Our kids love LEGO sets, but finding easy ways to organize LEGO for 4 kids can be overwhelming. We have hundreds of bricks, blocks, and figures of all shapes and sizes. We have tried various ways to organize LEGO pieces. Read on to find out which ways have worked to organize them and which ones have not.
Fun fact: According to LEGO® , a “brick” is the basic building block of LEGO® . If you are talking about more than one LEGO® brick, the plural term is LEGO®, not the word “legos” that many people use. (Get an extra 15% off on Zulily!)
For anyone who has ever stepped on a LEGO piece, you know how important it is to get them off the floor and into a safe place.
The problem is often the question of “How?” How do I organize the LEGO pieces? How do I make them accessible to the kids while keeping them picked up? How can I find the easiest ways to organize LEGO sets?
Our kids absolutely love LEGO (on Amazon or Walmart), and we have sets that stretch from Disney princess to Star Wars and everything in between ranging in difficulty from DUPLO blocks to LEGO Architecture. If you name a category, we probably have at least one set from that category. They have received many of them as gifts, but they have also bought many of them with their own money that they have saved up.
The building blocks provide hours of creative play and enjoyment. Our kids and their friends will literally spend hours in the playroom building with their LEGO pieces
Over the years, we have tried many different methods of organizing and storing all the pieces and manuals. Some of them started small and evolved into larger methods. Some of them were abandoned all together because they just didn’t seem to work well for our kids.
Advantages of Organizing LEGO
But…There are definitely some advantages to finding a system that works for you and your kids:
- Helps avoid fights over pieces – Though, these are still inevitable and, in our house, usually occur over the most random pieces or some LEGO figure hair.
- Helps to find pieces more easily – Whatever system you decide on, it usually helps the kids find the pieces more easily without too much frustration.
- Helps to keep the room clean – As mentioned above, one of the biggest issues are the pieces all over the floor, so ways to organize LEGO bricks can help things stay cleaner.
Tips to Control the Madness
In addition, kids aren’t usually known for being the most organized people on the planet, and they are more concerned with having fun and building epic structures than putting a block back in the right place. (I mean…who wouldn’t be.)
However, with 4 kids and numerous LEGO (on Amazon or Walmart) structures in varying degrees of construction, we needed some way to keep things under control. At some point, though, there is going to be a big pile of mixed up pieces that have been thrown down or dropped.
As such, there are a few tips to help with this. We aren’t after perfection here. We want to encourage creativity and want the kids to have fun and enjoy their play without worrying about where things go every second. Although, we also want them to be responsible and clean up after themselves. It’s a balancing act at times.
- One thing that was worked for us when our unorganized pile gets too big is that we take a few minutes to organize. I will set a timer for 30 minutes, and we all spend that time organizing and putting things back in the right place. After the 30 minutes are up, we go back to playing. We do that for a few days or maybe twice a day until the pile is reduced. It’s not perfect, and it takes time, but it works fairly well…small steps.
- Another tip is to have a specific place for them to drop pieces. We’ll talk more about this later, but having a centralized area where they can toss unused or unwanted pieces is a huge help. It keeps them off the floor and creates a catch all place that can be sorted through and reorganized. Ideally, they would put the piece back in the right place, but as parents, we all know how that goes most of the time.
- An excruciating near-death experience by stepping on LEGO pieces is the fate of every parent with the bricks in their home. Eventually, no matter how hard you try, the pieces will end up on the floor scattered from wall to wall. We try to avoid this painful situation by having a 5-10 minute clean up to focus on getting all the LEGO pieces off the floor and into their proper place or into the unorganized pile mentioned in tip #1.
- The last thing that we have done to try and keep LEGO under control is to keep them confined to one room. In our case, it is the playroom, so they aren’t allowed to take the LEGO out of the playroom into any other area in the house. There have been exceptions for special builds that they did not want destroyed by a sibling, but for the most part, they stay in the playroom. Whether it’s a bedroom or playroom, I highly recommend trying to keep them in one space as one of the helpful ways to organize LEGO sets.
Ways to Organize LEGO Pieces
We tend to organize our LEGO by color, except the DUPLO blocks. The simplest and often easiest storage solutions using plastic bins of varying sizes. I prefer to use clear ones (at Walmart) so that you can see what’s inside as opposed to the solid color ones. It’s also better to use smaller ones so that kids can manage them on their own. LEGO sets can get heavy if too many are put into one box. They are great to stack or slide under the bed or couch when not in use.
We don’t organize the DUPLO blocks because that doesn’t work for our 4 year old. They are just in one big bin, and he digs through and pulls out what he wants. Although, the bin is easily pushed back and stored under the little futon (ours came from Walmart) when not in use.
These plastic drawers have by far been some of our better options for organizing by color, but they would also work for organizing by piece size or some other system.. We usually get ours at Walmart (nice being able to order online and pick up). These carts with colorful drawers are also fun and useful for storage and organization. I love that they come in all shapes and sizes and that some even come with wheels so that they can be easily moved around. I typically used the ones with the small and large drawers in the same set to give different options. We started with the smaller ones, and as the kids added sets, we switched to the bigger ones. If your OCD really kicks in, you could even use a label maker. 😄
3) Organizer Boxes
The storage organizer boxes with removable bins were also some of the best options that we found for smaller pieces. There are a variety of plastic boxes with trays or compartments. We used these for minifigures, their accessories, and other small parts that would get lost in bigger drawers and bins. They were so convenient and easy to stack or store away on a shelf or under a bed. These hardware cabinets with plastic trays could also work well in some situations where it was anchored and couldn’t fall over.
For the longest time, we just used plastic storage bins for pieces that weren’t organized or had been dropped on the floor. At times, it made it hard to spread them out without dumping the entire box out again, so when I found this storage bag, it made it easy for them to spread out the pieces and then just close up the bag when done and store it away. Even since we purchased this one, they have come out with others that zip into a storage basket (with great reviews) to make things even simpler. This was one of the better purchases we made for ways to organize LEGO pieces that needed to sorted but were still being played with.
5) Instruction manuals
One of the most difficult things to store and organize are all the instruction manuals. Granted, you can just download a pdf of them, but the kids prefer the manuals (and that also means I don’t have to print anything out). We’ve also had different methods of storing all the little booklets as well.
- Binders – When we didn’t have many sets, we used binders and sheet protectors. We just slide the manual into a protector and organize them by categories. However, once we started getting more sets, the binders weren’t working well, and the sheet protectors kept tearing. You could also try hole punching them, but some of them are pretty thick. The 1 inch binders weren’t working well, so we had to go up to 2 and 3 inch, but those were a bit difficult for the kids to manage.
- File box – As we added to our sets, we got a file box or two and started putting the manuals into hanging folders. We would put a few of each category (Disney princess, Friends, Elves, etc.) in each folder. But eventually the hanging folders started tearing and they weren’t able to hold many manuals at a time, especially the larger, thicker ones. Though, it was still a really option.
- Plastic tub – Currently, we are using the plastic boxes that are about the size of shoebox (at Walmart). They cost about $1 and are the ones that a lot of people use for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. The manuals usually come in 3 sizes that usually correspond with the size of the set itself, so we have 3 boxes – large, medium and small. If the kids want to find a manual, they just thumb through the box until they find it. We’ve not bothered organizing by categories because they just get all mixed up anyway. This is simple, but it works well for them now.
What Didn’t Work
As I mentioned, we tried so many methods and ways to organize LEGO (on Amazon or Walmart) sets. We just found things that work for us and our kids. In the process, we did find a few things that didn’t work for us, but they may work for your kids.
1) Organize & Store by Set
It did not work for us to store their LEGO by sets. I’ve seen where some people try to put all the pieces to a set with the manual inside a plastic bag and store it that way. However, this was a definite no-go for our kids.
They love building the sets with the instructions, and they will play with that set for hours on end. At some point, though, the set will probably get broken (usually by Hurricane Little Brother) or come apart.
Occasionally, they will repair it or ask me to help rebuild. However, most of the time, instead of rebuilding it, they use the pieces to make their own creations. They have done inventive creations from their own imaginations (like towns where they even “buy” and “sell” goods like clothes, etc.). The’ve also done recreations of places they’ve visited (like Disney World and the zoo).
If we stored them by set, that would limit their creativity, so this was one of the ways to organize LEGO that just did not work for us.
2) Dedicated Construction Table
Another thing that didn’t work for us (but does seem to work for some people) were the premade dedicated construction tables. While these tables are cute and may seem like a good idea at first, they just weren’t big enough for us nor did they have enough storage.
But you may be saying, “You have a table in your picture.” And you would be correct, but we made a table that worked for our needs.
- Storage – The dedicated construction tables usually have a limited number of drawers that wouldn’t hold all the bricks. There was no way of adding more storage. If you only have a few bricks, then one of these may be perfect of your kids.
- Space – Most of these tables are small, and with 4 kids, they were not big enough. We needed a space where all 4 of our kids could build at the same time without fighting over space, so we created our own table. We started with a small square table at first but then moved up to a bigger one.
- Appearance – The girls also wanted more of a natural feel for building than the bright yellow, red, blue and green of most tables. As such, we bought some generic 10×10 baseplates (some grassy, some beach, and some road) and glued them to a regular foldable table. If need be, the table can still be folded up, and the plates will be removed at some point. This also keeps the building confined to one spot and not all over the house; though, as previously mentioned, they can take special projects to their rooms. They also make these cool silicone playmats and road tape and peel-and-stick baseplates.
- Creativity – Creating our own space that works for us has allowed them to be more creative with what they do. They are confined to a small space, etc. Next, they even want to try making LEGO animation movies with some of their sets.
- Economical – It was more economical to make our own table using a table we got at Aldi along with some baseplates we already had. We ordered a few special plates to add to the fix, but it was definitely cheaper to create something that worked for us instead of buy something and try to force it to fit.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to organize LEGO (on Amazon or Walmart) sets. This is just what has worked for our family. Really, you have to decide what’s best for your kids and your situation and make it work.