I'm Tom Alphin, author of The LEGO Architect book. For the past 6 months, I've been working on a new in-depth guide exploring LEGO Storage topics.
I'm pleased to announce that my LEGO Storage Guide is ready for people to enjoy (and give feedback.)
The guide is extensive, with 10 chapters and around 50 pages of free content:
Section I: Organizing, Sorting, & Storing LEGO Bricks — The guide walks you through the process of understanding your LEGO collection, exploring different ways to organize your collection, great storage solutions for a LEGO collection of any size, and additional tips and tricks.
Section II: Displaying & Storing LEGO Minifigures — This section explores some of the best ways to show off and protect your favorite LEGO minifigures.
The guide is informed by detailed surveys of around 200 LEGO enthusiasts. The data analysis helped me prepare LEGO storage recommendations based on the size of your collection and other factors.
The guide is well researched...
It contains results from a detailed LEGO Storage survey with about 200 responses, learnings from interviews with top LEGO builders from around the world, and recommendations based on numerous articles, books, and forum discussions on bricksetforum.
I hope you enjoy reading the guide, and I can't wait to hear your feedback! I will continue improving the guide in the coming weeks, and am tracking your suggestions for future improvements in the acknowledgements section.
P.S. I'm eager to hear - what's your favorite LEGO storage product?
Please use our links: LEGO.com • Amazon
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As can be seen in the storage discussion threads, the best solution is do what works for you.
I will read it more in depth tonight at home.
The funnel tray was something I didn't know and I will certainly get me one of those!!!
@Switchfoot55 & @kbenjes, Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you like the labels, and I hope the guide is valuable, too!
@arathemis, Thanks! I' look forward to your feedback!
@CCC, I will need to look into those alternate sizes. 3x3.25" seems like a great size - the wider zipper makes it easier to get parts in or out!
I looked for a funnel sorter on Amazon and was pleased to see that the price varies from a mere £35.65 to a whopping £204.01. Postage not include.
Seems so reasonable, I bought a few spare ;-)
One thing that popped in my mind: you describe alot of systems/ways to sort of which each have their own pro's and cons. Maybe it's not a bad idea to add a small evolution of someone and how storage stuff purchased on the beginning of their collection still has a place. I recognise alot how I sorted my bricks and I still use the big drawers I used in the beginning.
Like others also suggested I would idd add something about the UV and dust. For me that's the reason why I keep most of my bricks in Really Usefull Boxes (for dust) and certain pieces into not transparent boxes.
PS: For some spare and rare parts, so really parts of which I dont have many in my collection and which are for me not so easily put into a specific group, I use the PaB cups:
cheap: check, I already paid for them :-)
Oh, and they are cheap. :-)
@covi - I'm glad to hear that the guide is easy to read! It's a pretty dry and technical topic, so I tried to ensure the text was easy to follow and utilized images, bulleted lists, and other tricks to keep it simple.
I will think about ways to better show common evolution of storage, although I feel like this is covered reasonably well by the progression from no sorting (small collection), to sorting by category (medium collection) and finally sorting by brick or element (large collection). Do you have something in mind to make this clearer?
I will eventually cover topics of UV and dust - it's in the backlog! Also a good point about PaB cups. They are "free" if you buy a lot of parts at retail, and it's a good option for seldom-used parts like you suggested.
@Hanzo - Which Nut and Bolt organizers have you tried?
As for me, I use a combination of those drawer storage boxes for the small stuff, along with lots of 1.6L and 3L Really Useful Boxes for anything larger. I also have a few 9L (or similar) boxes which contain everything else - all the parts which I may only have a few of.
£4.60 including delivery from USA.
I thought the Draper/Raaco system was pretty much the same thing? I have these:
Draper are blue, and Raaco are black, otherwise, they are identical in equivalent sizes.
And you never buy enough at first.
If you're having trouble locating funnel trays, try your local pizza restaurant. Cut the corner off a pizza box, instant funnel tray, and they come in multiple sizes.
In the Displaying Minifigures section, LEGO has (at least temporarily) come out with a second option, the Ninjago Play and Display case. Perfect for displaying 24 minifigures straight out of the box, 48 if you add risers, and plenty of room for oversize figures. I cannot recommend stacking these cases, the lip in the base is very shallow. I'm hoping they sell well enough to prompt LEGO to release more variants.
I wanted to get Akro Mils cabinets after downloading your labels, but I found Aldi Workzone cabinets that are very similar for less than half the price. As @CCC points out, they might not get restocked, or the dimensions might get changed. Workzone appears to be an Aldi "house" brand, so I have hope they will get restocked, but I bought 10 to ensure it would at least take a while before I need more.
Also, I do have one of the Raaco drawers, but both are quite a bit more expensive than the US equivalents.
As for the price of the Raaco: yes, everything is more expensive this side of the pond. I've found the Raaco/Draper ones on sale quite a few times over recent years and the last one I bought was £20 delivered from paperstone.co.uk, which seemed fine to me.
I've received more than 40 comments on my website, great feedback on this forum and numerous emails today. I'm still working through the feedback, and adding changes that I hope to make in the future to my backlog.
In the meantime, I encourage you to keep the feedback coming! As Huw noted in the article on the Brickset homepage, I want to make this the ultimate guide on the subject.
For me it's already the ultimate guide. ;-)
Love the guide!
I've shared this photo with you before but I think it's relevant again here for context.
Standard plates are stored by color and type on the right in ArtBin Super Satchel slims, and Bricks by color and type in ArtBin Super Satchel's. I've hot glued 2x4 plates to the front of each bin and attached a brick of each color to the front for identification. Some colors share bins, common colors get their own.
As a Canadian I had a really hard time finding a reasonable price on Stack-On or Akro-Mills storage drawers. Instead I went with a local Canadian retailers version of 60 drawer cabinets. Mastercraft, made and sold by Canadian Tire http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/mastercraft-60-drawer-plastic-parts-cabinet-0581084p.html . Regularly on sale for 25-35% off and have been made for years. The plastic drawers are semi flexible, and stackable, although a tad smaller than the Akro Mills drawers. However this allows me more drawers in the same space. 10 cabinets, aka 600 drawers, accommodated the bulk of the elements you have made labels for.
Bottom right is reusing old "shoe" boxes from a previous system as has categories like doors, tires, wheels, car fenders, 1x2 slopes, foliage etc.
Any surplus that doesn't fit in it's respective bin get's bagged and put into a deeper storage with a note in it's labelled bin with the quantity/color in deep storage.
I also keep a random bucket I can scrounge through for inspiration.
Keep up the awesome work and feel free to reach out to me if you want more details/photo's or product recommendations from a Canadian. .
Thanks for the work Tom, will read and share feedback.
Incidentally these boxes are also sold directly by "Flambeau" as "tufftainer" with part numbers like 9101T and they can be cheaper that way. The boxes are basically identical (except the snaps are black) - Flambeau makes them for various vendors under different brands. Michaels Canada sells the single-compartment deep boxes, which you can buy with their weekly coupons - the only problem is the snaps and handle are bright pink (they used to be white - why do they need to pinkify everything, I'll never know).
For that matter, if you had the interest, you could create your own larger sorting device that works something along the way a coin sort mechanism works, to sort things by size.
Yes I've seen the ones at Michaels, but they don't sell the divider ones unfortunately.
Another item of note is the bookcase I use is an Ikea Billy "15 inch Deep" Bookcase which unfortunately Ikea discontinued a couple years back. Looks like MrShinyAndNew has the same one.
I bought 1,000 for about 10$ at a restaurant supply shop.
I'm at Chapter 3 a the moment.
Any feedback is welcome, and you can send feedback however is most convenient. I've been working through feedback received via email and as comments on the website.
(I guess comments on the website are easiest, since they are automatically correlated to a specific page of the guide?)
Look forward to the feedback!
However taking all the stacks out and lining them up is cumbersome. It took me 15 minutes to find the figs for the MMV set pictured above. I can see connecting them to plates, but that would drastically increase the space needed to store.
Any tried and true solutions out there?
Instabrick comes in handy for identifying torsos. If not found there, I use Brickset's Browse by color in knolled view to search. Then I move to Bricklink to see all the minifigures that contain a particular torso and see what I have to match up. If the torso is unique or only has a couple of matches, it is easy. to determine if I have the whole minifigure. I find it more difficult when the torso could belong to a couple dozen minifigures.
Yes, love me some Nic Cage..
I haven't tried this myself, and it may depend on what your end-goal with storing the minifig parts is, but I've often thought that it might be worth sorting them by theme (as much as you can, of course, since there is sometimes some overlap) at the highest level, then breaking them out into smaller groups like you have. Especially if you are often looking for them to put together for specific sets or use cases, I think that might help to get you to what you're looking for faster. But again, haven't actually tried it myself, just something I've thought about.