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The sorting methodology thread!!

135

Comments

  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    For me, my method is pretty much a major case of chaos. Storage in my room is a container of 2X plates longer then 2, a container of 4X or larger plates, a container of 2X and 1X bricks mixed, a box thing with bricks sorted by size, container with roof slopes, and more containers with general by type sorting along with 2 stack-on containers with more containers on top. Plus i have a container with instructions, a container with 4x4 rounds and wall pieces, lego HP lego board game, large grey building plate and the lego idea book stacked on a table.

    Plus i have my rolling cart for out of my room building and that is at near capacity. i have a 6.2 quart container with bricks, tackle box with some favorite parts, and 3 containers with misc stuff stacked on top plus the whole 10 drawer rolling cart almost full with stuff(minifigures, vehicle parts, bricks, plates, tiles, the whole 9 yards) in it. i wouldn't be suprised if i found the lost city of atlantis in my collection one day.

    For now, i'm just trying to slowly make improvements to my organizing method. Have a couple plans brewing at the moment.
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    On a similar topic, anyone know the quickest way to sort/find pieces for sets? I'm digging through a 18"x18"x30" box filled to the top with Lego trying to piece set 7676. Two hours into and I called it quits.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    edited September 2012
    Print out the back page of the instructions (with the list of pieces). Pick up a piece or pieces if the same, and tick it off if it is in the set, and put into basket A. If not in the list, basket B. Repeat. It helps to pick out the bigger pieces first, you feel you are getting more done. That way, you don't need to look for 27 of a particular piece in one go. Just tick them off as you go. If there are not too many pieces, you can keep them apart rather than mixing them in basket A for checking later. Sometimes an initial quick sort by colour helps. Especially if there are no yellow pieces in the set (for example), then you can discount those straight away.
    catwrangler
  • lulwutlulwut Member Posts: 416
    ^ Good call on the initial color sort, will give that a try.
  • mdellemanmdelleman Vancouver CanadaMember Posts: 274
    ^ Instead of ruining perfectly good instructions print out an inventory off of BrickLink or Peeron!

    When I came out of my dark ages I sorted all of my old LEGO by color and then put all my old sets back together. After multiplying my collection by buying used collections I now have shelves of plastic shoe boxes (from Home Depot) of LEGO sorted by color along with larger bins all sorted by theme filled with my complete sets. Building MOC's or sorting to complete sets has been tough with all of my extra pieces sorted the way they are so it is nice to see some suggestions from others on their techniques. I suppose at some point I am going to have to bite the bullet and go to sorting by piece. Just can't bring myself to mix up the colors!!
    catwrangler
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 482
    ^he meant using the back page printed from a instruction pdf (you can get the instruxtions on the web, too so theres no need to kill a god sintruction by using the list
    cheshirecat
  • dneuldneul Member Posts: 369
    What is the best way to sort for inventory purposes?
    Color, size, function is usually my method. Any ideas?
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,403
    I wouldn't sort by color since your eyes will have trouble finding specific pieces. I sort by size (brick 1x2, plate 1x4, etc) for the more common pieces. How granular you get will be influenced by how much space you have and how many sorting boxes you have available.
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    There are quite a number of posts about this subject.
    You may want to check this one out:
    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/205/the-sorting-methodology-thread/p1
  • ShpadoinkleShpadoinkle 13 hours West of BillundMember Posts: 420
    If there are partial sets in the lot I set those aside first, then I take out any minifig-related parts, then the rest of the pieces are sorted by color, then type (bricks, plates, "special" or "weird" pieces). Technic gets its own bin, as do trans colors.

    Most of the large brightly colored bricks will go into a bin for when nephews and god-kids come to play. I then grab the "chunks" of partially assembled sets and break them down by color and using bricklink inventories pull out of the sorted stuff the missing parts.

    Once I have finished assembling the part lists for the sets (and invariably have my bricklink list of parts that are needed), I try and find the missing parts on my bricklink list in the larger groupings of spare parts I have from previous lots. Once I've got my bricklink list down to its minimum I then dump the new sorted lot pieces into the previous ones, place my bricklink orders, and wait for the next lot! When the new pieces come I can then assemble the sets. By keeping the new lot segregated from the old stuff as long as possible you increase your chance of finding the missing pieces without having to dig through piles of Lego.

    WAY more information than you probably wanted, and if you're not trying to reconstruct sets you can disregard most of it, but I hope this helps!
    catwrangler
  • Marc2501Marc2501 Member Posts: 48
    ^ Maybe like this guy
    youtube.com/watch?v=zpZpupMT1mc
  • CupIsHalfEmptyCupIsHalfEmpty CanadaMember Posts: 547
    The trays that come in the Advent calendars and very handy for sorting the small pieces.

    kylejohnson11
  • BrickMechanicBrickMechanic Member Posts: 1
    Hi fellow brick builders!

    I have been trying to find a better way to sort and store my lego. So I thought I should call out to you guys and find out what you think is the best way to sort and store your lego.

    Do you keep elements in clusters?
    Perhaps you sort by colour and size?
    Do you keep the bricks in tubs or even tackle box's?
    Maybe you don't sort at all and you leave it all in a deep storage tub?
    Maybe there is a common storage method I have not come across?
    How do you take your lego to friends?

    I look forward to reading your replies!
    Thanks.


  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366
    I don't go by type instead of color because of what some have stated above (when you have large quantities, finding a single piece in a bin of all black pieces can be difficult).

    From there, it's broken down by how much I might have. If I have a ton of 1x4's, they may get their own bin, but if I have a minimal amount of 1x2's and 1x3's, they may go together.

    As for what they're in, sets I want to keep separate from loose pieces are put in labeled Ziploc bags (the ones that close with the zipper; much less likely to pop open). Loose pieces are put in standard kitchen Tupperware/Rubbermaid containers and then into bigger storage bins. Minifigs are put in fishing tackle boxes (easy to find at Walmart and other similar stores and not that expensive; my main one was $40 and holds probably 250-300 minifigs).

    If I had a dedicated room to build/play, I would use those hardware drawer systems for loose pieces. I don't at the moment, so the bins make more sense because everything is put tightly away in a closet.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    I am considering sorting all my sets out into parts for the reason of being able to use rebrickable.

    I have 12 32L crates that have my 300+ sets bagged at the moment.
    I could bag the bricks as I have loads of them by colour and by brick/plate/tile and then have bags for specialised parts.

    Here are the questions:
    1. What should I do to store these
    2. Is there any drawer based storage I could use at least for the more common stuff that I can get in Ireland that won't break the bank (or UK shipped)

    I already have loads of loose lego too but a lot is small parts (cheeses, round plates etc)
  • CommanderRaabCommanderRaab Edinburgh, ScotlandMember Posts: 614
    Guys and gals
    I am interested in any comments on how you store you "special sets". I have my technic all mixed together, then other general lego mixed together, but have kept my star wars sets apart as sets in ziplock bags. This is mainly for the large and UCS sets. I probably wouldnt ever sell my UCS MF or UCS IS but just in case have kept them seperate.

    Thoughts? At what point is a brick just a brick and when is the exact set you bought worth keeping together?
    Rab
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    my personal Lego is stored via colour and my bricklink lego is stored via part type, it would be far easier having parts stored by individual part type but i just don't have room to.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016


    Thoughts? At what point is a brick just a brick and when is the exact set you bought worth keeping together?

    The answer will be different for different people. Do what works for you.

    For me, sets are not sets never to be mixed. I have no problem mixing grey bricks for LOTR with grey bricks I've bought on bricklink or in other sets. I'm never going to build the sets as LEGO intended again, as I MOC. So there is no point in keeping them separate.
    Oldfan
  • flowerpotgirlflowerpotgirl ScotlandMember Posts: 147
    @Huw was that a pair of Mission 770's I saw in your Lego room?
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 624
    CCC said:


    Thoughts? At what point is a brick just a brick and when is the exact set you bought worth keeping together?

    The answer will be different for different people. Do what works for you.
    This. If you value the original sets as I do, keep them together (original boxes and/or ziplock bags work fine for me). If you value the individual pieces for MOCing, then you'll want a storage system that allows for ease of finding the types of parts you need in an efficient manner.

    If you want both, well, see this LUGNET thread for humorous possibilities...

    http://news.lugnet.com/storage/?n=707
  • CommanderRaabCommanderRaab Edinburgh, ScotlandMember Posts: 614
    Haha, thanks for the article on lugnet, was very funny. I find myself at the beginning of that with a paltry 37k pieces, most sorted by set in bags (except all technic lumped together) :)
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    For my currently very modest collection (~7000 pieces), I'm using the small and medium "Clip Boxes" made by Sterilite. They close tightly and stack well. The small boxes are relatively shallow, which makes finding parts easy. At the moment, parts are sorted into eight boxes:

    Small plates (short side of 1) and tiles of any size
    Medium plates (short side of 2 or 3)
    Large plates (short side of 4 or greater)
    Panels and doors (of any size)
    Large normal bricks (non-modifed, short side of 2 or greater)
    Small normal bricks (short side of 1)
    Modified bricks (of any size, will soon be divided like two above groups)
    Slopes (includes arches and inverted slopes, excludes cheese slopes)
    Everything else

    I figure as my collection grows, I can simply add new boxes and subdivide groups as necessary. Of course, finding a place to store the storage may become an issue. ;)
  • JenniJenni JapanMember Posts: 1,386
    ^ we're using the 6.2 quart sterilite boxes. We're well beyond 7,000 pieces and it's working OK so far. We have a couple of dozen but there are another 5 in the car as the time has come to divide some of the boxes. They stack 4 high inside expedit cubbies.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    edited January 2013
    Another piece of advice is not to mix storage systems. You might see three or four cheap boxes on clearance, but if they don't fit in with an existing storage system, don't get them!
  • kim43235kim43235 Member Posts: 165
    edited January 2013
    I really need to organize my lego collections.. mostly boxes and bulk bricks.

    Can anyone recommend good shelving units for lego boxes/containers? It will be placed in my finished basement. I found this at lowes and seems to be a good unit. They had it on sale for $20 something but now it's full price. Anybody has better unit or ideas? Thanks in advance!

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_339946-61896-339946_0__?Ntt=339946&UserSearch=339946&productId=3432386&rpp=32
  • DaSmokeEaterDaSmokeEater Member Posts: 34
    I don't see this thread anywhere and I apologize if it's been done, but as our family has quickly amassed several large storage bins full of bricks we're trying to find a way to sort them so the kids have an easier time finding the parts they want to work on sets. In your experience, what's the best way? It can be as simple as 'by color' or 'by brick shape' or something more. Thanks!
  • DaSmokeEaterDaSmokeEater Member Posts: 34
    Outstanding! Thanks!
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    /thread revival

    So, I'm in the process of trying to get some of my loose parts for MOC projects more organized. Has anyone tried out something similar to these for your building area? Just looking for some feedback on them.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,482
    Yes, I use these: http://www.clasohlson.com/uk/Organiser-Cabinet/40-6980

    They're pretty cheap, and they're good for smaller parts, or smaller quantities of larger parts. I've not got a huge collection at the moment, so they work rather well. They're especially good for all the different small parts you don't realise you have!
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Belleville, IllinoisMember Posts: 1,376
    I buy a bunch of bulk collections and break them down. I just bought several of these:

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/colorful-mobile-organizer-10-drawers/153884.ip?navAction=push

    My local Sam's Club had them for $24.99. Not sure why they are $53 online. I needed something that I could use as a sorting tray and then I could dump those into my larger piece containers.
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    Hi,

    I'm trying to organize my parts a little more, it's all in boxes. So I was hoping I could get some ideas on what the best way to go about it is. Do you separate them by color regardless of what type of part it is, Or do separate them by part type, etc.

    Any input would be appreciated!

    Thanks
  • StuckTogetherStuckTogether Member Posts: 42
    I'm in the process of re-organizing. I had big plastic boxes with some stuff like instructions and monorail and train tracks loose inside and other things in small boxes inside the big boxes. Also small pieces inside sets of plastic drawers.

    I used to do bricks by colors, but I'm changing to grouping by size. E.g. one box with 2x2s and2x3s, another with 2x6 and larger. I might use some toolboxes/parts that I already have around to see if they work for small special parts. e.g. Stanley http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-25-Removable-Compartment-Professional-Organizer/dp/B00005QWYF

    Also fishing tackle boxes can be good, but you need to go to a place with a good selection and get one that's not too specific to fishing. I use the cantilvered style for leather working tools and drafting/drawing supplies. I can't find the one I have - but something like this
    http://www.sportsmansguide.ca/net/cb/plano-8616-00-mag-hip-roof-box.aspx?a=1305574
  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 231
    edited April 2014
    I strongly recommend the Akro-Mils bins which are sold in the US. Mine are meticulously labeled using a brother label printer.

    For more information, check out my blog. (Includes links to buy the Akro bins and the Brother label printer...)

    LINK: Printable labels to sort your LEGO collection


    Some Photos:


    image
    My labels attached to Akro Bins.

    image
    Samples of the labels I designed.


    P.S. Yes, I know that the image for 2x6 plate is incorrect. I'm fixing it and will update my downloadable files soon.
    dmg111maniacMinifigsMe
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,938
    edited April 2014
    I would say it depends how big of a collection you have. With a massive collection, @henrysunset‌'s method is exactly what I'd do. However, mine is nothing like that big, so I just sort the bricks into general types (mostly using the same names for them I've used since my childhood :-P) - 'slopies' (angled bricks/roof tiles), 'flats' (1/3-height bricks/plates), 'human artefacts/accessories', interesting printed bricks, bendy bricks, SNOT bricks, vehicle pieces and so on. These are stored in an eclectic selection of biscuit tins, toolbox-type boxes with useful compartments, an IKEA toy-sorting box thing, and various official Lego buckets/storage containers.

    [Edit]: And I don't sort by colour, mostly due to lack of space/random containers. But with the larger 'types' (especially general/classic building bricks) I can see it would be helpful.
    flowerpotgirlTheLoneTensor
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,237
    Ive found that as my collection grows it makes sense to sort into general categories (e.g bricks, flat pieces, sloped) then split the categories more as each drawer/tub/container becomes too full.

    I've found that as well as the Akro Bins that @henrysunset‌ mentioned, screw sorting trays are great for the little flat 1x1 type pieces
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    Completely agree with above. Sort by type (however deep your collection is), not colour.

    It is much easier to find a specific colour in a pile of 4x1 bricks (or whatever you are looking for), than it is to find a 4x1 brick in a pile / box all the same colour.
    flowerpotgirlPaperballparkOldfan
  • timinchicagotiminchicago USAMember Posts: 239
    In addition to Akro-Mils, Really Useful Boxes are also, well, really useful. They are a bit pricey but Office Depot generally has them for less than online and they come in a seemingly endless varieties.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,242
    For my BL store I have the following major categories
    plates
    round/wedge plates
    modified plates
    tiles
    modified tiles
    bricks
    modified bricks
    slopes
    inverted slopes
    arches
    wedge bricks
    technic
    minifig parts/accessories
    Other

    Other is fairly large and includes wheels, windows, vehicle frames/parts, plants, radar dishes and all the little random bits and bobs.

    I'll try to remember to take a picture of my storage tonight. But I use the Sterilite Latch boxes and have stuff bagged inside. I bag by part type until it gets too much for a single bag then I start separating out the most plentiful colors. I find that it is easier to find a single 1x2 plate of one color in a sandwich bag size ziploc of 20 different colors than it is to bag each color separately and try to find the one bag that has just the one plate in it.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    I have two of the Akro-bins, which I'm relatively happy with. My biggest problem is that, even with labels, it can be time consuming to find parts.

    I also have a number of smaller clear craft/hardware organizers, which I use for part types I have large quantities of and that are useful to sort by color (1x2 tile, 1x2 and 1x4 plates, etc). I also have some of the large shoe box tubs that I use for basic 1x and 2x brick, larger plates, and greenery pieces.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,242
    Here is a pic of my current storage. There are more bins to fill those spots plus more that have to go on another set of shelves but I am doing some sorting so some are out in the living room.

    Furrysaurussidersdd
  • henrysunsethenrysunset Member Posts: 231
    Someone noticed that I had the images for Plate 2x6 and Plate 2x8 reversed. I've fixed this in an updated version on my blog.

    Link: tomalphin.com/2014/04/printable-labels-to-sort-your-lego.html

    Thanks again,
    ---tom
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited April 2014
    CCC said:

    Completely agree with above. Sort by type (however deep your collection is), not colour.

    It is much easier to find a specific colour in a pile of 4x1 bricks (or whatever you are looking for), than it is to find a 4x1 brick in a pile / box all the same colour.

    Where do you draw the line at element differentiation? If you have a different bin for every element, that's a billion bins. Even if you just did basic plates and bricks, that's like 30 bins alone. Then there are slopes and the dozens of modified bricks and plates. Do you double (or more) up in bins?

    One other aspect are black elements. I find they have to be extra specially isolated because they collect scratches like nobody's business.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    graphite said:

    Here is a pic of my current storage. There are more bins to fill those spots plus more that have to go on another set of shelves but I am doing some sorting so some are out in the living room.

    That's pretty cool. How much did that cost to put together?

    Btw, the bin below N17 is about to go kaboom.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,242
    ^ I had someone make the shelves for me since I didn't have space at the time to take on any huge woodworking project. I paid $400 for the 3 sets. Next round I'll probably do myself so it'll be cheaper. They're pretty heavy duty and sturdy so it was worth it to me. A few of the bins are a little over packed so it skews the shape a bit and they don't always rest properly. Just need to adjust whats in them a bit for the weight to be distributed properly. They won't fall even when like that because the rails are tapered just a bit so the fit gets tighter at the back.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 624



    Where do you draw the line at element differentiation? If you have a different bin for every element, that's a billion bins. Even if you just did basic plates and bricks, that's like 30 bins alone. Then there are slopes and the dozens of modified bricks and plates. Do you double (or more) up in bins?

    I have about 7500 loose parts, and I use some generic plastic drawer organizers that you can get in any hardware store. Lots of small drawers, several medium size, and a few big ones (for 2x4's, those big panels, etc.).

    I use some common sense to combine similar-enough parts to avoid the "one drawer per type" issue. For example, all my modified 1x1 plates are in the same small drawer (i.e. with vertical and horizontal clips). Same with the 1x2 plates, although I split those into 2 or 3 drawers. As long as you can find what you need, it works for you. Works for me!

  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 1,472
    I have found plastic bead boxes in the arts and crafts section at Walmart to be pretty useful also use rubber maid/plano tackle box trays. I also use the plastic drawers you can find in the hardware store/section. I sort by color, type and kind. I start with color, then move to type. I put black in one case then I put each type of brick in its own slot 1x1, 1x1 and so on. The only thing I don't sort by color is parts like flowers and wheels/tires. I still sort them by color but the case has multiple colors like the green stem and the yellow, blue, and red flowers in there own spot. Say the slot hold 25 bricks and I have 40 I put the extra in a plastic bag and place them in a box for refills later.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,237

    CCC said:

    Completely agree with above. Sort by type (however deep your collection is), not colour.

    It is much easier to find a specific colour in a pile of 4x1 bricks (or whatever you are looking for), than it is to find a 4x1 brick in a pile / box all the same colour.

    Where do you draw the line at element differentiation? If you have a different bin for every element, that's a billion bins. Even if you just did basic plates and bricks, that's like 30 bins alone. Then there are slopes and the dozens of modified bricks and plates. Do you double (or more) up in bins?

    One other aspect are black elements. I find they have to be extra specially isolated because they collect scratches like nobody's business.
    I think this is down to size of collection and personal preference. I think my collection is relatively small I have 17 categories (one of those is all the small 1x1 flat decorative pieces like cheese slopes etc that has a divider which every time I can get hold of a new divider box gets split further but I still count it as one category)
    Every time I start sorting it gets split a bit more, but it's much easier to split down a drawer into two separate categories than to go through a massive pile of bricks to resort all pieces. I'm sure eventually my organisation will easily have tripled in number of categories but for the time being it works.
  • 111ins111ins Member Posts: 265
    I have sorted out most of the extra used parts from several lots I have bought locally over the past few years. Originally, I was sorting by color, but as has been mentioned, it is hard to find a tiny part among 500 others of the same color.
    Recently on a mass grocery outlet run, I saw stacks of pizza boxes..... cheap ($25 for 50 16x16" boxes), easy to stack, large flat area to see parts and they have a nice big end to write on. I also taped the inside tabs of the bottom of the box to cover the little air holes and to keep the box rigid.
    If you cut off the side flaps from the lid, it make them easier to close as well so parts do not get stuck under the edge.
    They are currently stacked about 8 high which is a little much as it is hard to get the lower ones out if the boxes are fairly full. If you had shelves that you could put them in layers of about 5 it work very well.

    .02
    catwrangler
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 624
    OK, I just realized it hasn't been mentioned in this thread yet, so I'll add it now:

    The classic treatise on how to sort and store your LEGO!

    http://news.lugnet.com/storage/?n=707
    klatu003dejavusidersdd
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