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Running out of space & looking for storage solutions

LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 246

We’re on the brink of outgrowing our current storage solution and I was wondering if anyone could give any advice what to do next.

So currently we have an Ikea table (Lack, £5) for the kids to build on. Then two Really Useful Boxes (I think they are 18 ltr) that sit underneath. It’s compact and looks reasonably tidy when they are in bed, as tidy as it ever gets with a 2 and 5 year old!

All the sets we have are still built (a mix of Disney and Friends so far) but that is going to be a problem when we add more sets. I’d love to break them down by part in the hope that the girls might start to build their own creations eventually and we would still have the instructions and pieces should they just want to rebuild the set again.

So the first box under the table is Duplo, which was much loved until the Lego arrived. Now our two year old seems to have dropped it in favour of the much cooler bricks her sister has. So I could cull the Duplo. I don’t think either of them would even notice it was gone.

The second box is all Lego. It has smaller builds, spare bricks (from pick-a-brick), a folder with instructions, unbuilt polybags and a hobby box with compartments for the minifigs and small parts (studs, food, printed pieces etc).

My initial idea was to add a second Ikea table, which would then accommodate two more boxes underneath, plus the box I would clear of Duplo, giving us three more boxes in total. That would give us space for another couple of months so long as we don’t go too crazy. But it is just delaying the inevitable.

My problem really is at some point it is going to have to give with the built sets and tough decisions need to be made with what is dismantled. When that happens it seems the right time to start storing by part. Could anyone give me some guidance on how to do that with a modest collection? I’ve seen big collections on YouTube with drawer after drawer but I can’t find any advice on how to do similar with small collections in this way. Sadly we don’t have the space for a Lego room :( *sniff*.

So how should I store the bricks and how should I break them down? The hobby box we currently have (not sure what brand it is) is a bit rubbish as the compartment dividers seem to move about meaning I end up with parts in the wrong place.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,854
    If it's any help, discussions we've had here before (I'm afraid I don't recall the thread title, but I bet someone else can dig it up) suggest that it might be quite a while before you need a solution involving breaking stuff down by part. I'm not a parent myself, but a lot of the members with kids have mentioned that their children seem to prefer to MOC with all the parts mixed up together. I feel like when that starts to become frustrating for them (for me, it was when I was 8 or 9, but your mileage may vary), they'll come to you looking for a way to sort parts by type or colour...
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,346
    ^this - I’ve had a few parents come to me asking similar to what has been asked and I always tell them that most kids see the organisation as Work and loose interest but show them my set up. 

    Every single one has said that after spending a couple of days sorting LEGO for they kids the end result is either that the kids stop playing with the LEGO or it becomes a complete mixed lot again in the space of ten minutes and the very thought of trying to organise it again led the parents to opening up a bottle of wine instead.

    My boss was one of these parents - he bought a ton of boxes to use, spent a weekend sorting all the parts and after two weeks admitted his kids hadn’t looked at the LEGO when it had been their favourite toy. They now use one of the paymats with a drawstring built into it which lets them just hoist the bag up when the kids aren’t building.

    children of AFOLs who free build a lot might be a little different but generally I think if you start trying to put too much order to a child’s creative process then they loose interest.

    If I were you the only thing I’d consider doing is perhaps looking at what other RUBs stack to make the equivalent of an 18l - the kids might start a natural sorting with two smaller boxes that makes sense to them that they wouldn’t with lots of sorting trays. 
  • LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 246
    Thanks for the replys.

    I think it's my adult brain that is shuddering at the idea of throwing all the pieces in one box, but you are probably both right! It was what I initially set out to do but I just keep trying to bring some sort of order to it as it as it grows. Perhaps I just need to stop and let them loose on it all.

    I may keep the idea of the hobby box as they like having quick access to certain figures and accessories (food, coins etc) and just tip all the rest into the bigger box. Argh, I'm getting cold sweats just thinking about it. I might need to open that bottle of wine! 
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,346
    Did you play with LEGO as a kid and did you have it ordered in any way?

    Sounds a patronising question but it’s one of the things that’s helped me explain to parents why their kids don’t see the benefit of sorting - it’s less about not seeing the benefit and more just wanting to play.

    When I was a child we had one massive box that all the LEGO was thrown in and I know that most of the building I did started with tipping the entire contents of that box onto the floor and rummaging - that was part of the “game” of building.
    When I got a little bit older I got into Bionicle and I kept the Bionicle parts seperate, but it was still a box of unsorted Bionicle parts. That’s why I suggested looking at other box sizes and letting the kids develope any natural sort of organisation that makes sense to them.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,543
    We are currently sorting the kids Lego to make it a bit easier for them to find stuff. Primarily getting minifigs and accessories their own bins and separating tiny parts from the big ones as they are hard to find as they always sift down to the bottom.
  • LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 246
    We had a biscuit tin with a few pieces of Lego that I think were passed down from someone else. So yes we did have Lego and no it wasn't organised but then all the bricks were (at least to my memory) classic 2x2 or 2x4 etc. I think my inclination to split out the smaller parts is mainly due to never having had such complicated or exciting things in my rather square house builds lol. 

    The type of things in the hobby box (aside from food etc like mentioned) are things like this but I think perhaps you're right. How are they supposed to learn how it works if they don't have it out to play with in the main box? Right, that's it... when I get home chaos is coming home with me! I'll take the unbuilt polybag stuff out of the box, and the instruction books and find a better place for those to live and try and make the Lego box easier for them to just dig through. 

    They can use the hobby box to keep the minifigs and dolls handy and I might still get them a second table just so they can spread it all out a bit more.

    Thanks Shib! :)
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,583
    The only thing I would add to @Shib's comment above is to throw a bedsheet on the floor before dumping that box of LEGO, as it makes it much easier to clean up at the end of a building session. For many of us, a sheet on the floor is more feasible than a dedicated LEGO room.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    edited February 2018
    I agree about not religiously sorting kids' lego. In one family I know, the mother insists on sorting everything by colour. So the black technic beams and black wheels will go in with black bricks and other parts. Then the kids want to play with it, cannot find anything and end up dumping all the boxes on the floor, only for the mother to sort it all out again by colour each time.

    If you are going to sort, I'd do bricks and similar in one big box, technic type parts in another, wheels in another, and then minifigures and minifig parts / weapons etc in the last. And not get worried if the kids get bits in the wrong place.

  • LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 246
    The bedsheet is a good tip, thank you. :)

    I mean part of me thinks perhaps they are just too young for the technic pieces (the 2 year old certainly is) but I do accept that the only way to learn is to have a go. If I separate them out they will probably never pick them up, they haven't done yet. Although to be fair to my two year old she does understand that the technic piece that sits in the bottom of the mast on Moana's boat slots into the hole in the base. I discovered this as Moana had a nasty ship wreak the other day and watched her slot it all back together. So maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.

    CCC - the "black box" sounds like hell. I can't get my head around sorting by colour but then my eyes aren't what they used to be. 
  • LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 246
    Thank you for the advice everyone. I came home and with help from the kids we've put everything besides minifigs and their accessories into the big box! They were very excited and for the first time talking about what they could build. My eldest was even asking for a particular part, of which I don't have any that aren't already used in a set so I know what to pick up on payday! :) It also made me realise how little we have now it's in one place. Need to get on with fixing that. Thanks again!
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