The Science of LEGO Organization

Last month, in a burst of organizational energy (which has ebbed, but I’m hoping it will be restored soon), I got serious about organizing Hudson’s growing LEGO collection. It’s not an easy task!

I wanted to come up with a system that would both foster creative play and allow Hudson to recreate the specific designs we’d initially purchased. In general, Hudson would follow the directions to make that one specific project, and then leave it to gather dust on a shelf.

Here’s how the experts in the LEGO group handle their collection…

LEGO Group designers store their bricks in tool-chest-like drawers organized by color, each housing one type of brick.

It makes a lot of sense, but is impractical for most homes. There seem to be a few theories about the best ways to go about this…

Sort by color. The prettiest method, it’s  a great system for finding the color you want, but not for finding the brick you need. It’s probably less ideal for recreating specific projects, but fine for creative play.

Sort by shape. I read once that our eyes can sort by color much faster than by shape, so you’re more likely to actually find the brick you need with this method. (Start with bricks by size, flat pieces, wedge-shaped pieces, and miscellaneous, for example.)

Pile it up. At some point, most of us end up here. Many parents, when I raised this question on Instagram, suggested Swoop or Lay-N-Go cinch bags that just scoop up a pile. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could probably make your own.

We’ve started with the sorting by shape, because Hudson has preferred to follow directions to make specific sets. But a few fascinating things came of it. First, the sorting was fun for him. He enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a system and deciding what should be grouped where.

And second, it opened the door to more creative play. The sorting challenge prompted him to break apart more of his sets, with the added reassurance that he might be able to put it together again. And so he started designing his own version of fidget spinners instead!

Have the bricks made it back into the drawers? I don’t think so. Maybe we’ll try color next just for the fun of sorting. But I have a feeling we’ll eventually end up with a big pile. And maybe we’ll discover there’s a science to that, too.

What is your method for storing LEGOs in your home? 

P.S. The best creative gifts for preschoolers and a Seattle guy’s LEGO den. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


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