Friday, September 9, 2011

How to organize Legos

I visited the amusement park Legoland in Carlsbad, California, last week for the first time. It was a fun outing. I'm a huge Disneyland fan, so it was nice to spend time at another, more low-key park. The best part about the experience, besides seeing things like an entire life-size car made completely out of Legos, was the parts of the park where you could just hang out and play with the little blocks. Of course, if you have a Lego set of your own (and we have lots of Legos in our house) you can play with them any time you want, but there's something about being in a place where you're supposed to have fun that frees you up to really enjoy playing around and building stuff.

I was also interested in how they organized the Legos at the park at these play centers. They have low (kid-height) tables with rectangles cut in the surface, and plastic bins fitted into the holes. The bins are full of Lego parts, and periodically, after kids (and adults) mess up all the Legos, an employee comes around with a wooden sweeper and sweeps them all back into the bins. There's no sorting by type or anything like that - hunting down the exact piece you need to complete your project is part of the fun.

Legoland bins.
There are lots of ingenious methods for organizing Legos at home, from a sieve-like box that separates the bricks by size when you shake it, to carrying cases and special boxes. There are actually so many products out there that Jeri's Organizing and Decluttering News devotes a post to 16 different Lego-organizing solutions! I asked my in-house Lego expert (aka my husband) how he's spent the last twenty-odd years organizing his Legos. He had a few tips:
  • Organizing by size makes it easiest to find the piece you are looking for.
  • Don't use a cardboard box to store Legos because they can get caught in the flaps and you can lose pieces.
  • Small boxes, such as shoe box sized clear boxes, are ideal for storing Legos because they are small enough you can rummage through and see all the pieces in one box at a glance. If you use boxes with lids, you can stack them and even label the boxes if you are so inclined.*
  • Use one of the boxes to store the instruction manuals that come with some Lego sets. If the pieces are organized, it doesn't matter if the bricks from the sets get combined.

*Lelah's note: I like The Container Store's clear shoe box for this purpose. They are sturdy, inexpensive, stack well, and are modular with the other boxes in this line.

Have fun playing with (and putting away) your Legos!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.


  1. We just went to Legoland too! (Some pics here:

    With two boys in the house, that Box4Blox is pretty tempting.

  2. We found on our last vacation that there are some different Lego sets available in Europe that aren't available in the US. Pretty fun souvenir.