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I have several Lego sets and I usually build them and then make them small enough so they fit back in the box for long term storage . . . but my dream is that I can take apart my model and organize the parts and just keep the books so I can put them back together again later.

(I read you can get the books as PDF's from the official site now . . . I need to try that out.)

I figure I could use some sort of plastic organizers from IKEA or something. What methods have you used? Do you store them by size and color or just dump them all into bins and let the creativity happen?

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I remember a funny article on this which shows how someone sorted their LEGOs as their collection grew over the decades... I'll see if I can find it. –  muntoo Oct 26 '11 at 2:32
    
What, a closet with no temperature-control whatsoever? –  Joubarc Oct 31 '11 at 8:06
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@muntoo this lugnet article may be what you are looking for. I just read it again, it's really worth it. –  Joubarc Oct 31 '11 at 8:19
    
@Joubarc Yes, that was it! –  muntoo Nov 1 '11 at 0:05

7 Answers 7

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I prefer what I call the "block" method. You can get to almost every piece in less than 3 steps.

enter image description here

I was inspired by this: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/efficientlego

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I guess you could have a few 'blocks', but if you want a large number of one type of piece, it will be best to have most of your LEGO sorted by piece type. When you need more 'blocks', just build them. (Maybe have a LEGO Mindstorms Robot help you sort...? ;)) –  muntoo Nov 1 '11 at 0:07
    
Lots of great options here but this is the one that really made me think. I stacked the small parts like this AND THEN put them in a storage bin as described in other questions. –  tooshel Dec 19 '11 at 19:38

I took all my blocks out and layed them out on a table. This took a few days actually. From there I purchased a plastic storage container from an IKEA type location, that had multiple bins that slid in. It looked a lot like this:

bins

They are intended for crafts, but Lego is a craft too! From there I sorted it like so:

  1. 2x2 bricks
  2. 4x4 bricks
  3. Flat pieces
  4. Large items (Trains, road pieces, etc.)
  5. Bricks larger than 5x5
  6. Bricks larger than 10x10.
  7. Specialty parts (Airplane wings, etc)

It really bottles down to what YOU want. Take an inventory of what pieces you have - whatever you have a large number of, fill a container with an appropriately sized bin for that many pieces.

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My only issue with the drawers is that I've knocked those over and had to resort the contents before! Could be a good option if I connect it to a table or something! –  tooshel Oct 25 '11 at 23:12
    
@tooshel Perhaps you could get ones that do not actually come completely out. –  Simon Sheehan Oct 25 '11 at 23:13
    
I hate these things with a vengeance. You're constantly opening and closing drawers since the thing becomes unstable with more than one open at a time. Good for screws, not for Lego bricks. –  Pubby Oct 30 '11 at 23:42

I'm a big fan of Simon Sheehan's answer, and use a bunch of those myself for a lot of those small "technic" LEGO pieces.

But once your collection grows too big, it's time to dedicate a wall to your collection:

Lego Bins

I find these at Global Industrial Supply:

Global Supply

These clear tilt-out storage bins are stackable and sturdy and just about perfect to catalog your pieces by shape. Easy to find (for the most part) because you see the pieces. Sorting by color is not worth the effort-- too many colors.

The one thing they are NOT good for are large base plates.

Some of the standard 4-2 bricks, 4-1 bricks, 2-2 bricks are too plentiful, in which case I just have a simple plastic pullout drawer for those.

Something like this from the Container Store:

Containers

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I've recently purchased quite a few of these tip-out bins from Global, and they are VERY nice. I feel they are worth the extra money - great for small bits and specialized pieces. They are easily stackable and have holes on the back for mounting. –  Chad Cooper May 30 at 13:27

I've used those stack-able organizer cases for years. They are great for storage and access to the parts is a lot easier than in drawers. Another big advantage over the drawer-organizers is how easy they are to transport.

enter image description here

You might have noticed that they are now empty. That's because my kids are now 7 and I've decided to mix my Lego blocks with theirs (they get a lot more usage now). Of course young kids and neat organization doesn't mix very well so I've reverted to the good old bins on the floor. I prefer the big clear plastic ones with rollers underneath. We can roll them under the futon when it's not in use.

enter image description here

I love the sound of bricks when we're all digging around.

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When using big bins, use big, low ones. Good advise, and that one one of the less efficient methoed! –  Joubarc Nov 1 '11 at 7:13
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That yellow organizer case you have on the right in the top picture, that seems to be a nice thing. It appears that you can re-organize the sections in it. Do you mind posting the URL of that or something similar? Thanks. –  Farhan Dec 27 '13 at 21:55
    
I got this at a renovation centre. Google this: Stanley 17-Compartment Small Parts Storage Organizer –  pcantin Dec 28 '13 at 14:48

I use 3 drawer stackable Sterilite 8.5"x11"x2" labeled drawers and store the elements by shape, not by color. Inbetween builds I try to organise the different elements in the drawers in "sticks" in order to best use the space. I still have to use the big tubs that have the folding lids to hold the bulk of unsorted pieces, & I have a different Sterilite unit for baseplates & other big & wide pieces.

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These bins would work well. Others have mentioned children and these would work well especially for kids. (This one can be found on Amazon here.)

enter image description here

Adults could use this kind also or go for an industrial looking version like this:

enter image description here

(This one can be found here.)

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Those wall-mounted plastic bins in the second example are actually used in professional LEGO model workshops. They're hard wearing and very easy to use but they can also be very pricey! –  Ambo100 Nov 30 '12 at 15:40

An old bed-sheet can be used to create a sack that both stores the Lego bricks and doubles as a play mat. As a child, this is how my parents stored our Lego and it meant we never had a difficult task when it came time to pack it away.

The only downsides are that some bricks can be hard to find against the sheet (depending on colour) and there's zero organisation.

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