LEGOs. If you have kids between the ages of 5 and 47, then most likely you also have a towering mountain range of LEGOs varying in size, shape, and color. My son started collecting them at an early age, building on the LEGO collection that I already had from when I was a kid. Needless to say, we have a lot of LEGOs. And a lot of LEGO instruction manuals. Some might say we have too many LEGOs and LEGO instruction manuals. I say you can never have enough.
You might think I’m crazy. But I honestly think that LEGO is an amazingly fun and creative toy and I’m not ashamed of my adult love for the product. The only problem with having an overwhelming number of bricks and a kid who has no patience for finding the specific pieces he needs for any given project, is that job will ultimately fall to you. Maybe you’ve never looked through 8000 LEGOs for one tiny piece while your child stares fiery, disappointment-laden daggers at the back of your head, but I have and I still have anxiety dreams.
So let me show you some LEGO organization ideas that will help you avoid this scenario and maybe even learn how to thrive beneath the weight of all those tiny plastic blocks.
Lego storage ideas: Why can’t I just put them all on one bin?
Stop and ask yourself: What happens if your kid suddenly wants to rebuild his LEGO Super Heroes Thor Vs Hulk: Arena Clash Building Kit? You think you can easily find every piece he needs in a swirling pit of random LEGOs? No way. Statistically, it would take you 17 days.
LEGO organization itself takes time, yes. It’s not foolproof and you will question its validity while you’re doing it. But trust me, it will save you enough time to write 18 novels and watch 246 more movies over the span of your lifetime.
Old boxes you have around the house
If you have LEGOs, you probably have no money left for food or your mortgage, let alone storage bins, so just think ahead and refrain from throwing away any boxes. You don’t have to keep the LEGO packaging box (we’ll discus this below), but keep any other boxes: shoe boxes, old plastic bins, boxes from all of the stuff you ordered on Amazon during the pandemic, etc. Anything that can act as a container, save it. The easier to keep latched the better.
If you have saved some pennies and want to dictate the sizes and shapes of your bins, then I recommend ordering some plastic bins off of Amazon. I personally use the clear ones so it’s easy to see what’s inside. Also, I recommend having a couple of smaller bins with little compartments to separate tiny weapons and helmets and such. It sounds morbid, but I have one that’s just dedicated to housing mini-figure body parts.
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Official LEGO storage
And if you’re super rich and money is no object, you may want the official LEGO logo to be on all of your LEGO shaped containers. There’s a store for that.
There’s also storage furniture that you can buy or, if you want to impress other parents in your neighborhood when they are allowed back in your house, build your own diy LEGO storage furniture.
LEGO storage bags
There are also LEGO storage bags, which might be great if you are traveling with your LEGOS, but I wouldn’t use them around the house.
LEGO organization ideas
LEGO storage ideas are bountiful and no matter the method, the number of bins you will need will be mostly based on what system of LEGO organization you prefer, so how to organize LEGOS? You can find the answer to this question internally when you ask yourself: “When do I want to do all of the work, now or later?” Here are some different LEGO organization ideas for you.
This one is simple. Do the math on how many different colors you probably have and just make a judgment on which color is most prevalent. In our house light gray, dark gray, white and black make up the biggest of the color categories so we bought 4 bigger bins. The rest we patched together with shoeboxes and leftover Kiwi crates.
The color-coding method is relatively fun for everyone to do together. You lay out all of your boxes and you dump all of the LEGOs in a pile. Then you gather your children, sit them down, put on a cartoon (better make it a movie) and proceed to put each LEGO in its proper bin. You can decide based on the number of bins you have if, say, red and maroon go in the same box or if maroon gets a dedicated container. For extra fun, I enjoy shooting them in like mini-basketballs. Make it a contest.
Sure, this is time consuming, but it can be pretty fun for everyone. And the next time you need to find a thin, white piece that’s 4×8, you’ll know where to start looking.
This one requires more time and might I say that most kids will not be in on the organizational stage for the long haul. Still, you can begin the process like the one above. This time separate the pieces by their type. Thicker bricks, flat bricks, 1x1s, all separated regardless of color. The categories are up to you and what you choose will dictate how many bins you’ll need.
Size matters. Especially when the last piece your child needs to complete their LEGO Jurassic World Indominus Rex Breakout Set is the most miniscule of bricks. In this method you can also eschew the color. Just separate the pieces by size. “Nothing but pieces over 4 pips in this bin, only single rounded pieces in this bin,” etc.
Size and Color
This is one of the more-time-consuming-up-front methods. This is, as you might guess, when you separate by size and color. Trust me though this will make finding pieces easier later, that is if you ever want to look at a LEGO again.
This is where we start getting to the hardcore, you-might-need-to-dedicate-an-entire-room-for-your-LEGOs kind of organizing. As the LEGO brand evolves, the variety of different kinds of pieces grows with each new set. This technique is exactly as it sounds and it’s not for the faint of work. You will give each type of piece a dedicated container, regardless of color. You will spend hours separating them. You will begin to dream about LEGOs. This might take you weeks.
Exact piece, exact color, madness ensues
With great sorting comes great insanity. But if you are looking for ease in finding piece(s), then this is the best method for you. It could take years, but when your kid says, “Dad! I need one of those weird green pieces that’s curved and has a hole in the side,” you can say, “How many do you need? We have 3.” Boom. Father of the year.
Original boxes with original pieces (LEGO set storage)
I can hear you out there yelling at me, “Why not just keep all of the pieces from each set in their original boxes?” Well, if you have a kid that loves to build his LEGO sets only to then immediately break them back down instead of playing with them or putting the finished product on a shelf, then sure, knock yourself out. Re-tape those boxes shut over and over again as necessary. I know there are kids out there like this and I applaud them. Let them be themselves and you can sit back and relax and never have to wonder about this topic again. Ok? Now stop yelling at me!
Keep them! I use a file cabinet, but if you don’t have that kind of space, just get an extra bin for them. You can look up most of the instruction manuals on the LEGO website, but that adds a whole other step and then you or your kid will have to scroll on a device that will keep going to sleep on you right in the middle of a step. And isn’t the whole purpose of playing LEGOs so we can all spend an hour NOT in front of a screen? Just keep the manuals. Keep. Them. Trust me.
Other toys are LEGOs too
Toy organization can be a hot button topic in some households. What you have to ask yourself and your spouse is who is the organization for: them or you?
Are you a parent who needs an orderly house regardless of who cleans it? Or are you a parent looking to pass on lasting habits to your children? No judgment here. I’ve been both of these kinds of parent at different times, myself. I’ve looked at a pile of toys and thought, if I tell my son to do this, it may take an hour, but if I just put these away, this room will be clean in 10 minutes.
But I decided early on that, when it comes to cleaning up, teaching a lasting lesson is more helpful to everyone involved. So, in terms of LEGOs, the color coding method ticked off the right boxes for me. This is something easy for my son to do and it will also help me find pieces down the road. So it is the best method for us.
And this can be applied to all of their toys. See what kind of space you have and what kind of easy-to-use storage bins that you already possess or that you can afford to buy and come up with a routine. Let your child decorate each bin with drawings or stickers. Empower them by letting them make those kinds of decisions.
There is no wrong way. If you enjoy having your LEGOs strewn about the floor in a foot endangering mosaic, then that’s what works for you. The best way to store and organize LEGOs is your way. And don’t let anyone like me tell you different.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a tiny, clear-orange 2×2 piece that has claw and a slant on one side to find.