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Mixing-up large parts collection (new/used, diff era)

principalbricksprincipalbricks AustraliaMember Posts: 4
Need some advice before I go down the irreversible path of mixing-up my parts...

My collection has grown to ~50 large assembled sets — consisting of both new retail and older used sets.

I always hope to disassemble and consolidate all the parts for some free-play/MOC. But also want to re-assemble them back to the original sets one day.

For my new retail sets, the bricks are in great condition. For older used sets, some bricks are bit dull/scratched.

Plus even our beloved LEGO isn't perfect, with variations in quality and mold across different time periods.

So in an ideal world, I should separate new/old bricks. But I don't have enough space or money for duplicated sets of storage. Even if I do, it's hard to draw a line on which set is considered "new" v. "old".

I worry that re-assembling the original sets after such a consolidation will be a nightmare.

I imagine the sets will never look the same again with glossy bricks next to scratched bricks. And the mold variations through the years could cause alignment and clutch tightness issues? (e.g. I have even basic 1x2 bricks from ~2000s that have slight misalignment, which I once read was a known production issue?)

Hoping for advice from others who also consolidated their large new/used parts collection, and how to achieve a happy practical balance.

Many thanks!


  • daewoodaewoo DFWMember Posts: 770
    If I want to build something again, and for some reason have taken it apart, I won't mix the parts at all.  They will stay separate in a bag.  My OCD will not permit anything else....which is odd considering the considerable bulk I have accumulated over the years.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,403
    If you mix up 50 sets of the same era, you will have a lot of difficultly separating them all again. To mix across eras, then it will be a huge amount of work to separate variants.

    But why would you need to mix all 50 up? Take one set, break it apart and MOC with just those parts. If that is not satisfactory, take two and MOC with those parts. Keep within the same theme / era and you don't need to worry about variants. Keep going with 3 or 4 but don't mix up all 50. Sorting them out again will be much simpler than going all in at the start and mixing up 50 at once. 

    If there are parts from some sets that you find you use a lot, then buy some extras on bricklink. 

  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,239
    edited September 21
    I don't intend to ever get rid of my LEGO collection (2600+ sets). Someone will have to deal with it after I die. I don't care too much about mixing old and new bricks; they're meant to all work together, after all. 

    You could break your collection down into two groups: old, scratched bricks, and new, relatively pristine bricks.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 559
    How old is "old"?  Everybody seems to have slightly different definition of what they view as "old".  Depending on the context or whom I'm talking to old can be 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even 2000s.

    If you're truly worried about mixing up your sets start buying some bulk bricks for your own creations.  BrickLink or BrickOwl are good places to start.  Inevitability your going to find you don't have enough of particular element and have to go down this route anyway.
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 685
    Won't apply to everyone, but the main thing that broke me out of this was realising a large part of my collection was loose parts and sets that had been refurbished from boot fairs and charity shops, which meant most of my collection was jumbled by default anyway. 

    I've got a few precious ones still built, but I haven't missed the sets being separated at all. An organised hoard geared towards MOC stuff is more fun, and with a decent sorting system, at the points it matters you'll be able to dig out similar condition bricks without too much trouble.

  • principalbricksprincipalbricks AustraliaMember Posts: 4
    Thanks for all your sharing and suggestions!

    I have bought some parts, but as the size of MOC increases, I was hoping to use my existing sets first before spending more money.

    It's such a hard balance — LEGO is meant for creative building, but the price (and beauty) of big sets also mean preserving the original build and parts as-is... 😔
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