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Storing sealed sets

paul88paul88 Member Posts: 169
I cannot find a clear answer to this question and I'm very surprised to say that.  I was wondering the best way to store sealed sets (especially larger ones)?  I would think on their edges as they are displayed in stores.  The main issue with this is that all pieces settle to the bottom and the bottoms bulge out putting pressure on the bottom tape seals.  If they are stored flat, it seems that the weight would be distributed better and would not cause as much bulging, but you'd need to be careful putting one on top of another so that the weight on the bottom set isn't too much.

I would have just assumed on edge is best, but I remember seeing a video of the LEGO archives and if I recall correctly, I saw boxes stacked on top of one another in that "official" video.  Please share any thoughts, ideas and experience with either method long term.  Thanks!
Onebricktoomany

Comments

  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,252
    I generally store mine in their shipping casepack boxes.
    OnebricktoomanyKungFuKennygmonkey76
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,037
    I store them on the edge, but either tightly packed on a shelf, or inside a cardboard box, so there is no chance of bulging. The other benefit of storing them on their edges is that you can easily pull out the set you want to build, instead of having to go through tall stacks.  
    OnebricktoomanyPyrobug
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 577
    For a long time, I mixed and matched storage styles. For smaller boxes, I often stood them on their sides, as they were in stores. For the larger ones, however, I had to do with stacking them. Space in my little closet was at a premium, so I had to get clever in Jenga-like ways about storing all the unopened sets. This changed when I moved over a year ago, and my Lego room has a large closet that has ample space to store every box side-by-side in a tiered system that has the largest sets on the floor, semi-large sets on the rows above, medium sets above them, small ones over that, and the tiny ones left scattered up above. Eventually, I plan to add shelves between the tiers to take most of the pressure off the lowest levels.

    If I continued to keep the sets in my old closet back in my mom's house, I would have to rotate their positions from time to time in order to prevent bulging or permanent sagging due to weight.

    Now, scuffing of edges is another major point of storage not addressed. I haven't tried to fool with that on my own because box integrity is what is important to me, not appearance. I imagine one would need to line all edges with some paper cutouts. That might draw more paper-eating bugs to the collection, though (yes, certain roaches here in the USA will munch or feed on cardboard or paper, not to mention poop on them, so be aware if you live in the Southern USA).
    MorkManOnebricktoomany
  • paul88paul88 Member Posts: 169
    Thanks a lot for all the posts, guys :)  I have decided to do a sort of mixed method, actually.  MOST sets I am stacking 3-4 depending on the weight.  I have previously had almost all of them standing on edge.  Upon closer inspection I definitely observed tape seals on the bottom edge of some boxes more stressed/slightly lifting and this is most likely due to the bulging.  These are going on shelves, I do not have shipper boxes so that is not an option unless I wanted to source some.  For the time being, I'd rather just have them out in the open so that I can see them.  I recently moved into my own house (about a year ago) and most have been in storage, so it's nice to just have everything out for observation at this point.  Some really small sets I am ok with setting on edge as they do not have tape seals (just the perforated part for your thumb to open). 

    Lego_Lord_Mayorca the edge scuffing is a good point, as I definitely saw this on some sets when I was looking them over.  I have finished my star wars section and now need to get all the other themes sorted in some way and re-shelved.  I live in the northeast and though there are some types of destructive insects here, thankfully I have not seen any kind of evidence or destruction in the year I have been here at this house.  The sets are in a finished basement all on shelves off the floor.  My best sets though and few classic sets are all stored upstairs.  Thanks again for the information and feedback!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,461
    I store mine mostly in larger containers (both cardboard and plastic bins) in a Tetris like fashion to fit the most per box. These I stack up to maybe four high at most, but in such a way that the set boxes are not supporting the weight. Many of the larger boxes are on a rolling metal shelving unit that is 24x48x72”. So that takes away the stacking problem.

    The ones in my basement are all off the floor (or in a bin), but some of the the ones upstairs (mostly sets waiting to be parted out) are on the floor on edge.

    I think the scuffing problem is due to pulling sets out and putting them back, which happens a lot on store shelves, but not often in my collection.

    I like the idea of having the set boxes out where I can see them, but for me, keeping dust off them takes priority. The bins also make them a lot easier to move.

    Finally, I label each container with a post-it listing the set numbers. I’d never be able to find anything otherwise!
    M1J0E
  • lkliment2lkliment2 ChicagoMember Posts: 152
    Word from the wise: do NOT keep them on the floor of your basement. I’ve found its best to not tempt fate...
    AstrobricksSnizzlebuttsFizyxgmonkey76oldtodd33kiki180703drdavewatfordbricktuary
  • HarryvaderHarryvader USAMember Posts: 2
    edited June 23
    I keep almost all of my sets sealed, and there is just not enough space to stand them up vertically (the problems with edge scuffing and bottom edge bulging out are also real). Stacking them horizontally is the only option. Luckily for me, I have some tables and shelves from IKEA that I can store sets perfectly in (Kallax shelves are perfect for storing smaller sets, and tables/bookshelves are great for larger ones). 

    In terms of stacking boxes, my personal experience has been that as long as you stack the boxes with the same size and dimensions (a $100 box on top of another $100 box) on top of one another, you'll most likely be fine and not cause any damage to boxes on the bottom (so, in theory, you can stack more boxes on top of one another, but only if they have the same dimensions. The weight will be distributed evenly). However, it is possible, under rare circumstances, that the surface of the bottom box may sink down a little (it's very minor. You probably won't even notice it) due to the weight on top. Simply flip the box and have that surface facing down for a few days, and the box would look brand new again. 

    Do not stack smaller boxes on top of larger boxes or the other way around, you increase the likelihood of crushing or deforming bottom boxes. If you are not comfortable with stacking too many same-sized boxes on top of one another, just have 4-5 boxes of the same dimensions per stack, but I fear you may run out of space as your sealed collection grows so use shelves or stack more if necessary. 

    If possible, keep the temperature and humidity controlled, humid environment can deteriorate your boxes quicker. 
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 577
    ^Spot on with the stacking of same-size boxes only. It's why I ended up stacking my sealed sets in the closet as I did--to prevent deformation due to mis-matched box dimensions and weights. However, this is thankfully becoming an issue of the past as those shelves I mentioned in December are finally a reality! I now have three custom shelves in my LEGO room closet to accommodate the largest sizes of LEGO boxes that I have. Finally, they are free from being crushed by the weight of other sets. However, I have not implemented an anti-skid or scuff-resistant solution. Currently, the shelves are bare, treated wood. But since I'm not moving the boxes a lot, the scuffing should be minimal. As for any bulging while standing vertically, I'll have to be on the watch for that. So far, everything looks fine, though I anticipate some bulging near the bottom of the boxes as the bags of pieces inside settle in one big heap.
  • HarryvaderHarryvader USAMember Posts: 2
    edited June 23
    ^If you have wrapping papers, you can try putting them on your shelves as an extra layer of protection to prevent scuffing. I find edge scuffing to be a bigger problem than edge bulging for displaying the sets vertically. Lego boxes have very fragile corners, and any kind of scuffing can deteriorate them. 
  • csinghcsingh SydneyMember Posts: 2
    Hi all,

    So I've started collecting in the past few years. Brand new sealed sets only.

    I've stored mine in my garage, up high on a separate storage level. 

    I generally keep the Lego boxes in their original postal boxes. However I've recently been storing smaller sets together in large plastic storage tubs. Each item is bubble wrapped to protect the original boxes.

    Plan is to keep these sets for a very, very long time (10, 20+ years).

    Any thoughts from those more experienced about whether these storage methods are ideal?
  • KungFuKennyKungFuKenny Deep in the Heart of TexasMember Posts: 1,430
    edited July 26
    csingh said:
    I generally keep the Lego boxes in their original postal boxes. However I've recently been storing smaller sets together in large plastic storage tubs. Each item is bubble wrapped to protect the original boxes.

    Plan is to keep these sets for a very, very long time (10, 20+ years).

    You also have to worry about temperature and humidity- I could never keep sets in my garage as temps here can hit above 100 degrees F in summer and below freezing in the winter.  Your sets should be protected from box crushing though.  

    May I ask why you are storing them so long?  Do you build sets also?  I get the view that sealed sets are attractive to look at but not sure about the “time-capsule” approach.  Are you looking to do this as an investment?  If so, over the long run you may be better off with a nice stable index mutual fund instead!  It can be pretty dicey trying to pick sets that will be huge earners 10 years down the road (just ask all those who have a garage full of #10188 Death Stars!  
  • csinghcsingh SydneyMember Posts: 2
    csingh said:
    I generally keep the Lego boxes in their original postal boxes. However I've recently been storing smaller sets together in large plastic storage tubs. Each item is bubble wrapped to protect the original boxes.

    Plan is to keep these sets for a very, very long time (10, 20+ years).

    You also have to worry about temperature and humidity- I could never keep sets in my garage as temps here can hit above 100 degrees F in summer and below freezing in the winter.  Your sets should be protected from box crushing though.  

    May I ask why you are storing them so long?  Do you build sets also?  I get the view that sealed sets are attractive to look at but not sure about the “time-capsule” approach.  Are you looking to do this as an investment?  If so, over the long run you may be better off with a nice stable index mutual fund instead!  It can be pretty dicey trying to pick sets that will be huge earners 10 years down the road (just ask all those who have a garage full of #10188 Death Stars!  

    Located in Sydney Australia. Gets to about 40-45 at its hottest, maybe 2-5 in winter. Garage is fairly well insulated, don't feel the temps too much in there.

    Used to build, don't have time anymore. I invest in the share market as well, so whilst it's a form of investing, it's more so a hobby to collect & store. 
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,860
    I have a lot of sealed boxes stored away for my personal collection as well. I have them mostly stacked on each other but try to have them  'standing up' and not on their sides (unless they are the same size). I plan on opening most, if not all, of them so the box condition does not concern me, (which is why my #10185 Green Grocer and #10228 Haunted house are practically open boxes as the boxes have so much damage, I have no worry about 'breaking' the seal on them then).
    Otherwise for boxes sets where the condition does concern me I have large Rubber maid and sterilite bins that I try to put those sets into. I try not to keep them all in shipping boxes as that can be a bulky pile of cardboard lying around (plus the bins offer some hope for keeping the bugs and weather conditions away).
    gmonkey76
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