Henry is not quite at an age where he regularly plays and builds with Legos. However, over the last year, we’ve been gifted quite a few Lego kits that with our help, he has been able to assemble and then play with. But after a few days of playing with the new truck or car or helicopter, it often gets put aside. And then as Legos tend to do, they eventually fall apart, get stepped on, get dropped, etc. Add to that a few ruckus playdates and a birthday party with nearly 20 kids, and Henry’s small Lego collection was essentially dismantled, spread across the house, and all mixed together. Over the last few weeks, I kept coming across more and more random Legos…and as I threw them in a basket to “deal with later,” I’d cringed at the thought of the eventual task of getting them all sorted out. Well…I finally decided we needed to deal with the Legos situation before it got worse…and I am pretty proud and excited to show you what we’ve done. Let me show you our simple yet effective way to sort and organize Lego kits so they are contained, accessible and easy-to-find!
By the time I decided to tackle the Lego situation, Henry’s 10 Lego sets were all in various stages of construction and destruction. Some boxes were falling apart, some manuals were missing, and who knew which pieces belonged to which kits. As I said, Henry is still on the young age for Legos; and if he/we ever wanted to re-build any of these kits again, it would be practically impossible until they were sorted out and reassembled.
To get the kits “playable” again, I knew we needed to disassemble anything that was currently still assembled and sort out every last kit using the piece inventory in the back of each manual. When I told Greg what I wanted to do, I’m pretty sure he thought I was nuts. But after 2 movie nights of working together…we had all 10 kits sorted, reassembled, and labeled! It wasn’t nearly as painful as we thought it would be, and the results were more than worth it:
Not only are 9 of the 10 kits (miraculously!!!!) complete, but all the cardboard boxes have been replaced with sturdier, snap-top, stacking boxes, and all but one original manual has been found (which I am pretty sure we will find once the packing starts for our upcoming move).
Sure getting these all these Legos sorted and put back into their original kits was a bit tedious and time-consuming. But it was oddly therapeutic and relaxing to sort and count bricks…and boy am I glad to have our situation under control and a system in place now before the collection grows! (I’m from a big Lego family, so I know with certainty our collection will indeed grow!)
If you have a similar Lego situation on your hands and need to get your Lego kits under control, here is what worked for us!
Start by assessing your Lego situation and counting up how many different kits you have. I found the original Lego boxes to be quite frustrating (they collapse easily and don’t close up well after they are opened), so I went looking for a better option. I wanted boxes that had the following criteria:
- Snap-top lids
- Fit the Lego pieces and manuals comfortably
- Came in a variety of sizes (to hold a variety of sized Lego kits)
- Were a common and easy-to-find option (so I could buy more down the road as we need them)
- Inexpensive (because we’d need quite a few!)
I eventually landed on Sterilite® Clip Storage Totes in various sizes, specifically, the long flat size, the mini size, and the large deep box. (NOTE: I found mine at Target, but they are also available on Amazon.)
Once, you’ve settled on boxes, it’s time to painstakingly sort all your Legos back into their kits. Here are a few tips that helped us:
- As painful as it may be, disassemble everything that is already assembled so you can accurately account for each and every piece
- Use the inventory that is in the back of each Lego kit manual to identify which and how many pieces belong to each kit
- Missing manuals? You can find every manual PDF HERE! #lifesaver
- If you have a lot of jumbled up kits as we did, it helps to sort out the Legos by color first before you start assembling kits. As you need to identify pieces, start in the right color pile, and narrow down from there.
- Note which pieces are missing (more on that below!)
- Get help…it goes faster as a team effort.
- Turn on re-runs or a movie you’ve seen before to help pass the time because it can be tedious work!
Once you have all your kits re-assembled, load them into appropriate-sized boxes and include the manual.
As many of you Lego fans know, most kits come with extra and miscellaneous pieces. We loaded all of these random pieces into their own box; and we also made a box full of generic non-kit pieces that can be easily pulled out for playing and building. Right now, Henry doesn’t create his own creations, so having them all in one box is just fine. I am sure down the road we may need a more sophisticated storage system for free building.
Honestly, most of the small Lego kits came together quite quickly. I think we had all 9 sorted in an afternoon. However, we also have an Expert-level kit that contains more than 2400+ pieces. Our Ferris Wheel met an untimely end when it was accidentally pulled down during a playdate. Like our other, smaller kits, if we ever had hopes of putting it together again, it needed to be disassembled and inventoried. Accounting for all the pieces in the Ferris Wheel easily took us twice as long as all the other kits combined…but it is so nice to know we can eventually put it back together again with relative ease!
Keeping the pieces sorted by color wasn’t necessary for the smaller kits; however, reassembling such a large kit will be made much easier by having the colors already sorted out. As such, we loaded these bricks into Ziplock baggies before putting them all in a snap-top Tupperware.
One of the most exciting things of this whole organizing adventure was to learn that ALL the little kits were complete (which is a true miracle!) and only 8 pieces were missing from the Ferris Wheel kit (another miracle)! Did you know that you can order replacement bricks from Lego? I am convinced we will find more bricks as furniture is moved out of this house…but in case we don’t..we now have a list of the exact pieces we need to order from Lego to complete the Ferris Wheel again!
With all of the kits sorted, accounted for, and loaded into new (sturdier!) boxes, you can certainly stop there. I, of course, had to add some labels so Henry could see/find what he had. If you’d like to do the same, here is how I did it:
- Measure the tops and sides of your boxes to determine the best label sizes.
- Use Google to find and save images of your Lego kits.
- Using a graphic design program (PicMonkey, Illustrator, Canva, etc), create labels that include the Lego Kit name and number, as well as the picture (if desired).
- Print the labels onto cardstock or photo paper and trim down with scissors or a paper trimmer.
In addition to the kits, I also made labels for our extra bricks and pieces…
My favorite hassle-free way to attach labels to plastic boxes is with clear packing tape. Cheap, quick, removable…and looks nice, clean and smooth!
I chose to label both the tops and sides of my boxes, so we can quickly and easily tell which kit is which.
Boy, it sure is nice to have all those kits back together…but the cute little labels are pretty awesome too!
Now there is no mystery about what kits we have and where the pieces and manuals go when we come across them. Hopefully, with these newly organized kits, we won’t have as many random Legos around the house as before!
Ahhhh…so much better!
Although it was somewhat of a happy accident, another reason these turned out to be the ideal boxes is that they fit perfectly on our IKEA Kallax shelves! #meanttobe (NOTE: I also bought a few extra boxes so the next time a Lego kit makes its way into the house, it can immediately be transferred to a better box, hopefully reducing the amount we lose after building!)
I will certainly be putting these away during future playdates and parties…but man it is so nice to have a tidy, functional, and accessible way to store our Legos now!
My goal was to get these kits back to a state where Henry could build them again. Half disassembled and parts spread across the house, there was really no way for Henry to play with his Legos anymore (since he’s not quite to a place where he can spontaneously build on his own). Literally, within minutes of me placing all the Legos back on the shelf…Henry brought the little blue car kit into my office and asked to make it. Because of this organizing project, he could easily see and remember what he had again. We sat right down to make the car, and boy was it so nice to be able to easily complete it without having to rummage around or hunt for missing bricks. #gamechanger
You can now see all my Lego storage solutions by clicking below!
My Organize This series is all about (relatively) simple and quick organizing projects that make a big difference in your day-to-day life. These aren’t intended to be large organizational overhauls, but rather quick sessions you can accomplish in an afternoon or weekend! This Lego project may take a bit of time depending on how many kits you have, but with some good music and helping hands, it’s easy enough to do today or this coming weekend! Catch up on other projects in this series by clicking on the pictures below:
We are just at the beginning of our Lego adventure with Henry, and I am sure our organizational needs will evolve over time as he explores different ways to play and create with them. For now, though, having each kit sorted, complete, and labeled will allow all of us to enjoy these kits again…and when he’s moved on from that particular creation…it now has a home to wait for Henry to come around again!
I hope you all are having a fantastic start to your week! Coming up on Thursday…my long-promised Linen Closet reveal! See you then!