The LEGO Storage Guide

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Whether your LEGO collection consists of 5,000 parts or 500,000, it needs to be stored somewhere.

Exactly how to sort and store it is a common topic of conversation in our forum and elsewhere, often started by newcomers to the hobby asking for advice on the best method to organise their collection and which storage products to buy.

To help answer these questions, Tom Alphin, author of The LEGO Architect, has published an online book, The LEGO Storage Guide, that "helps you understand your LEGO collection, find the best way to organize your LEGO bricks, and discover the best LEGO storage for your home and budget."

After sections on helping you to understand what type and size of collection you have, and the different strategies for sorting it, the bulk of the guide covers storage solutions, starting with drawstring bags and plastic boxes for small collections, to drawer cabinets and open-front bins for large ones. Specific products are recommended, and their pros and cons discussed.

Tom has big plans for it, and is actively seeing feedback within the guide itself, in the forum, and probably in the comments here too, in order to continually add to and improve it. It's already the best guide on the subject and as feedback and suggestions are incorporated, it will become the definitive guide on sorting and storing our beloved plastic bricks.

So, take a look, and let Tom know what you think. If you use products or methods that are not featured in it, he'd love to hear about them.

 

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31 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Perfect. Been hoping something like this might be written and created. Looking forward to check this out when I have a moment (and am not at work!). Thanks Tom.

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By in Singapore,

One storage method he missed is storing by Set (and then broken down by “bag” in each set). That is how I store all my sets (minus the Minifigures which I store/display separately).

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By in Switzerland,

This is great, I am just contemplating how to store my spare parts better, I'm starting to have issues with them as they pile up. I hope I can get some good ideas for storage in confined space.

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By in Netherlands,

I just dump everything in boxes and when a box is full I buy another box.

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By in United States,

You linked The LEGO Architect incorrectly. You didn't include the first "T" as part of the hyperlink.

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By in United Kingdom,

Ladondorf - the link works fine when clicked so not really a big deal huh....

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By in United States,

Darthmar lol that's funny.

I started sorting I think at age 11. I have larger drawers and I have used tape and cardboard to make separators. It is the most cost efficient way!(for me at least)

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By in France,

Very serious work ! thanks.

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By in Indonesia,

For me the best way to store my collection of Lego bricks is just putting them together. In other words, as soon as the number of sorted + to-be-sorted pieces becomes too much for my storage system, it's time to build something!

By the time the last free square centimeters glass cabinets and bookshelf start filling up it's time to open negotiations with my wife. The usual result is something like more space for my Lego in return for more handbags, wardrobe, etc. That's how I do it. Works really well, I must say!

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By in United States,

Great resource - love it!

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By in Canada,

Thank Tom! Will definitely read and share feedback.

I used to break up all sets and store by part type. Over time however I found that there are sets I like to build again (two, three times or in case of the Winter Village even more!). So I now store the pieces for those sets together. Thanks to the awesome fan sites such as Brickset and Rebrickable, it is not too much extra effort to retrieve specific parts I need for a build from those sets.

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By in Canada,

Since returning to the hobby in 2014, my collection has grown considerably - especially since I bought a few modular buildings, which together have added about 20,000 pieces. When I was growing up playing with Lego, I used to just have everything in a single huge plastic tub, and I'd spend hours just looking for the pieces I needed. Certainly the least efficient way to do things, but I felt part of the point *was* that search. Now that my collection's so large though, I might switch to a front-facing storage drawer system.

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By in United Kingdom,

Iv have this idea for a few years now !! Before this article was out!! + I have already go my lego bricks in there own box’s

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By in Canada,

I'm not much a MOCer as I seem to lack the ability of coming up with good models. So like darthmar most of my collection is in boxes sorted by theme/sub theme and in the case where there are multiple boxes per theme/subtheme then its broken down by year(s). Otherwise my loose piece are separated by categories (a la bricklink) as opposed to colour.

If I was to take all the pieces from my sets and organize them by colour and element it would take forever to put sets together. but if you're a MOCer than I guess this is the only way to go.

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By in Netherlands,

Am still moving things around but at the moment I'm using a mix of almost all the suggested storage options... sorted bricks by color, plates by color in transparent boxes some of which are in a zipbag in their respective container... Tiles in a zipbag, transparent box or tackle box (dependent on color)...'special' minifigs in transparent 8-compartment 'bead' boxes... Others in drawers.. Minifig utensils in zipbag in carton box (hopefully for the time being)... and some boxes undefined.... Does any of this sound familiar??

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By in Ireland,

Does anyone know if those funnel trays are available in Europe? They look brilliant!

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By in United Kingdom,

^ There's discussion in the forum thread about them.

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By in Canada,

Thanks for linking to this guide. As I was reading it I was wondering how many parts I owned, so I signed up for Brickset and added my sets here. Glad to finally be a member after 4+ years of lurking!

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By in United States,

I have the Akro-Mils Drawer and I use it for smaller pieces and for the larger pieces that I have more of I use big white ones. for my minifigures I have this circular Lego-compatible table (I don't actually build on it I just put sets and stuff on it before I put them in a more permanent display shelf) and this table has four quarter circle drawers and I put legs in one, torsos in one, heads in one, and hair/headgear in the last one. (accessories are in a small drawer elsewhere)

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article. But Akro-Mils drawer cabinets and their ilk (I maybe need 5-6) are really pricey. But here's a tip...
Decent Chinese take-away containers!
Shallow ones (Egg Fried Rice) and deep ones (Singapore Fried Noodles)
They stack.
They can be mounted on chopstick runners.
Works a treat.

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By in United States,

Akro-Mils drawer cabinets aren't terribly expensive here in the US because they are a US company (based in the northern part of my state, Ohio). My grandfather and my father both used Akro-Mils drawer systems to sort things like nuts and bolts in the garage. The system has remained largely unchanged over the years, because it just works well, IMHO.

Here in the states, Chinese takeout containers are usually made of coated paper or cheap Styrofoam, so they're not terribly useful after they've served their original purpose. :-P

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By in Canada,

^^The takeaway containers used in the UK are great! I have more than 300 of them, stacked in bigger drawers. At about 10 cents each the cheapest solution so far. Unfortunately I cannot get them here in Canada for a reasonable price, but luckily I have family coming over from the UK regularly.

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By in United States,

^^^I'm in the US and just had Chinese the other night and my place uses solid plastic containers. I suspect if you have a restaurant supply place nearby you could get them cheap in bulk if you wanted to use them. As it were though, I use Akro mills and currently have a thread on the forum going about the possibility of generating labels from brickset 'parts you own'. As for now I'm using Tom's labels and not only are they incredibly well designed for easy identification they're also more comprehensive piecewise than I thought a few days ago.

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By in United States,

Thanks to everyone for the kind words, and the feedback to help make the guide better. I've received a ton of great feedback, with 25 comments here, 30 comments on bricksetforum, and more than 40 comments on my website!

I did want to quickly respond to a couple comments on this thread:
@david20009 - I will add a third section on storage for complete sets in the future. (It's a common request.)

@atbricks / @shaase - How do you store complete sets that are not assembled at this time?

@Brixfan02 - Which circular LEGO-compatible table do you own? I assume it is designed for younger builders (even if it's being used by an AFOL.)

@PSD77 & others - I assume people are talking about the rectangular cheap plastic containers with a lid. The higher-end Chinese and Thai restaurants use those here in Seattle. Pretty cool that you can get 1/2 litre rectangular containers with a lid for about 20 cents each.

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By in United States,

@PSD77 - What do you mean "They can be mounted on chopstick runners" ?

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By in Romania,

Writing a whole book about storing bricks and parts?! Aren't people amazing!

Who will read a book about something they know enough about so as not to have to read a book about it?

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article. It has inspired my 11 year old son to spend this afternoon sorting out his 'medium' collection. Of course, I'll be drafted in to help (and not get distracted into building something...)

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By in United States,

@MonsterFighter - That's great... Good luck helping without building too much!

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By in United States,

Just finished reading "The LEGO Storage Guide," and my compliments to Tom Alphin (henrysunset). I found the guide to be comprehensive, relevant, and well written. Nicely done!

@henrysunset - I think you're wise to add a section about storing complete sets, both built (i.e. still together) and taken apart (i.e. in pieces). I know the thought of keeping sets together (i.e all pieces for a set in one container) is repugnant to some LEGO builders, but I know several mothers who like this storage method. While the majority of my collection is pieced out, I have found over the years that storing a complete set in a zip-lock storage bag works quite well. The large, two-gallon zip-lock bags are even big enough to hold up to 2,200 elements, as long as the elements are not all BURPs (big ugly rock pieces). Just a thought.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've got 8 Divided parts cases, like you'd use for nuts/bolts. Just about fits my Technic collection minus whatever is built at the moment. Works well for me but I'm finally getting to the point where you can't have them all open at once and reach them all comfortably. Dedicated building and storage area coming up??

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