Hello everyone, I am new to this forum, thanks to my sons' LEGO collection which I took upon myself to sort while in the process of decluttering my house. I have spent a week's worth going through many plastic tubs of mixed bricks and finally got everything sorted by color because it was the easiest for my brain.
Now what? I am aware of about 35-38 sets that my sons built in the past (Power Miners, Aquaraiders, Mars Mission, Atlantis, Batman, Indiana Jones, Agents, Castle, Star Wars, some Bionicle) and for which I kept the instructions booklets. However, another half of these bricks come from a friend who parted with her collection about 10 years ago and it's mostly Town, Police, Trains (x2), Soccer, Spiderman, Paradisa, Fort Legoredo, some Harry Potter and a Yoda UCS. I probably have over 200 Town minifigures alone (10 chefs, 15 police officers, 10 train conductors etc etc).
I am not personally very attached to my friend's old collection, but in the effort of parting with some of these sets, I thought the exercise of sorting them was necessary. However I received them in piles of loose pieces as well and given the large amount of basic bricks, I could probably make any set from Town if I wanted to, haha.
I think I would like to keep some of my sons' sets as they have a bigger emotional attachment to them, but others I am not sure if they are very valuable (aside from Yoda) or worth my time to rebuild.
Any suggestions are welcome as I feel a little overwhelmed looking at the 50 heavy duty ziploc bags now filled with bricks, although nicely stored in a few bins.
I personally would start with trying to piece together today, then everything else. Probably Spiderman and Harry Potter after Yoda.
Since you have already sorted by color, I'd start off with two or three smaller sets and use the parts lists in the manuals to pull parts for each set. by choosing a few sets to start with you can pull parts for all of them in one pass through the color-sorted bags, saves a bit of time on finding the parts.
The window came in Dark Grey with Tr. Brown glass in sets 1349 and 6740.
Judging from the surrounding bricks, #6740 looks like a safe bet.
Personally when I have gotten the parts sorted by color for a lot (and have instructions) or know- based on the parts- what sets are, I then start to inventory sets into bags with the larger sets first for a few reasons:
1) typically larger sets have the larger parts. once you burn through those you then have an easier time finding parts for smaller sets (which tend to use smaller parts)
2) if selling them, the larger sets tend to do better resale wise than smaller sets.
Though others have touched on it, there are color variations in sets starting around 03-04 as gray moves from 'classic gray' (yellowish tinge) to new grey (often called bley) which has more of a bluish tinge I believe. The inventory lists at bricklink also help with this as well as they note what is a new color vs an older color often.
In any case try to know the difference in the way the old and new colors look as if you are rebuilding sets you will want to ensure the correct parts and correct colors are in those sets, especially if you plan on selling them.
BrickLink is what most people use, but for older sets, Peeron can be better - it's not been updated for about five years, so few people use it - but that means it's faster! It's also simpler (some people would say "dated").
All the sites have their own strengths and weaknesses. None of them are 100% accurate.
As @madforLEGO said, be careful about colours - but with an extra reason or two. Brickset uses TLG's naming; other sites usually don't. The same goes for part numbers. If you switch sites half-way through life can get confusing, especially as the mapping isn't always 1:1.
Not only will it solve the problem you mention, but it will also mean that when you make a mistake and allocate a similar piece to the wrong set, you'll be able to back-track and fix the problem. It won't necessarily be easy, but it'll be possible.
Incidentally, before you proceed down this route, are you sure that your son will never come out his "dark age". There are many people here who regret disposing of their childhood sets when their interest has been revitalised, perhaps when they have children of their own. It didn't use to be a very fashionable thing to do, but that's changed rather, as this whole site indicates.
No really though I agree with the idea that you should keep your sons sets. I have messaged people on ebay who are selling their kids stuff and told them to keep them. The memories they will have in twenty years will be priceless.
The one thing that saved my sanity while doing this was the brickstock program. ** This allowed me to get a set mostly together, and easily keep track of which parts were missing (usually small parts). I also created a spreadsheet where I kept track of which sets I had identified (do I have the instructions, container (for some sets), the box, how many pieces are missing from this set, etc?), and as I got further along, where I had stored the collection of parts for a given set (this last part was vital, as when I found a piece - or pieces - that belonged to a set, finding where the rest of the set lived was critical).
I second the advise others have given you - including keeping all you have, until you're sure that it won't be wanted later. And starting with the small recent sets does give a moral boost with the number of sets completed - or mostly completed - at the beginning.
Although I think you've already done this, I will just add my experience: Take everything apart! There were several parts that I thought I would not find - bigger parts - but then when I took apart one more "little" MOC my son had done, there it was!
Ask again as you move through, and of course, we'd all love to see more photos!
(It's free in collector mode, but well worth the $20, if the full version is needed - and no I have no affilation with this program other than as a very satisfied customer)
I hear you!! My sons are very attached to their minifigures for example and keep hiding them. They are teenagers now but still like to play with them. I expect to keep finding bricks all around the house - the only regret I have now is about all those that went down the vacuum years ago. LOL
I will check out brickstock, although I noticed that Bricklink has lists with checkboxes and that looked perfect to me.
I said none of the sites was 100% accurate.
Brickset isn't accurate because parts that are no longer available weren't listed. If you read the bit at the top of the inventory it says that it's only 80% accurate. That's because of the way they're obtained (automatically from TLG) - it's not so much an error as a known limitation.
BrickLink and Peeron used to rely on user-entered inventories - so they're only as accurate as the person who entered it made it. Sometimes they were created by people looking at the instruction manuals, which means they're likely to have the right number of bricks of the right sort of size, but the detail might leave something to be desired - in particular, BrickLink used to have a reputation for getting certain colours wrong.
Personally, I wouldn't do anything with this legos other then box 'em up for him to discover years later. Let him rediscover his youth just as he left it. For you, if you want to build lego, go buy some sets to build
I have 3 kids who have pretty much moved on from lego, I store their stuff in boxes just how they left them. If they tore apart an X-wing, it's stored in a a box as is. I'm sure in other totes are the remaining pieces if they want them. Nothing has been thrown away...I've kept all boxes and instruction, so later they'll know what to hunt for.
Just as I was coming out of my Dark Ages, my family were visiting my parents and my mother dug out all my old LEGO for my daughters to build. It was, frankly, amazing to see all these old sets in the exact same state as my brother and I had left them, probably 28 years earlier. My last Classic Space starship MOC was there, just as if I had stopped playing with it the day before.
It brought back so many memories that I spent hours that night going through all the old sets and parts, rebuilding many others.
Here is a little update. I have made progress in my sorting, I have finished sub-categorizing most colors : red, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, tan, brown (4 shades of it), white. I also set aside the printed pieces and the ones that still had stickers on them. I made progress in gathering the pieces for UCS Yoda and the tiny Harry Potter set (Flying Lesson). Once I finish those, I will do the trains as they were not as scattered as the other sets. In other news, I ran out of plastic baggies, so I need to go back to the store and buy more before I attack the black and greys.
If you want to help me in the identification game, here are some shots of the printed pieces. I can't wait to finish categorizing all colours to start assembling. Now where is that little grey brick with LEGO printed on it? Alas I have to go through 6 bags of dark grey to find it.
Grand central station (train)
TV van and helicopter
Some juniorized sets from the late 90's
Those long beams are for garage door pieces, so you should have a load of 1x2 brick with slots in their sides that match the slot in the long pieces
Eureka! Now that's where these were from... They had me stumped alright. I think I have this one thanks to the blue jack: http://brickset.com/sets/6369-1/Auto-Workshop
those blue pieces with stars, I think it's town too, but from before. 1995 or 1996. I think race vehicles in the lego island video game had similar patterns and it featured models from 95 or 96.
- the car bonnet/hood with a 1 on it is from 6550 Outback Racer
- below that you've got a set of three printed 1x4s, and below them there are some sloped bricks with a headlight print which, along with the red/white striped 1/x4s elsewhere in the pic, might be from 6565 Construction Crew
- the 1x4 tiles with woodgrain effect look like the bridge pieces from 6584 Extreme Team Challenge
I would have never found these. Thank you so much! :-) Now I know where the tent is coming from too.
Technically, I could have all these sets and more... http://brickset.com/sets/ownedby-Ririnette.
All I had to start were piles and piles of bricks... the trains were the most complete, but even there I cannot even guarantee that they will even work.