Extreme Lego organization methods

Bb6 1

Lego fans take their organizational methods very seriously -- there's even a Flickr group where they can share their techniques. Basically, Lego fanaticism translates into tons (sometimes literally!) of bricks. So, how can you organize all those elements so that you can find them?

Bin Method
All sorting methods begin with the Bin Method, whereby you just shove all your bricks into a bin and call it good. Sooner or later, however, usually after you start talking about multiple bins, this method ceases to work. Essentially, finding specific bricks becomes nearly impossible.

Part Method

Bb6 2

There's a certain logic to this -- the human eye finds color first, so by sorting by brick type lets you find the exact part you want right away. Most of the time builders use compartmentalized bins, but Lenore and Windell of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories developed a clever method of storing their bricks: stacking like types together. Need a 2x4 in "light orange brown"? Grab your stack of 2x4s and peel off what you need.

Color Method

Bb6 3

Legendary Lego builder Nathan Sawaya prefers using classic 2x4 and 2x2 bricks -- none of those fancy weird ones -- because he wants to make his art as accessible as possible to viewers. As a result, it makes sense for him to sort his bricks by color. From the Cult of Lego:

"All of my bricks are separated by shape and color in large transparent bins that line the shelves of my art studio. The rows and rows of color make walking into my studio a lot like walking into a rainbow."

NYC Resistor member Kellbot has a similar tack with an excellent twist: her Meta Lego storage boxes -- bricks holding bricks! While elegant and clever, most power Lego builders would accumulate elements in such quantities, both in terms of color and shape, that this method would not be able to keep up with the some 2,200 separate brick designs in around 80 colors that exist in the wild.

The Lego Room
Finally, consider Matt "Monsterbrick" Armstrong's Lego Room, pictured at the top of this post. It is the natural culmination of the Lego addiction where the bricks begin to take over one's home! Though Monsterbrick probably contributes to the anarchy by not breaking up his models after he builds them. My favorite part of his room? The kiddy pool!


  1. Hey, our (my girlfriend and I) system is on the first page of that flickr group right now!  Neat.

    I actually spent a significant part of this year developing a robotic Lego organization system, such that I could “order” parts on my touchscreen and it would pick them out of my collection and deliver them (and put them back when I was done).But alas, grad school became too burdensome and I haven’t had any time to complete the thing.

  2. I know a guy with probably 100.000 Lego pieces stored in thousands of clear-front plastic  drawer cabinets.  But he’s a high-paid engineer. My kid uses the big bin method – 98% of the fun of building a gizmo is finding some piece you’ve been looking for while obtaining the needed pieces.

  3. I am a mechanical engineer but for some reason I could just never get into Legos. I found an old ’80s Lego set in my mom’s attic that belonged to my little brother a month or two back and ended up selling  it to someone in Hong Kong for $80 + $40 or $50 shipping. I was amazed at the prices associated with these colored bits of plastic.

    1. Have you tried building with LEGO technic or the robotics sets? Maybe it’s that the kid sets weren’t sparking a challenge for ya.

  4. I tend to stick to one colour (in this case, yellow) and organize by type of brick. I then put like types into zip-lock bags so everything can be held in one bin (I don’t own epic amounts of Lego so this is a practical solution.

  5. My wife bought a Collectigo mat for my son….works brilliantly and saves my foot from stepping on stray pieces. Love it!

  6. My new bookshelves are going to be lego. Before I saw this rational breakdown, my planned organizational principle was to donate leftover bricks, or unwanted bricks after color swaps, to charity.

  7. As the inventor of the BOX4BLOX Lego sorter I would like to put my tuppence worth in!!  While we invented our product more aimed at helping to organize and store the normal family collections of Lego, we have had a lot of positive feedback from the “Lego fanatic” community, who find the BOX4BLOX helpful to organize their large Lego collections.  Here is a link to  a review carried out by Lego enthusiast web site, Brothers-Brick.com a year or two ago that you may find helpful: http://www.brothers-brick.com/2008/10/29/box4blox-review/

Comments are closed.