We LEGO every day. It’s our go-to creative outlet, math manipulative, and imaginative reality. So LEGO organization is vital for being able to find the pieces we need and keeping them off the floor.
Our LEGO organization system has evolved over the past year. We went from one small box of a few random pieces to a collection of several sets. In this post I’m sharing some advice for organizing your LEGO pieces so you can maximize your play. Of course every home will have different needs and what works for us might not work for you, but I hope these ideas can help you tame your brick pile.
Start with play.
Observe how your kids use LEGO to figure out what makes sense for your family. Taking a good look at how your kids play will inform your decisions on how to organize and what kind of space works best.
- Do they follow directions to build sets or are they more into free building?
- Do they like to keep their creations put together *forever* or are they cool with taking them apart?
- Do they like to start a large project and add to it a little at a time?
For us, we have to consider the toddler in the house, so LEGO is confined to the table (yeah, the Table formerly known as The Dining Table) My kids like to free build mostly and do both small and large projects. They keep things built for a bit, but eventually modify and/or take apart their builds. So we needed storage for loose bricks and parts as well as a small space for built and in-progress projects.
The Sort: Color and Size and Function
Unless you don’t have many LEGOs, you’ll probably need to sort your pieces to make it easy to find what you’re looking for! The tricky part is finding the balance between easy to find and easy to clean up.
Some families keep one huge bin of LEGO and dump out the entire thing to find the piece they need. While this may work for some, it would be problematic for us because of the baby. Also, my son is not the most eagle-eyed finder of pieces.
Sorting by color is a popular method, but to my mind size and function are much more important. Unless you have a vast number of bricks, I don’t see much point is separating by color.
Don’t commit. (Until you’re ready.)
It’s really tempting to find a gorgeous storage container, buy it, and then try to make it fit your needs. But that’s backwards… and will probably backfire.
After you have made a preliminary decision about what you need, use temporary storage until you are sure.
We initially did a sort by piece size, which was working well. I had things separated out into plastic bins with lids that I already had. We figured out that the lids hindered cleanup and the boxes too up too much space on the table.
Eventually we discovered drawers as the perfect solution. We have these square-ish drawers. I liked them because of their broad and shallow size. It’s easy to rummage through the drawers when they aren’t too densely packed. I also liked their semi-transparent drawers and basic white color. Since they are in the middle of the living room, I didn’t want anything too garish!
It’s also convenient to use the tops as display for projects. Once it gets too cluttered, it’s time to take apart some stuff!
Drawers are ideal for cleanup. We can open up all the drawers and quickly toss pieces in. Because the kids were part of the organizational process, they know where everything belongs. I do help with cleanup, I’m not going to pretend that this will be completely manageable for kids. But I really don’t mind lending a hand, to be honest. I like playing LEGO too!
We use LEGO in so many different ways. I plan to share some of the learning-type things we’ve done recently so stay tuned for that.
How do you use LEGO in your home? How is yours organized?