store and then you were also able to divide each into three again. And you could carry it like a briefcase.
    I’m trying to figure out a storage solution for my son now. We are using some Gladware and a shoebox-size Rubbermaid. We need portable cuz minifigs, Golden Weapons and such go to mummy’s house — daddy’s house — mummy’s house…
    I’m also dying to get my hands on the LEGO I had as a kid; I know my parents still have it somewhere! We mostly got plain bricks so there will be some classic LEGO tubs we could use for storage now.

    • admin January 11, 2013, 7:56 PM

      Kristina, nice to have ya! Have you considered plastic tackle-boxes, tool-boxes or crafts boxes? They are all available cheaply at Wal-Mart and other department stores. They have various size compartments and close shut securely. For a kid who travels with his LEGO those are excellent solutions. 😉

  • Kaasome, Ninja of Sky January 23, 2013, 8:53 AM

    I’m not a huge fan of sorting all my lego bricks, I consider it part of the fun. However, I do organize my hero factory and bionicle parts, as I post those online periodically. Its nice to know some ways I can store them easily if I ever feel the need.

  • Darthmogul September 1, 2013, 1:53 PM

    I have small 1L buckets for larger quantities. They are usefull too!

  • Shilpa Joglekar May 27, 2014, 10:31 PM

    For the best play and store solution, take a look at http://www.playnwrap.com.au.

    • admin May 28, 2014, 9:46 AM

      Shilpa, your product is not bad, but please stop spamming my website otherwise I will have to delete your comments. This is not the way to make yourself known in the LEGO community. Thank you.

    • Nathan November 22, 2014, 5:21 AM

      Ummm – Wasn’t this (maybe not the same brand) listed as one of the options already? Blatant, unnecessary spam indeed!

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