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LEGO Storage and Sorting

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LEGO Storage and Sorting

Postby CommanderKeller » Fri May 07, 2010 9:34 pm

So, I have well over 30,000 pieces in my collection and most of them are on the floor in my storage room. I just sort of greeble away all day.

I set to the task of sorting these pieces by color. I have around 3/4 of them done. Well, certain colors anyway are mixed. Red with orange, light grey and bley and dark grey and so on.

My question is, if I want to sort the pieces by specific function. Like: Sloping bley, into an all bley container, what do you guys recommend is a good storage container? I want something with individual spaces but still big enough for lots of pieces any ideas?
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Kav'ryn » Sat May 08, 2010 5:26 am

We use little plastic drawers, the type you can get from Wal-mart. They have three drawers to a box, and they fit under beds really well. For our greys, we use a big cardboard box - I'm actually in the process of sorting light/dark out.

I don't know if you have too many to use that method, but we've got quite a large collection, and it works for us. :)
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby ie10421 » Sat May 08, 2010 6:28 am

Here is a good article on sorting and storage:

http://www.brothers-brick.com/2009/11/0 ... bby-essay/
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby GrayMattR » Sat May 08, 2010 6:31 am

Sorting by color is only slightly helpful. As your collection gets bigger, it will become harder to find the 1x3 tile in a container of hundreds of pieces the same color. It's better to sort the pieces by type and have all the colors of that type of piece together. For example, it's easier to pick out all of the red 1x3 tiles from a container of just 1x3 tiles.

I use Sterilite drawers available at many stores and tape cardboard grids inside the drawers to sort pieces. As seen here.

For smaller pieces, I use ArtBin brand boxes available from JoAnn Fabric stores that have movable inserts so you can change the configuration. As seen here.

I also use under the bed boxes to hold regular bricks and shoe boxes to hold bigger, odd shaped boxes. I don't know anyone that has a sizeable collection of loose pieces that ever feels completely sorted, but it's much better than just rummaging through boxes hoping to find the four or five pieces you know you have somewhere and need for a MOC.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby vynsane » Sat May 08, 2010 7:23 am

I don't have nearly that many pieces, nor do I yet have a man-cave in which to put a bunch of stationary storage units, so I went with a more portable solution: I have a couple of these 'Tool Organizers' - they have a bunch of compartments that can be split up with inserts in each side as well as a couple of deeper drawers in the middle that can also be further compartmentalized. They suit my needs for now. I've begun sorting by shape and size, and mixing colors going from 1x1 round through 2x16 and assorted larger plates. Once I have a larger collection and somewhere more permanent to put it I'll probably sort by shape, size, and color.

This looks like a suitable stacking, portable item as well, for those that are looking for that kind of solution: http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/18 ... v_XSG10001
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby ThatGuyWithTheBricks » Sat May 08, 2010 11:09 am

Sorting by color is how I roll. If you want to sort by function, then little shelves are the best. Look at the container store or somewhere (I find that Target doesn't have a lot of good storing stuff). Also, be careful if you put all black elements in one box, it's a helluva hard time to find anything >.<
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Diaaabo » Sat May 08, 2010 12:05 pm

Today I received my LUGBulk parts and I totally ran out of space.. I'm temporarly resorting to set boxes to store these hundreds of bricks and plates until I turn them into the layout I'm preparing :P
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby CommanderKeller » Sat May 08, 2010 12:09 pm

Thanks guys! I purchased some of those sterilite boxes. Definitely like the cardboard separators!
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby zithy » Sat May 08, 2010 9:17 pm

I like the Plano's.

http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/descpage-P3730.html

Buy more than 10 and you get free shipping. Cheaper than Walmart, and you can get as many as you want.

Only drawbacks are you have to cut the dividers apart and the boxes are a little slippery. They stack, but bump into them and a stack can easily go spilling. Not like the lil minifigs inside are going to shed tears though. There's another size that isn't as deep, better for minifig parts or just smaller parts.

A lot cheaper than the tool dividers and pretty much does the same thing.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby dWhisper » Sat May 08, 2010 9:35 pm

I use Plano's as well, from Walmart, though as a tip, they're cheaper to get from the fishing section than from the home storage section. Don't ask...

I also use common storage drawers like you can get at Home Depot or Lowes, with the shelves, typically use for screws, misc parts, etc. I'll take some pictures of how my whole setup works, but needless to say, you have to do what works best for you. GrayMattR is right, in that sorting by color is only partially helpful. There's more you can do, like separating out smaller parts into other bins, stacking bricks (I do this heavily with black and the grays, since they're the hardest to sort and what I use the most) so you're not trying to find an individual part, you can just pick it off of it. And don't be afraid to open up a Bricklink account to "liquidate" some of your excess parts if you need to, that's the only way I can keep my collection manageable at times.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Jabba the Taff » Sun May 09, 2010 5:08 am

dWhisper wrote: And don't be afraid to open up a Bricklink account to "liquidate" some of your excess parts if you need to, that's the only way I can keep my collection manageable at times.


I can understand why you may need to do it, but do you not get to a point where you think, "If only I hadn't sold those pieces?" I don't think I could sell any Lego, I'd just put it in a 'catch all' box.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby dWhisper » Sun May 09, 2010 9:43 am

Occasionally, maybe I've bought something I've sold. But usually it's just a good way to clear things you have waaaaaay too many of, or parts you don't need out of a set you've divided up.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Jabba the Taff » Mon May 10, 2010 12:49 pm

Anyone in Britain know where I can find some of those fishing tackle type boxes or trays with small dividers for cheap purchase? I'm normally pretty good at locating some kind of a deal but I can't seem to source any below £15 for a really small box.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby iamFLIP » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:45 pm

I found a local hardware store that is renovating and bought a few of their old system they used to store/display screws, bolts, nuts, etc. Each one has 6 compartments that flips open. I made 2 wooden frames with hinges so I can close it like a briefcase when I don't need it so my little boy can't mess it up. It looks kinda empty on the picture but actually most compartments are now full after I was done sorting out everything last night. Also, bought StackOn 60-drawer cabinet for smaller pieces. The two lower drawers of the black Sterilite on the left holds the larger pieces. And the Lego Star Wars lunchbox holds the SW minifigs (for now).

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6-quart Sterilite containers holds the medium-sized pieces.

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and a 20-gallon storage bin holds the sets I am trying to piece together.

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And when the wooden frames/"briefcase" is closed. It also acts as display stand.

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Re: LEGO storage

Postby vynsane » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:00 pm

WOW, nice setup, iamFLIP. I hope to one day need that much storage ;)

I was looking for other types of portable solutions, and found this:

Plano Molding 5231 Double Cover Stow N Go Organizer

It looks to be great for sorting small parts like 1x1 round plates, square plates, tiles, cheese slopes, etc... And it comes in 'Porche Red' ;)
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Flesh Skywalker » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:17 pm

Have you found any extra dividers for these? I've used all mine up and I want more.

zithy wrote:I like the Plano's.

http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/descpage-P3730.html

Buy more than 10 and you get free shipping. Cheaper than Walmart, and you can get as many as you want.

Only drawbacks are you have to cut the dividers apart and the boxes are a little slippery. They stack, but bump into them and a stack can easily go spilling. Not like the lil minifigs inside are going to shed tears though. There's another size that isn't as deep, better for minifig parts or just smaller parts.

A lot cheaper than the tool dividers and pretty much does the same thing.
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Re: LEGO storage

Postby Draykov » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:23 pm

I swear...I've had this conversation before, but I can never seem to track down the thread (old forum or new). With that in mind: STICKOPOTAMUS!

And rather than litter up the place with a bunch of sticky threads, I figured we could make this a consolidated storage/sorting thread since the two topics are pretty closely related.

Here's some stuff from the old forums for posterity's sake:

A new sorting question
sorting and storage
Storing Legos [sic] Ideas Welcome
How do you store them?

As for my contributions to the discussion:

For storage:...I still use (predominantly) the Iris stackable drawer towers, though they do have their problems (the tabs for locking drawer frames in place sometimes have so much molding flash on them, they get stuck and if you try to tend to that issue, they're easy to break). Stores like Office Depot tend to have a store brand equivalent. They're too expensive for what you get if you buy them at MSRP, but once or twice a year, they go on sale and I stock up.

For minifigs, I use a combination of admittedly overpriced (ridiculously so) 4-Drawer Storage and 3-Case Storage Chests from the Container Store. There are probably much cheaper alternatives out there that are just as good or better, but I'm a sucker for uniformity and I started down this path a long time ago. The units are stackable (with little pegs holding them in place horizontally and vertically) and the drawers/cases can be completely removed from the main unit. In the 3-case version, the "drawers" have their own snap-secure lids, so they're very handy for grab-and-go type situations. They also have mounting holes in the back so you can screw these suckers into your wall if you're hardcore. I'd only recommend that if you have some sort of mudroom/converted garage space to work in where function takes priority over form.

I've also had to resort to a Sterilite 50 gallon bin (like the ones you get at Target or Wal-Mart) to store unbuilt/opened sets. I buy a lot more than I sort or build, so I had to do something for the interim stuff to cut down on clutter.

For Sorting: I sort by general piece categories, less by color (though, the growth of my collection has led to some stratification by groups of color: black/white, yellow/tan, blue/green, red/orange, etc.). I use sort of a hybrid of the Peeron/Bricklink categorization schemes. As my collection grows, I need to further stratify categories. For instance, I used to have two drawers for slopes (one inverted, one regular). Now I have several for slopes of particular angles (33, 45, etc.) and inverted/regular of each where warranted.

As far as the actual Sisyphusian task of sorting goes, I tend to break stuff down into broad categories, storing groups of like parts temporarily in LEGO buckets, then sorting the stuff from those buckets into their respective Iris drawers.

For LEGO related print media, I ended up going with some new furniture...Ikea office stuff from the Effektiv series. I went with a combination of hanging files (for instructions) and standard cabinets (for catalogs, periodicals and texts).

Sorting was also a recent topic of discussion over at Brothers-Brick. Thanel had a very well-thought-out and interesting essay on the subject over there a while back.

Also, just to throw something else into the ring: How to Sort and Store LEGO
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Re: LEGO Storage and Sorting

Postby possum » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:29 pm

As a budding AFOL, GREAT topic. My fiance was starting to get frustrated with the clutter. I tried to start reasonably small with storage, picking up a 3-tall 12 x 12 x 2.375 Sterilite drawers. They worked well but once I had a few of those $60-100 sets I quickly needed more. Back to Target and we found a 7-tall with wheels. I was able to snap the two together in a stacked up fashion. I measured & cut interlocking dividers for the drawers out of....LEGO boxes. With a little scotch tape they stay in place if I don't manhandle them.
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Re: LEGO Storage and Sorting

Postby Flesh Skywalker » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:48 pm

I have decided those Plano 3730 with small ziploc bags for small pieces to allow multiple parts in one compartment.
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Re: LEGO Storage and Sorting

Postby MrCRskater » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:18 am

Thanks, Draykov, for compiling and sticky-ing all this. This is really a great resource!
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