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Storing instruction book(lets)

GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO Member Posts: 354
Over the past year I seem to have acquired quite a few Lego sets including the instruction booklets. At first keeping them sorted by size kept them nice and neat but as their numbers increased it became increasingly hard to find the one I want (due to lack of display space I frequently build, unbuild, rebuild). I have just sorted them all into numerical order which will let me find the one I want I guess but A) It looks awful on the shelf and B) I'm about out of room on that shelf for them. How do others keep their booklets? HELP!


  • autolycusautolycus Member Posts: 1,427
    Mine are in comic/magazine sleeves with boards and then in a comic box. They’re grouped by theme and sorted by number. I got the idea from one of the Brickset user articles that ran earlier this year.
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO Member Posts: 354
    autolycus said:
    Mine are in comic/magazine sleeves with boards and then in a comic box. They’re grouped by theme and sorted by number. I got the idea from one of the Brickset user articles that ran earlier this year.

    Grouping by theme sounds like a good solution. Except possibly the CITY sets, I have a few of any one theme, CITY on the  other hand I have a lot of. They can be in different places even which solves the 'shelf getting too full' problem!
  • rd1899rd1899 Member Posts: 210

    My vintage set instructions (1970-1980s, plus early Star Wars) are in binders, inside sheet protectors.  Most fit in normal letter-sized (8.5 x 11-inch) protectors, while the taller booklets are in a legal-sized binder (8.5 x 14-inch).  I also made inserts/labels for each set with the set's number, name, release year, theme, sub-theme, et cetera, using Microsoft Word mail-merge.
    As for more recent sets, I'll probably end up using a system with hanging file folders and magazine sleeves.
  • OldfanOldfan Member Posts: 703
    I used to use 3-ring binders with sheet protectors for the larger instructions and photo/card pages for the smaller ones, but the binders couldn't take the weight and the sheet protectors were always getting torn.  Now I use 6 drawers' worth of file cabinets with the instructions in hanging file folders, organized by theme (Star Wars and Classic Space each get a full drawer). I still use the photo/card pages for the small instructions; it's easier to have all the contents be approximately the same size inside the drawers and removes the risk of the really tiny booklets accidentally falling out of the hanging folders.
  • vanvonfullvanvonfull Member Posts: 261
    good stuff, thanks for the ideas and that old thread. 

    I will be doing this in the new year and will try for a combination of baseball card sleeves for small, comic book for medium and leave large as is in a file cabinet. 

    Right now they are all in random piles in various boxes organized by when I got the sets (or autobiographically if you've seen 'High Fidelity'). It will be nice to get them organized by theme/year.
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO Member Posts: 354
    Hmmm ... I am contemplating the file folder system(s). I would have to move and/or get rid of some other stuff but there are file drawers right below my Lego work area. I could include the numbers (or a number range if more then one set's booklet in the file) and it would help me find things numerically as well.
  • FizyxFizyx Member Posts: 1,332
    I think my biggest piece of advice when you're setting up your solution is to plan as far ahead as is feasible.  I started out by storing them in binders in protectors, as I think the majority of collectors who keep the instructions do these days.  But I also knew that I was going to have a large collection, and knowing that and having made the move from the binders to a filing cabinet... I should have just done the filing cabinet in the first place. 

    The reasons are two-fold, but both of them are related to poor planning.The first is more obvious;  I knew I was going to be getting enough sets at some point that the binders would likely become impractical, and moving from the binders to the filing cabinet is a bear just due to how much needs to move over, setting everything up, etc.  The second is probably not as obvious right up front:  You'll notice that when I'm mentioning keeping things in binders I'm NOT mentioning any kind of serious organization in the binders. I kept instructions together based on like size on a first come, first served basis.  No sorting by theme/set number at all.  (I did track in my own spreadsheet what binder each sets instructions were in though, so I wasn't TOTALLY hopeless :P )  Now, if I had organized them from the start, it wouldn't have totally negated the need to move to the filing cabinet, but it certainly would have held the need to change over until a much later date, and it would have easily cut the effort of that move in half, if it didn't reduce it more.

    TL;DR: Plan plan plan plan.  5 minutes of work now, and and extra minute here and there to keep things organized will save you hours and hours of headaches in the future.
  • iwybsiwybs Member Posts: 363
    I sort by theme in hanging file folders inside a filing cabinet.  I also download all the PDF instructions and sort those by set number on my computer.
  • arathemisarathemis Member Posts: 598
    edited December 2020
    I sort them by theme and put them in Puzzle boxes/board game boxes (thank god i have plenty left from when my son was a toddler). Then the boxes get stacked one on top of each other on shelves.
    When a box fills up, I then sort them by size in that theme, and I make a City Large instructions box, and City small instructions box etc. (kinda how you divide the Lego drawers when they get filled up).
    All of these apply to Creator, City, Creator Expert, seasonal, ninjago, star wars etc and technic small.
    The technic large manuals can stay as books on a shelf, as most of them are thick enough to hold on their own vertically.
  • EGRobertsEGRoberts Member Posts: 255
    I use stackable containers made to hold hanging file folders. Has worked quite well and keeps the instructions organized and safe. It is also expandable when I run out of room I just go to walmart and buy more.  Can't find the exact one I get but it is similar to this only bigger;

    zoomed image
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO Member Posts: 354
    Thanks to everyone for the various ideas. Different methods would work for different folks due to space and quantity I am sure. For me the whole concept of files was best since in spite of the fact that my work area is on top of file drawers I had never thought of it!
    For me it works just fine!
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