Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lego Organization

For an updated version of this post with better photos, see this post.

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Like most little boys, my son becomes absorbed by his current interests.  Unlike most kids, his interests each last for a period of years.  In nearly eight years, he has been interested in cars, then dinosaurs, then Legos. The whole Lego thing has lasted for three years and shows no signs of abating.  It's a hobby that I'm happy to encourage, but the volume of Legos is rather overwhelming.

It was his idea to begin organizing them.  It started with, "I really need some trays to sort my Legos."  Then the trays multiplied.  Then the trays became drawers, and the drawers multiplied.  The desire for organization is his, but the maintenance of the system seems to fall on me, as he can't seem to look at a pile of Legos on the floor without building something.  Secretly, and when not under the time pressure of an imminent visit from our housekeeper, I rather enjoy color-sorting Legos.  Adding order to chaos is a good thing.

Knowing my son's passion for Legos and my passion for organizing, several people have asked me how we organize Legos.  For those inquiring minds, here's the answer.  Don't judge.

1.  The Legos are organized by color into 10-drawer rolling craft carts.  I recently labeled them, as they weren't usefully translucent, and I couldn't resist alphabetizing the drawers (I doubt this will last).  The benefit of the craft drawers is that they can be easily removed and moved to a work area.  The unit also is on casters, making it easy to move it (or remove it, when the Lego aficionado misbehaves).  I bought ours at Sam's Club, but you can find similar ones at Michael's, Jo Ann Fabrics, and a bunch of other places.

2.  Other drawers (yes, that's a second cart to the right in the above photo) contain divided trays for separating and containing colors if there are not enough to warrant an entire drawer.  I bought these at Target.  I believe they are the Itso line.

3.  Instructions are kept in plastic sleeves in three-ring binders.  They appear in the order of the index at the front of the binder.

4.  Each binder contains an index, which is alphabetized by theme and in numerical order within theme.  The index is also helpful for letting shopping grandmothers know what he already has.

5.  The binders are kept with the other Lego books and reference materials.

6.  Current completed work is displayed on shelves. 

Unfortunately, the child is also into Lego Bionicles.  His "big gift" for Christmas was an 11-pound box of miscellaneous Bionicle parts I bought on eBay.  The number and variety were enough to tip him over the organizing edge.  The Bionicles, which used to exist in a single box, are now sorted by color, type, and (I think) release date--the little general directed his grandmothers in that sorting process--and we are awaiting our next two sets of craft drawers.

So, there you have it.  My husband thinks that we are both lunatics, and he's probably right.


  1. Wow, you are really scaring me! I love to conceive of systems like this and plan them, but always loose stem about 1/3 of the way into implementing them. Good for you to get it done. Tell your husband that my sister and I organized our legos in a similar way -- we didn't have as many but we used several bins with trays that were designed for hardware (screws, nails, tools etc...)

  2. Can I pay you to come organize our playroom, Cyn? I consider myself a pretty organized person, but those two monsters I call my offspring contrive to spoil all my best efforts. I am convinced you'll have more success.