The Hardest Part of Moving – Organizing the Lego Collection

DIY Family GeekMom

Although our family is not a military family, we move around the country as much as some of our military friends. When your main bread winner is employed by the Federal Government, any state is a potential place to move some day. Right now we are transitioning from spending five years in New York, to setting up a (hopefully) permanent home in Colorado.

The logistics of moving a house full of stuff, accumulated by six people, can sometimes be tricky. But one of our hardest challenges, every single move, is getting the Lego collection transported across the country.

Our Lego collection, before packing began.

First there’s the problem of how to pack dozens (I’m not exaggerating) of models that were already built. Most are unique creations, made from one of my sons’ imaginations, with no ‘rebuild instructions’ available.  After having ‘the talk’, about how some pieces will fall off in transport, we finally settled on the solution of zip top bags. Smaller creations were tucked into the sandwich size, larger ones in the quart size. Before they got ‘stuffed’, they were diligently photographed (to help us remember the original creation, but I also have plans to make a fun photo book in the future, documenting the many interesting things they’ve created through the years).

I see this as a two pronged solution. One, the pieces to each creation stay together. And two, I know my sons’ will stay busy for months, slowly dumping out each bag and seeing if they can re-create that specific creation. Some of them will become new builds entirely, as new inspiration is sparked.

Now that we’re on the other end, and that huge truck will soon show up in our driveway, loaded down with all the things we love (I get my sewing machine back!), it’s time to figure out where the Legos will go, and how they will be organized. In our old house they migrated, from covering a huge ping pong table, to covering the entire play room floor. This time around I’m trying to be more proactive.

Beyond the individual creations, we have four large tubs of 'assorted' Legos.

I found a few great websites online, that give tips for keeping your brick collection in line. Some people recommend the stacking method. You can also choose to buy storage bins, of many kinds, to keep your colored bricks sorted out. Wiki answers has some interesting ideas. The ideas in this post seem to be the most logical, when it comes to how our family builds.

We’ve sorted our huge collection by color, in the past, but they only stayed in their assigned tubs for a brief time. Too many hands (sons, friends, neighbors) dug through them and found the piece they wanted, neglecting to return them to the pile when building time ended. I can’t say I mind. The purpose of our piles of Lego bricks is, after all, to encourage building and creating. It ruins some of the fun when drill seargent mom demands everything be put back in its rightful home.

So for now we’ll welcome our boxes and boxes of Legos, as they’re unloaded from the moving truck. The boys will dig in and soon the carpets in our new home will be dotted with color. I’ll let them get some of their excitement out, before I insist we settle on ‘a system’. But I’d love to ask you, fellow Lego owners…how do you organize your collections and does it really work? Do you ever, ever, get to actually vacuum that carpet, where most of the building takes place?

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6 thoughts on “The Hardest Part of Moving – Organizing the Lego Collection

  1. Oh, I don’t envy you packing and moving. Good luck!

    We use plastic storage bins for most of the Legos, but specific kits are returned to their box when they’re taken apart. I have a rule that nothing can be a dust collector, so my son has to choose which built creations stay out. He has a limited amount of space on his dresser. We take lots of photos!

  2. Great post Judy! Kris and I were discussing doing a point-counterpoint type post about our different Lego organization schemes (I just overhauled ours in December, organized by theme, Kris organizes by color if memory serves). Your organization method (pure assortments) is actually a third option. This will be a fun companion.

  3. I’m in the process of finishing up a set of Lego cabinets which are designed around the Really Useful Boxes that Office Depot has. They are locking lid boxes (a bit on expensive side – but worth it). When completed, the cabinets will have a small play table in the middle of the two supporting cabinets, and a large hutch piece across the top for more boxes. Things are organized by color right now, except for the really small specialty parts, which I keep in plastic Plano fishing tackle boxes (with little divided spots for each part type)

    It helps that I also enjoy woodworking as a hobby, but it’s a great way to keep everything sorted and organized so the kids (and I) can easily play with our 30+ years of Legos.

    Yes, I own the Classic Space Galaxy Explorer set. Complete. 🙂

  4. So glad you brought this up. Our floor is also un-vacuumable because of the overflowing creativity! We are actually looking into making a build table/storage area that was featured in a recent Family Fun magazine. It’s basically a board over 2 or three carts with drawers. It might do the trick. We shall see….

  5. I can’t offer much of a solution, since I’m wrestling with that question myself! My husband and I have too many dustcatchers…

    I like the idea of photographing the builds; I certainly wish my parents had done that with the multiple grand creations my brother and I came up with when we were younger. All we have left is a couple of incidental photos of “general playtime” that happen to have some legos hanging out.

  6. We had a problem in our house with LEGO all over the floor, then my wife found these cool Lego play mats called GoGoSac’s which also convert to lego storage sacks, makes clean-up so easy after play time. We now how 1 for Lego, 1 for Duplo and the last for barbie bits. We love them and have saved many a yelling match in our house with kids to clean up. If you interested you can find them here

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