After you take into account the LEGO Organization and Storage Considerations we spoke about in the first part of our series, you are ready to move forward.
Do make sure that you look over the first post above and have taken the time to watch your boy play with LEGO and get his opinions on what works best for him as you don’t want to get a system in place that won’t be used!
We are going to cover what to do if he wants to rebuild sets, sorting LEGO by color or piece, and the big bin method (tossing it all into a bin and being done 🙂 )
There are several more things to think about before you get to the actual systems of storage. Believe me this is not a waste of time. I have heard from plenty of moms who put a LEGO organization and sorting system into place but it was never used. Or it became a big issue that the boy wasn’t wanting to use it the way they had expected.
Go through these ideas and talk with your boy to see what he thinks.
LEGO Organization and Storage Methods:
There are a lot of ways to go about all of this! Our family has tried a few and I will share our experiences below. Take the time to find the best system for you and your family and it will be a dream to use.
Does He Want to Be Able to Rebuild Sets?
The very first thing you need to find out is if your boy wants to be able to rebuild the original sets. Some boys really want to do this and other couldn’t care less.
If he does want to rebuild, trying to keep the pieces for the sets together is your best bet. I know, it can be hard to do this but . . . it takes a L O N G time to find all of the pieces he needs to build his 3803 piece set if they are all tossed in a bin. (note: we do not own that set but it sure is awesome!)
Keep the sets together and have a strategy for keeping them together over time. Have him take out a couple of sets at once and help him get the pieces back into the right boxes when he is done. Yes, it takes time on your part, but teaching him some organization skills is helpful. Help him to understand that if he wants to rebuild sets he needs to keep everything organized.
Personal Experience: My son keeps his sets in the original boxes. This works great and it is a very visual storage solution. He does take pieces out of these sets to build new things often, but he just puts them back when he is done. Since this is his preferred method it isn’t a hassle or an issue for us. He likes to be able to find his pieces.
If you do not need to keep the sets together for future set building you have three main options:
Store LEGO Bricks by Color
Take all of the bricks and simply sort them by color. A lot of people end up doing this and I see a lot of posts about doing it this way but, to be honest, I am not exactly sure why.
Some AFOL (adult fans of LEGO) use this method with sub-sorting by element and for them I totally understand how it would work well. For boys with smaller collections, I just don’t think so. While I do think it would work well with sub-sorting and that would be a hard thing for younger boys to keep up with. (Feel free to tell my why this method is great! I am flexible 🙂 )
Personal Experience: It doesn’t work well for us because we are usually looking for a specific element and it would be hard to remember what color we had and thus where we would find it.
Store LEGO Bricks by Element
Sort by element so that all 2X2s are together, all wheels are together, all plates are together and so on.
Personal Experience: We did this and I thought it was great! It was so easy to find what I was looking for when we were building. If he asked me where a piece was–zip! I had it.
My son, however, found it really frustrating and ended up dumping them all back together. This is why it is so important to pay close attention to how they play with LEGO. I put a system into place that was great for helping me find the pieces he needed but not so great for the way he liked to build.
Yikes!!! It was tough to watch him dump the pieces back into a bin after all the time we spent sorting. However, they are his LEGO and he has his own way of doing things. What works well for him, ahem, is not always what works well for me.
Store Them All Together
There are plenty of families who are quite happy to just dump all of the LEGO into a bin and call it good. To be honest, sometimes this is the best option. It is easy to use and there is not a lot of extra work.
However, it can be excruciatingly hard to find a specific element–especially the piece that they just have to have because no other substitute can be made! And it gets much harder as your collection of LEGO grows.
You could also have specific bins for each child in which they store their own pieces. This might cut down on “discussions” on which brick belongs to which child.
There is a huge bin of LEGO at our library and believe me boys are super happy to dig around in there and find cool pieces to use in their builds so it doesn’t stop the creativity from flowing, that is for sure.
Now that we have gone through the considerations and the sorting methods, we will move on to systems.
Up next is actual LEGO organization and storage systems you can use. I hope you are enjoying this series and that it is helping you to work out the best way to live with those wonderful bricks.
Stop by to see all of our LEGO posts including books and activities for boys if you haven’t already. We share a lot of great LEGO ideas there.